Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Fish out of Water

By Darvell Hunt

I thought I knew what I was doing.

I started my first LDS-genre novel in 1989 and have written a total of seven LDS novels so far. I've made the rejection rounds among the local LDS publishers, networked with other LDS writers, and read as many LDS novels that interested me.

Yesterday I attended the first day of a week-long writing workshop geared toward the national children's market. I almost felt like a pro in the LDS market—about as pro as you can get without having an LDS novel accepted. Now I feel like a beginner again and I don't much like the feeling. By the end of this week, maybe the culture shock will have faded, but after only the first day, I'm a bit disoriented and even confused.

Yesterday morning I was chatting with a New York editor from Bloomsbury—the same publisher that gave us Harry Potter. I mentioned to her that up until now, I had targeted the LDS market. She didn't know what that meant. Finally she made the connection that I was referring to the Latter-Day Saint market, probably only because she realized she was on the BYU campus in the middle of Mormon Country. Having to explain the term LDS made my head spin.

I will still write for the niche LDS market, even though I'm beginning to pursue the national market. One of these days I'm pretty sure I'll sell one of my novels. I have no idea if my first sale will be in the LDS market of the national market, but I think it will come someday. I also think that a sale in the “other market” will soon follow my first.

But that doesn't change the feeling I have now of being a fish out of water. I guess it's now my choice if I want to go back into the water or if I want to grow lungs.


KB said...

Oh, I'm so envious. I wanted to go to that conference so bad, but I'm at work, polishing up a book that is two weeks late for press. :(

So did you get to pitch that editor any book ideas? Did she ask to see your stuff?

Darvell Hunt said...

I'm really enjoying the conference--much more so today than yesterday. I think I have a little more realistic point of view today.

I didn't get a chance to pitch my book idea, but she DID say that I could submit directly to her via email. That's cool. The editor from Viking said the same thing, even though she doesn't normally accept email submissions.

I also talked to a "New York agent" at the conference and asked him if he was soliciting clients. He said yes, so I got his contact information. I hope it leads to something.

Thanks for your comments.