Friday, December 18, 2009

When is a Project Dead

It is an unfortunate fact that some stories just are not going to sell. As much as you might have enjoyed writing the story, it still comes down to the fact that the story has to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right editor for it to sell. You can even agressively market the story to the editors with everything you have and it just won't sell.

Now what?

There are times when the story is simply a dead project. It is time to shut the door on that project and move on. As tough as that might sound, it is a truth that you have to deal with. Too often though, I talk to writers that keep going back to the story in an effort to make it better - to make it more marketable. While this is a noble effort, it is simply a waste of time.

I always think of situations like this as comparable to cooking. No matter how much you do to the food on the stove, no matter how many different spices you add to it, if the meat is ruined or burnt, there is nothing to save it. We just throw it out.

But, there is a positive side to this. Take the story, put it on a shelf and give it some time. Maybe, when you are marketing another story, the old one can come back to life again. There are countless times when an editor will pick up that lost story after you are writing some other material and throw it into the contract.

So, how do you know? When you have sent it to all of the houses would take your project and the comments are all rejections, move on. Remember, I did say all the houses that would take your project. As you know, I am a firm believer that your story has a limited number of places it can go.

Oh, and before I close, let me recommend to not simply throw it to a POD publisher or someone you aren't going to be happy with. Sure it will get printed, but if someone later shows some interest in your work, you are out of luck with throwing it into that contract mix. I know many of you say, "but I have the rights", however, it isn't as easy as you think.


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