Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Your Book STILL Hot?

No, I am not talking about the steam level of the book today. What I want to deal with is the marketablity of your book, and in this case, I am not talking about every book, but the one that has sat on your shelf for a while. How about those books that you had sold to a publisher and now you are looking at re-packaging it or re-selling it because you have the rights back.

As we all know, the market is constantly changing. This change doesn't simply come with the subject matter but also in the style and voice. What was hot a while ago may not be hot now. I am sure you have heard the saying "the only constant is change?" - Well that deals with publishing.

As an agent, I am always getting submissions from writers that had done very well with prior book sales. For some reason or another, they had to back off of their writing career and now they are going to re-launch it. I am all for this. These writers, although at this moment are now considered new writers have something the other writers don't have. They have a back story and potentially numbers that go along with it. And while we might have loved their books when they first came out, we have to decide if the books will do well now. In most cases, the books are a lost cause.

This is very disappointing to hear from an author's standpoint. We would all love to hear that along with the current book they are selling, the other books will be sold too. Now in some cases, the books may be picked up, but if the style has changed, I don't care how good the writer was then, the books have a greater chance of failing now.

At this point, I have spent a lot of time talking about published authors, but the same goes for unpublished authors. You may be currently working on your 10th book, still hoping to "get the call". As you listen to editors and agents, you hear they are looking for a certain genre of book.

"Hey, I have a book like that!" you squeal, running to your file cabinet to dust off that old manuscript. In your head, for that moment, you believe you are holding the Holy Grail. You remember Scott saying on his blog that sometimes the book you write won't sell now, but it may sell later. You knew he was awesome and now he is proving it to you. (O.K. Maybe you don't think of me this way but hey, it's a great day in Washington and it's Friday so let me believe!).


Remember that the book was written during another period of time. It may have only been 3-5 years ago, but things change. The voice of the market changes. Don't go sending it out as is. Go through and really review it. You may have a big overhaul on your hands.

I remember hearing Debbie Macomber talk in Vancouver once and she said that she still has her first manuscript she wrote. Yes it is still unsold and yes, every now and then she thinks she can breathe life into it. And every time she isn't able to.

Simply put. Your story may not be universal. It may not be able to stand the test of time. I think more importantly, look to the future of your writing and not to your past all of time.

Have a great weekend.


No comments:

Post a Comment