Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stories Of The Heart May Not Sell

I think every writer has one of these stories, either finished, in a work in progress mode, or just getting ready to raise its ugly head. These are the "stories of the heart." You know which stories I am talking about here. You often use the line to justify the time you spent writing it as "this story just had to be told", or "this character really wanted to have his or her story."

Authors have put their heart and soul into these stories and, as an agent, these are some of the most frustrating stories to work with for the simple reason that these are damn good stories. We just can't market the darn things. There is just no place in the market for the story.

Now, before you self-publishing people start screaming, "that's the problem with the industry - the lack of openness to new ideas," let me say this is far from the case. Sure you can put it out there, but the odds are, but if the readers are not going to buy the darn thing, it will not sell. And, in the end, that is the point of this game, isn't it?

So, now the question is, what do we do with these darn stories? As an agent, I would still say to write the story. Is there a chance the story can eek its way into the system? You better believe it! You never know if, in the hands of the right editor, it will be quirky enough. But there is a bigger issue here. Your brain needs that story to be told. Until the story gets out of your brain, it will continue to bug you. So let it free and see what happens.

Maybe this becomes one of those stories that sits in your house and you go back to it every now and then for your own personal pleasure. That might be enough. Just remember, you cannot count on it making your career.

1 comment:

  1. This was a though-provoking post. I have some stories like that. Eventually I'd like to turn them into a collection of related stories, but individually, they've been a hard sell. I like your idea, though, of just writing such stories for the pleasure of getting them out of the heart onto paper and revisiting them from time to time.