Silly Agents! Self Harm is for Emos!
"All the writers keep writing what they write
Somewhere another pretty vein just dies
I've got the scars from tomorrow and I wish you could see
That you’re the antidote to everything except for me"
The last time I posted a blog it was about literary agents and their lack of diversity when it comes to accepting manuscripts. If you didn't already know, I published my first novel, A Tragic Heart through Amazon's CreateSpace and now I am seeking representation. Well, I've already been rejected over 20 times even though every reader of A Tragic Heart agrees that the novel is more than worthy of the public's attention. My reason for being rejected so many times is solely based on marketing.
Marketing. Such an ugly word that every writer must learn or either pull the plug on your career. I've received so many rejection letters via email because agents believe that books that touches upon self-harm and suicide doesn't really have a market. They believe there's no way to promote it. Hahahaha! I'm seriously laughing at them and their uneducated ignorant minds! Have these people never heard of Fall Out Boy or Paramore? Better yet, have they never heard of one of the biggest charity organization that goes by the name To Write Love On Her Arms? The whole freaking organization is a suicide prevention charity! Yet, they say that there's no market!
The topic of self-harm and suicide is an untapped market mostly because everyone is too afraid to go there. No one ever speaks about these issues so it seems like everything's fine. The truth is we all know someone who either self harms or contemplated suicide at one point in their lives. In some cases, that person is us but no one talks about it so the common belief is that majority of us are okay. We're not.
Did you know statistically speaking that every one of us has thought about suicide as an option? If this is true, why don't we speak about it? I'll tell you why, because the world is afraid of anything that isn't sunshine and rainbows. Not everything is a love story, not everything is a mystery or a horror. A true writer writes what they feel and what others are afraid to even think. That's what makes writing good. Some things need to be spoken about.
The common belief that books about suicide, self harm, and drugs are only for emos is a myth! If it's marketing that these agents fear, then maybe they should quit their jobs because who wants to live in a box full of misconceptions and ignorance? Well, thinking twice, maybe some of them do...
I don't mean to make suicide or self harm a marketing scheme but to say that theoretically no one would care to read books about these topics unless they're for medical research is absurd! I'm sure parents of children who struggle with these issues would love to understand what their children are going through or what they may be thinking on a day to day basis. Heck! Even brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles of these people would like to gain a better understanding.
Growing up I felt like no one understood me (actually I feel like this now on a daily basis) and maybe if there were more books available that talked about these things, the people around me would have started to question their misconceptions about me. The world has learned to label anyone struggling with these issues as "attention seekers". No one ever thinks to say something or try to dig a little deeper.
We're always told that "we think it's all about us" and that "it's not how the world works". Do you honestly believe we want all of that attention? Why would we want the world to revolve around us when all it would do is turn us into an even bigger freak show?
I thank writers like Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, Cheryl Rainfield for writing about real issues and not being afraid. I also thank the public for turning them into bestselling authors, proving those literary agents wrong when they say there is no market for such things. If their success isn't proof enough for you, then you remain ignorant.
Just search the hashtags #selfharm, #suicide, #emo, and #cutter on Twitter and Instagram, then tell me what you find. Shocking right? Now if you add #depressed, #scars, and #nohope to the list your heart may break. No one caters to them because everyone is looking from a business standpoint and us emos aren't included. We don't matter. Our "market" isn't big enough to be addressed.
There are millions and they don't deserve to be noticed for marketing reasons or money, they deserve to be noticed because they should know that it can be better and whatever they do affects everyone else around them. By ignoring their "market" you are essentially ignoring them.
A Tragic Heart isn't all about self harm and suicide attempts. It's much more than that. There a love story, humor, and depictions of everyday life for teenagers and young adults. It goes beyond a young adult novel and crosses over to adult fiction. It's something in it for everyone and it shouldn't be aimed at a market. It's for anyone who has ever felt anything at all.
Sexual abuse happens (just ask the brave and beautiful red head, Rachel Thompson) so it should be talked about. Drug addiction and teen prostitution take over lives, just talk to Ellen Hopkins about it. Suicide hurts...Jay Asher gets that.
Sexual abuse happens to more than a market of people. Drug addiction isn't something only felt by the underprivileged. Teen prostitution doesn't only touch those involved. Self harm and suicide isn't only for emos.