I have been following this one social media group and they have been on a tear lately upset that one particular genre was not being picked up in the U.S. "Why!" they screamed. They all love the genre so why is it that the US editors and agents are not buying up this author's book. It all comes down to the market.
I don't think they understood the situation.
I tried to explain that, as an agent (and editors do this too), we look at who our market is and what they are interested in. Yes, a book can be amazing and the premise is awesome, but if no one is looking to buy that book, because the readers are just not into that genre, then the book will come to a complete stand-still and never sell.
Let me explain what I told them. I used this analogy, but I will give you a second as well.
Let's say I have this really elite, high quality restaurant I want to open. I am really thinking 5 Michelin Star Level. You know the type - it requires getting reservations months in advance and easily a credit card with a large credit line. I am now looking for a place to open the restaurant. I could go to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Paris but I am thinking, there will be too much competition there. Instead I find some place like Bodfish, California (no, I am not putting down Bodfish! I love the place! I spent 3 years working just up the road for their each summer). I look around and there is clearly a space for the restaurant. No one in Bodfish has a store for this! I can fill that niche. Ahhhh, but wait. This is where the market research comes in. Is this a location where people would ever want to go to a restaurant like this? Probably not.
Now try this one. I have just designed the best swim suit ever. This thing is comfortable, stylish and everything you want. So now I go to all of the clothing stores in my town to have them pick up the swim suit to sell in their store. But it is November and we are in some place really cold. Why won't the store buy my swimsuit! It's perfect? It might be, but guess what, it won't sell. It is too fricking cold!
It might sell later though, when the market is ready.
Too often, I find authors who have just sat down at their computer and wrote their novel, but never thinking of the market. Is the market really ready for that story now? Will it ever be ready? Along the same lines, is the market, where you want to sell it, receptive to the idea.
Think of it this way. My published authors all have their books in foreign markets. But they are not all in the same markets. One author is completely adored in Scandinavia but the books are never really picked up big time in France. Why? The voice, genre or style is more suited for one country and not another.
Authors, you have to understand that your novels ARE NOT going to be universally liked. You have a niche. Work with it