Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Last week was quite a rollercoaster. I'm still trying to process it.

Highs include being with my sister and her family, going to a meeting for OBJECT, an awesome new feminist organization, being invited to teach at a writers conference in Alaska (!!!!) next summer, and doing a camel spin for the first time in 26 years. This is not to mention the five speaking/reading events I did over the course of the weekend, each of which was a gift in its own way.

Lows include loads of family stress (which I won't go into out of respect for all involved), a disastrous hair cut (actually the cut wasn't so bad, but the styling--which thankfully I was able to shower away--was hideous and left me in totally stereotypical tears), and the big doozy: getting a phone call from my editor, who told me my new book isn't right for her list. I'm still reeling from this last one.

I love and trust my editor, and am very grateful that she is looking out for my long term career, but it was hard news to hear. This new novel was supposed to be the second book of my two book contract, but she believes it reads more like a young adult novel and won't grip a wide adult audience the way she wants my next book to. So now I'm trying to figure out what to do. She generously agreed to take a look at an old (over 10 years old) novel that I think still has some life kicking around inside of it, but I'm not expecting anything to come of that. I'm hoping to convince her and Ballantine that the skating memoir I'm working on should be my next book (it's the book that is burning inside me right now) but they seem to think that the next book should be a novel. I just need to really sit with this and meditate and decide what my next move should be. I'll keep you posted...


Rachel said...


I am sorry to hear about what's going on with your novel. And it gives me a reality check - it's a harsh world out there for writers, and my novel will be under heavy scrutiny too.

I hope whatever ends up being your next book will do well, though, be it a memoir or a novel. And I still look forward to that freedom anthology too, if/when it gets rolling again.

Hang in there. I am rooting for you.


gayle said...

Thanks so much for all of your support, Rachel. I'm very grateful.

I do hope to get the freedom anthology rolling again before too long and of course will keep you posted...


Karen said...

My heart is with you.

Andrea said...

What a blow! But keep the faith - all things work together for the good. At least that's what I tell myself as the rejection slips roll in.

Donna said...

Gail, this piece by Ron Savage might give you some hope. I think it's really hard for writers to maintain their integrity and vision after a couple of successful books, because the publishers get their panties all in a was about market viability and they don't care about the writer's passion or art. It's sad but true. But sometimes things work out, even if it takes a long time. Trying to pump out a book a year to fit into a publisher's preconceived idea of what you should write is blech.... unfortunately that's what most of them expect us to do. Its almost what you have to do if you want to be financially successful but for me, money has to come second to my vision and passions.

It's short, and very inspiring:


Ms. Strega said...

Gayle, I am sorry to hear about what happened with your book. Something good will come of this for you, though maybe it is harder to see right now.

Someone brought up rejection slips. Personally, I burn them (though lately I've taken to putting them in the recycling). I have kept maybe three in twenty-five years of writing, which had something encouraging or helpful on it.

Hang in there--you are a wonderful writer and I am a big fan of your work.

gayle said...

Thank you a million times over, Karen and Andi and Donna and Ms. Strega! I appreciate your support more than I can express.

That piece by Ron Savage is wonderful, Donna--thank you for pointing me toward it! And burning rejection slips, Ms. Strega--that sounds very cathartic!

Thank you again, all of you. Your encouragement will fuel this next phase of my work...