I've been working on the TNP for a while now, and this week a sudden and horrible thought came to me -- what if this book is unsaleable?
I don't write with an eye toward selling necessarily. I don't make character choices or plot choices or language choices with an eye toward "the market" or "trends" or what have you, especially not in first drafts. I write what I would like to read. But still, since I'm in the middle of the query process with The Book, the question crossed my mind. See, The Book fits squarely into a precise genre and subgenre. It's a fairly original idea (in my mind, anyway) and excellently executed, OF COURSE :) , but there's no question where it would go in the book store.
But the TNP is not of a type that I've seen before. It's ... less specified. And so, as a result of the query process, I started getting concerned that the TNP--which I am writing, you may recall, as a hedge against The Book not selling thereby rendering The Book's sequel, Electric Boogaloo, useless--may be equally useless, and that sent me into a bit of a tailspin.
But, it turns out, I was wrong.
Because this week, in a divine coincidence, I picked up Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (whose last name I always spell "leviathan" like he's some deep sea monster or something). And there I found a kissing cousin for the TNP. Obviously, the TNP has a totally different plot and characters and setting and all that blah blah blah, but the attitude, the frankness, the focus...these things are all similar enough to let me know that TNP could possibly get bought. Of course, my writing group was all "um, Jay, you are not Rachel Cohn and David Levithan," which is fair enough -- they always bring me back to reality -- but the point is that TNP isn't useless. It isn't pointless. There is a market out there for the type of book it is and someone could want it. To quote the motto of my home state: FORWARD!
Anyway, I highly recommend Nick and Norah's if you haven't read it. It's not a heavy story - boy meets girl, boy asks girl to be his five minute girlfriend, girl thinks boy's an idiot, but ends up liking him anyway - but the characters are very well drawn and it's overall a charming story. Also, the authors have thus far resisted audience pressure to do a sequel, which resistance I admire and respect. Because it's the story of One Perfect Night, the book has a sort of fairy tale/fable feeling about it despite its grounding in reality, and I think knowing what happens next would remove some of that sheen.