Or some of them anyway.
In 2009, a small press called Ghost Road published my young adult novel The Wandora Unit. I got paid a tiny, thrilling advance. The book sold a few copies and got reviewed in Bitch, and then Ghost Road quietly went out of business. In 2012 another small press wanted to reprint it, but then they went out of business, too.
Maybe that's okay. I made so many mistakes in that book. Just mistake after mistake after mistake. Here are a few:
- The book doesn't really have a plot. It's about high school poetry nerds making a literary magazine. There's friendship and love, but nothing really happens.
- I was way too attached to my interpretation of things that occurred in actual real life, as though readers would care one fig what song was playing at the dance or what color my boyfriend's hair was.
- When I did occasionally try to pump up the story with bits of fiction, I did a bad job of it, contriving stupid conflicts and surprises.
- I didn't read the manuscript aloud until after it was a full-fledged published novel. DUH. IDIOT.
- By the time the book came out, fifteen years after I'd written it, my clever postmodern format with multiple-voiced fragments was nothing particularly new in YA fiction.
Things I did right:
- I started the novel when I was a teenager, and wrote most of it before I was 24. So it's a pretty authentic young voice, not some kind of pretending-to-be-young thing with faked-up slang.
- I included poems by fourteen different actual teenagers. Contacting them to get permission to use their work was probably my favorite part of the whole writing/editing/publishing experience.
Maybe now that I've admitted these mistakes publicly I'll be able to move the fuck on. But I doubt it. If I knew how to fix the book and make it a marketable YA novel, I probably would never have written it in the first place.