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One more frum attempt before jumping ship? (EDIT: books!!!)
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 3:54 pm
I've learned a lot and I have several works in progress. Part of me wants to make one last attempt at an "acceptable" frum novel. In part because I believe in the cause, and in part because it's like a hard-to-crack puzzle. It's fun for me, and I have 2 ideas that really might work.

BUUUUUUUUT....

If you've worked in the frum writing world, back me on this, it's RESTRICTIVE. It's a hard thing to pull off. It means sacrificing a lot of ideas and techniques in favor of "acceptable." It waters down what I can do to the point of not even ME anymore. I've gotten the hang of it for children's writing, but when it comes to YA/adult, my plans don't fit. It leaves me feeling "not frum enough"/"not good enough"/"inappropriate" or whatever else. I've been collecting hangups lol.

Anyway, so then I started networking in the secular writing world. There's a ton of opportunity, and I'd getting acquainted with helpful people. Biggest problem there is that it has potential to swing to the other extreme. I was warned that if I sign with an agent, there's a good chance I'll end up booted from the industry altogether over the woke agenda. ("You wrote a hetero couple, when are the others happening?" "You need to spice up these scenes with some (intimate) excitement." Etc.) That's a solid line for me. I won't sell my soul for this.

I won't sell my soul. But I don't want to sacrifice it, either.
And the frum world needs novels. And I can contribute. I believe I really can.

Should I take one more stab at it? Or am I setting myself up for disappointment?


Last edited by Kiwi13 on Mon, Oct 04 2021, 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 3:55 pm
I might eventually go the indie route. That's another option.
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Ridethewaves




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:08 pm
Ok now I see this is in the writing club but your thread title made my heart bleed a little. Happy that you’re doing ok
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amother




Gold
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:09 pm
I think there isn't much of a market for frum YA....most books/stories are geared to younger readers or middle grade then skip to adult. Books that are marketed for frum teens are really geared for 10-12 imo.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:14 pm
Ridethewaves wrote:
Ok now I see this is in the writing club but your thread title made my heart bleed a little. Happy that you’re doing ok


Oh gosh!!!! Didn't think of it like that!!!!
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:14 pm
amother [ Gold ] wrote:
I think there isn't much of a market for frum YA....most books/stories are geared to younger readers or middle grade then skip to adult. Books that are marketed for frum teens are really geared for 10-12 imo.


That's okay. It would be for adults anyway, so that works out. :-)
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amother




Buttercup
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:15 pm
Why don't you serialize your YA novel in a magazine first and then publish it as a book. Get paid twice. There are some clean middle grade/ YA books in the secular world, it CAN be done. In the frum world you have to walk the tightrope, it needs to be exciting enough to draw readers but appropriate enough to keep everyone happy. But I don't think thats impossible.
edited:
OH! Sorry, thought you were talking about YA because of the previous poster. It's a hard place to be in, I really understand the struggle. But it can work in the frum world if the topic is something your passionate about, you can make it work even if its a bit restrictive.
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rivkam




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:17 pm
I think the YA genre is very hard to make kosher. Teenage years are about discovering yourself completely, I don't think you can take the s@x bit out otherwise it doesn't quite add up.
I personally don't read jewish fiction because I hate all the censoring. I want as genuine a story as possible and let's be honest, our lives are not censored. We have all types of thoughts and all types of experiences. I would appreciate a book that doesn't indulge in inappropriate scenes. It's one thing to bring them up but another thing to drag them out.
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amother




Yellow
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:17 pm
This may be off topic - but where do you see all this opportunity outside the frum world?
I wrote a novel for adults, self published. I don't even know if it's good or not because I have not managed to get one person to read it. (it's not a frum novel at all, but it is heavily Jewish).

It's so hard to market a book these days.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:23 pm
amother [ Yellow ] wrote:
This may be off topic - but where do you see all this opportunity outside the frum world?
I wrote a novel for adults, self published. I don't even know if it's good or not because I have not managed to get one person to read it. (it's not a frum novel at all, but it is heavily Jewish).

It's so hard to market a book these days.


I'm not saying it's easy to land agents or publishing contracts, but if you can, the market is a lot more open. Self-publishing is a whole other beast. I'm not eager to jump down that road. If you can rapid-release, some people do well on Amazon KDP or similar. But it's still an uphill climb and you need a platform.
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amother




Buttercup
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:24 pm
Kiwi13 wrote:


If you've worked in the frum writing world, back me on this, it's RESTRICTIVE. It's a hard thing to pull off. It means sacrificing a lot of ideas and techniques in favor of "acceptable." It waters down what I can do to the point of not even ME anymore. I've gotten the hang of it for children's writing, but when it comes to YA/adult, my plans don't fit. It leaves me feeling "not frum enough"/"not good enough"/"inappropriate" or whatever else. I've been collecting hangups lol.


Ideas I agree with, techniques- I'm not really sure what you're referring to...but if you're set on not adding intimacy to spice things up then what is so inappropriate that the frum world won't accept? I'm really curious. Language? Boys and girls just hanging out? Flirting?
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banana123




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:25 pm
I think it's an issue of finding the right publisher. Not every story has to have that kind of detail. Have you tried frum publishers, or is this fear just a fear in your head?
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:31 pm
rivkam wrote:
I think the YA genre is very hard to make kosher. Teenage years are about discovering yourself completely, I don't think you can take the s@x bit out otherwise it doesn't quite add up.
I personally don't read jewish fiction because I hate all the censoring. I want as genuine a story as possible and let's be honest, our lives are not censored. We have all types of thoughts and all types of experiences. I would appreciate a book that doesn't indulge in inappropriate scenes. It's one thing to bring them up but another thing to drag them out.


I'm working on a YA paranormal right now that probably wouldn't fit in the frum world, but I'm keeping it kosher enough, at least in my view. I plan to run it past a Rav before blasting it to the world. It explores certain things without indulging in inappropriate stuff, exactly like you said. There is a blossoming teen relationship in the main storyline, but I've also capped the physical and I have realistic means of doing so build into the foundation of the book. The main point is not the relationship, but it's a byproduct of two coinciding character arcs.

My frum book idea needs some fleshing out. And truthfully it's not a "frum" or even "Jewish" novel. It COULD be, and ideally I'd LIKE it to be. But if it's not likely to work, I'm reluctant to pour the time into it. It doesn't involve any couple relationships, since it's more or less a solo journey type of story. I really think it might work, but there are elements that I worry frum publishers would nix, thereby diluting the believability and impact.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:32 pm
banana123 wrote:
I think it's an issue of finding the right publisher. Not every story has to have that kind of detail. Have you tried frum publishers, or is this fear just a fear in your head?


Yes, I've tried them. Not with this book obviously, since I'm still writing it. But with others. I've also published several books with frum publishers and have a sense of the tight restrictions.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:40 pm
amother [ Buttercup ] wrote:
Ideas I agree with, techniques- I'm not really sure what you're referring to...but if you're set on not adding intimacy to spice things up then what is so inappropriate that the frum world won't accept? I'm really curious. Language? Boys and girls just hanging out? Flirting?


There's a bunch of stuff. Boy/girl socializing for starters, and coed schools, and teen dating, etc. But it also centers around a haunted house, and there's some witchy-type stuff. The basic premise:

Girl is haunted by regrets from her past.

Boy is haunted by fears of his future.

They're both unhealthily obsessive about rule-following, for very different reasons.

They wind up sneaking into a strictly 18+ haunted house that claims to put visitors face to face with their personal worst fear.
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amother




Gold
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:43 pm
Even with no romance, I just don't think you will get a frum publisher to publish a book with a teen boy & girl being friends or hanging out with each other.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:44 pm
amother [ Gold ] wrote:
Even with no romance, I just don't think you will get a frum publisher to publish a book with a teen boy & girl being friends or hanging out with each other.


Exactly. I'm not even trying with this one.
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amother




Canary
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:46 pm
amother [ Gold ] wrote:
I think there isn't much of a market for frum YA....most books/stories are geared to younger readers or middle grade then skip to adult. Books that are marketed for frum teens are really geared for 10-12 imo.

Quite often, "there isn't a market" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A product is not produced because nobody is buying it because it isn't being produced because nobody is buying it because it isn't being produced.
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amother




Buttercup
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:53 pm
Kiwi13 wrote:
There's a bunch of stuff. Boy/girl socializing for starters, and coed schools, and teen dating, etc. But it also centers around a haunted house, and there's some witchy-type stuff. The basic premise:

Girl is haunted by regrets from her past.

Boy is haunted by fears of his future.

They're both unhealthily obsessive about rule-following, for very different reasons.

They wind up sneaking into a strictly 18+ haunted house that claims to put visitors face to face with their personal worst fear.

Ok, so there is intimate build up and flirting you just aren't going to stoop to the level where you write out explicit zex scenes. sounds like it would perfectly for secular middle grade
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amother




Gold
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 4:53 pm
amother [ Canary ] wrote:
Quite often, "there isn't a market" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A product is not produced because nobody is buying it because it isn't being produced because nobody is buying it because it isn't being produced.

Check out the frum books labeled for teens and you will see what I mean. They are not on a teen level, they are middle school, tops.
BTW this mirrors a lot of what happened with the secular YA market. It didn't exist till the 70s really (its heyday was in the 80s and 90s). Before that, it was all middle grade with a few girls series that mainly appealed to preteens. I think it was the book The Outsiders that crashed the door open and made publishers and writers realize there was a market. There are a lot of interesting journal articles and even books that chronicle this. Arguably, the secular YA market is getting smaller and smaller and is on the verge of disappearing. You can Google this, it's a fun rabbit hole to go down, lol.
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