I've written a book that I perhaps love too much. Different people know it under different titles. To my beta readers, it was Dance in the Dark. To my ex, it was Sooner Than Later. To one editor, it was 4 Real. And now, it's latest incarnation is (ironically) Can't Make You Love Me.
I wrote the realest and rawest possible account of a young man's struggle to discover and try to accept his burgeoning attraction to his best friend, who happens to be another male. The story itself only took me two months to write, and I was elated when I finished. To this day, it's still my favorite completed manuscript, with it's not quite sequel coming in at a close second. I tweaked it and tweaked it and then tweaked it a bit more to make it sparkle. My betas loved it. So it was time to submit it, right? Wrong. Reject reject reject. Not an ounce of feedback and I was getting a tad demotivated. So I shelved it.
Coming back to it a few months later, I fell in love with the story all over again. I sent it out to another beta, a lovely author I met on Twitter a while back, and when she sent me feedback, I almost died. She had a few questions about the story in general, but her biggest issue was that she didn't like my hero. Well, one of them anyway... So I tweaked him a bit and sent him and his lover (and I use that term as loosely as he does) off to an editor. A few weeks later, she served me with another rejection. Her comments differed from my latest beta's, but her largest issue remained the same. She didn't like my hero. Near devastated, I shelved it once again, wrote the not quite sequel, and then tweaked the manuscript even more. I changed the title for the third time and subbed it once again. The results were much more positive. At first.
The editor from this latest publisher got back to me within a week requesting the full of the manuscript. She said that she loved that it was a different spin on the coming out story and wanted to see how it played out. So I sent in the full and I waited. A little over a week ago, she contacted me saying that she was passing it on for a second read. Stomach in knots, I waited. I vacillated between hope and despair, not exactly sure what the second read meant. I was finally at hope again when I got the latest rejection letter this morning.
There was only one listed issue this time. They didn't like my hero. At this point, I'm not sure how else I can tweak it without altering my hero as I envision him. I set out to tell a different type of story, one where the reader goes on the borderline terrifying journey of discovery right along with the character. That's not to say one hasn't already been written, I just haven't read one quite like it. And it would appear I've succeeded just as much as I've failed. It's different, but I'm starting to think it may be different to the point of being unpublishable in its current form.
I'm gonna try to sub it one more time as is, and if the answer is the same, I'll dive back into revisions. Hell, I may rewrite the entire manuscript. I don't know yet. All I know is that my hero is just as he needs to be for his story.
The only problem is, who's going to want to hear his story if they don't like him?