Apparently I have a bad voice.
I’m not even sure how this is a thing.
It’s my writing voice that’s bad, by the way. I think my real voice is fine.
I won a writing competition a few weeks ago, and the prize was that agents could look at the winning entries and request the manuscripts. Eleven agents requested mine (for you writers out there…that’s kind of a big deal). I’ve written a novel with a bipolar protagonist, and…I think it doesn’t suck. I like it, anyway (but that’s like my mom saying I’m pretty, isn’t it? I created the characters. Of course I like them).
Three of the agents have gotten back to me with rejections. One was terse and gave me nothing, but the other two said that they simply “didn’t connect with the voice.” I once had someone in the publishing industry tell me that “I don’t connect with the voice” is a basic cop-out rejection because no one can really argue it. How can someone change their voice? It’s a catch-all when agents don’t want to give actual feedback (allegedly).
BUT WHAT IF MY VOICE ACTUALLY SUCKS?! WHAT DO I DOOOOOOO?!
I give up writing, I guess.
HA. Funny. Okay. Moving on.
Here are way more entertaining things that agents could say to reject me when they don’t like my voice (to the eight agents who still have my book…go ahead and copy and paste. Hand on heart, I won’t be offended. I gave you the responses. You’re welcome).
- Your protagonist’s voice was kind of bitchy, and I wanted to slap her by chapter two. I don’t like the violent tendencies your book has inspired in me, and so I don’t want to read any more. You are rejected.
- I actually fell asleep while reading your manuscript, and that’s impressive because I was at a parade at the time and I drank five red bulls that morning. That’s how monotonously boring your voice is. You are rejected.
- Your voice is a combination of Gwenyth Paltrow and Dora the Explorer. Oh, you don’t understand how that works? It’s because it doesn’t. You are rejected.
- Your voice reminds me of my college professor who had a terribly nasally voice, and he used to drone on and on. We had to act like we were paying attention, but I tried to tune him out to listen to buzzing flies because they were less annoying. That’s what your book is like. You are rejected.
- Your voice reminds me of this terrible blog, hazelhillboro.com. It’s abysmal. I am so disappointed in myself for ever wasting time on it. Go waste your time on it, because you sound like her and therefore will never get published. You are rejected.
- Your voice is like an opera singer who’s trying to get over laryngitis (but in a writing way, of course). It’s like there might have been talent there, but it can’t shine through the nasty. You are rejected.
- Your characters are trying too hard. You tried to make them cool, but it sounds like they’re all constipated. You basically need to coat the entire manuscript in ex-lax and get things flowing better. You are rejected.
- I didn’t connect with your voice because I have a hard time connecting with anyone. I’m seeing a therapist about this. Unfortunately, I haven’t made much progress yet. You are rejected.
See? There you go. Eight responses for the eight agents left. Now I’ve written the book and the rejections. Most compliant and helpful author ever? I think so. 🙂