Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sometimes The Best Approach Is To Shelve It And Start Over

As an agent, when we find a project we love, it can be amazingly frustrating that, despite all of our efforts to convince editors to love it just as much, the story will just not sell. Sometimes it is the state of the industry. Sometimes it is just a matter that maybe the story was not as strong as we saw it when we first read it. This happens a lot. But now the question is, what should the author and agent do.

The first instinct is to "just keep sending it out there". Now, this approach does continue to market the project, but in reality, we start sending it out to places where it probably doesn't fit at all. We're just sending it to say we sent it. Is there a chance something could stick? Sure. But the odds are really against the project at this point.

The second approach is to try a different style of publishing. If the author and agent have been taking the straight-up traditional press approach, maybe trying a digital only approach will work. Although this is a choice, it might be deviating from the goal of the author. This might also take the author in a direction that he or she is not suited for, or simply doesn't want to do.

The third approach is to scrap it and start over. Now I understand some people might consider this "giving up" but it really isn't. The book goes on a shelf and the author starts from the ground up. Sometimes that story will become something that can be used at a later date when the market shifts. Sometimes, it becomes just a story that "we learned from."

This is always a tough decision to make, but it is one that happens more often than not. It is frustrating. It is certainly not a pleasant thing to consider. But remember, there are options. Just thinking things through rationally will get you through this.

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