Dear Ms. Watanabe,
Your webpage says you’re interested in novels with strong female protagonists, fresh voices, and “an awareness since birth of gender stereotypes,” so I hope you’ll consider my debut novel, ADEPT. (Is that too confident? I can tone it down.)
Adept (now lowercase) is a coming-of-age tour-de-force about high school. Think J.D. Salinger, Stephen Chbosky, and TikTok—a market that is very popular right now according to Publishers Marketplace, a website I’ve refreshed 3,000 times in the past two minutes. (The previous sentence demonstrates both my market awareness and my forward thinking.)
Per your submission guidelines, the first ten pages of the now-retitled Par are attached. The details, though fictional, are drawn from real life, which makes this an #OwnVoices submission, which I think you’ll like based on your tweets. (I read all of them so I could personalize this email.)
But if I’m wrong and you’re not into #OwnVoices, that’s cool—just pretend you didn’t read that last paragraph.
Some writers have a reputation for balking at revisions. (“My pencils outlast their erasers,” or whatever Nabokov said.) (You like Nabokov, right? You tweeted about Lolita last week.) Unlike those writers, I’m happy to revise. Give the characters undiagnosed terminal illnesses? Agreed. Turn friends into lovers? Not a problem. Cut the penultimate scene without which the whole novel would collapse? I just did it. I’ll do whatever you want so my family will stop asking what happened with my “little novel.”
The pages I’ve attached have survived six MFA workshops, four writing groups, three freelance editors, 70 Tarot card readings, and two “Firewalk with Feedback” seminars at the Tony Robbins International Author Symposium, which has cost me (and/or my parents) only $35k, so far (which you shouldn’t take as a criticism of the publishing industry or you personally. Please don’t delete this email.). I’m willing to give you any and all say over the final draft. You know best. Everyone but me knows best.
Here’s a little bit more about me: I have an MFA in what my uncle once called “underwater basket weaving”; I have specialties in fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, and early Anacreontic verse; and almost all my books are signed by the author. I’ve published fiction on Medium, Dropbox, and Hinge, and I’ve received a dozen emails offering me a spot at next year’s AWP conference (which I could headline, in a few years, after the Netflix adaptation takes off?).
I don’t even remember who I was when I started writing this book.
I found an early draft the other day, and I could sort of remember how fun it was, back then, to write without knowing that writing would one day become predominantly marketing, emailing, and daytime crying.
Maybe I should’ve joined that essential oil multi-level marketing business after all, the one everyone was talking about at my high school reunion. (I will delete this part before I send this email.)
My phone number is on the first page of the again-retitled Humbled. Please call me–I couldn’t find your cell phone number online to ask for your address. I want to send you essential oils. And/or one of those edible arrangements that comes in a cool plastic bowl. I can bake for you, too. Scrape the mildew off your tub grouting. Rewrite your child’s college application essay. There isn’t anything I won’t do to publish my novel, untitled.
Gratefully, and forever, yours,
Natalie (I’m open to edits on my name as well)
Rumpus original art by Natalie Peeples
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