Outlook Sucks, The Sky Is Blue, and Other Obvious Shit

So I finally got back into my Outlook after being locked out since FEBRUARY all because I kept emailing copies of my manuscript to myself and they thought it was SPAM.

I finally got back in my email, and my inbox was mostly full of — guess what? — SPAM from book promotion scams trying to weasel dollars out of me (yeah, Outlook, keep going in your fight against spam!!!), and literary agents who politely pretended to give a crap about my feelings as they told me they didn’t give a fuck about my characters.

In other news, I forgot how to spell “weasel” and spellcheck had to do that for me.

It’s annoying to get rejections from agents, because no matter how nice they are or what they do, they are doomed to piss off a frustrated writer who has heard “go away” a thousand times before and is probably on the brink of sniping people on the highway.

I mean, when they try to be nice, it sounds fake and condescending, even though some of them really are sorry. I always feel like giving me a compliment when you turn me down is shitty, because if you really liked my story, you’d be signing me a deal right now, not saying shit like, “Well, the story intrigued me, but . . .” If you honestly like someone’s work, there is no but.

One agent said she liked the story but didn’t like my characters enough to champion them. So would the story be better if it was about straight white men? Probably. In fact, I should run an experiment and change all the characters to straight white men and then send out sample chapters and see what agents say then. Would they complain about unrelatable characters then? It seems straight white men are the only relatable people because they’re the only ones actually seen as people.

Most agents when they reject The Thieves of Nottica always have a problem with the characters and not the story. It’s always the characters. And they don’t want to come out and say that they can’t represent queer women or brown women or whatever the fuck it was about my characters that they were too bigoted to connect to because it’s impossible to see queer brown women as people like everyone else.

One agent said she looked me up and saw that I had self-published the book, then proceeded to wish me luck and even made a comment about how many great authors were self-published. She was one out of, like, thirty agents who I contacted in the last year who not only bothered to respond but actually encouraged me in my goals. And the encouragement seemed real, not some condescending pat on the head as she gently told me I wasn’t “relatable” enough to be considered human in her bigoted eyes.

And even though she was so kind and so nice, I still said in the back of my head, “You would have just turned down the book any fucking way.”

After about thirty agents either turning me down or ignoring me altogether, I became convinced that the only way my voice would be heard was if I self-published and then found an audience willing to read my books. So that’s exactly what I did last January. I said fuck it and decided to do it alone. If I’m not human enough, if my characters are not human enough, if my voice isn’t something people are going to pay money to hear, then I will find people who feel differently — even if it takes ten fucking years — because I know that ‘s not true.

I had quite a following online the last ten years. People read my stories and they liked them. So I know the audience is there. All agents and publishers care about is money. They want the next big Twilight or some other abomination that will sell to droves of mindless dinks, and they don’t care that they are selling garbage, so long as they make a buck. They aren’t looking for talent. They are looking for books that sell to one group of people. And that’s it. No one else gets to be heard. No one else matters. Because this one group of people is where the money’s at.

I realize thirty agents isn’t many (most people query hundreds these days before getting a deal), but The Thieves of Nottica is not the first book I ever tried to sell. It’s the last.

I have to wonder how many agents looked me up, found stuff they didn’t like, and then proceeded to reject my book not on the merit of the work alone but based on something about me. That’s the one thing that sucks about the internet — you have zero privacy. In college, I had my student adviser fucking stalking my tumblr and I hated him. There is just . . . zero privacy.

Not that I care that agents looked up my book. The fact that she did that is curious indeed. I mean, why even bother looking up my book if you’re just going to reject me??? And I’m pretty sure she was going to reject me. There’s no way she was going to say yes. And in hindsight, I’m glad she didn’t.

I don’t want to be traditionally published.

That’s right. I said that and I’m not drunk.

Because I don’t want to be part of a club that doesn’t want me there in the first fucking place. The Thieves of Nottica is and was purposely meant to be the biggest middle finger I could give to the status quo. Logic only dictates that the status quo wouldn’t want to touch it.