Thursday, September 29, 2022

But I Wanted My Book At X Publisher

New authors always have huge goals in mind. They believe that first book will be enough for them to quit their day job, by a mansion or two in the Hamptons and spend their days writing like the authors we see in the movies. New authors have to remember one thing. They are NEW. They have no track record. They likely have no following in authors. Even if they are self-published, their following or the reviews they have on Amazon mean diddly squat.

When an editor signs an author, they are taking a gamble. They are putting out an advance to that author, taking a chance and hoping the author will sell and hit it out of the part. Can they see the future? No! None of us can. We are just keeping our fingers crossed. 

So, with that said, you are now with an agent who is also taking a risk on you. They are doing their best to find you a deal. They, like you, know where they would love to see your story, but they also have a realistic view that, because you are new, that ideal editor may not occur on the first book. Still, they try. 

But what happens when they do make that sale to an editor. It may not be that dream editor, but hey, we got a sale! We celebrate. Remember, agents are not going to put you with someone they do not trust. Everyone is on your side, and everyone wants you to do well. 

Does this mean you whine about it? No. Celebrate that success and make those other editors wish they had signed you. Work on that next book an make it sell.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

I Have An Agent But My Book Is Not Selling - Why?

I really wish authors' visions of reality were indeed true. Get an agent, and you immediately have a pathway to a career in writing. Remember, we all work on commission here so that would be the perfect reality. However, that is far from the truth. 

When we sign on with an author, we see something in his or her writing. The project may be something that really hit home with us. Maybe they have a voice that is a once in a lifetime voice. It could be anything. However, we also have to remember that in the publishing world, everything is subjective, and every book is always on a case-by-case basis. In other words, just because I like the project does not mean that an editor will love it, or that there is even a place for it in the world right now. 

I remember sitting at a conference listening to the amazing Steve Berry talk about his career. It took 5 full novels, even with an agent before his first book sold. Even then, it sold as a hunch on the part of the editor. There was apparently another author who was launching a book and the publisher thought that maybe adding a second book to this other up and coming author might work. That author had this story about DiVinci and some sort of code. What a deal!

The point is that we keep trying. If an agent doesn't sell your first book to an editor, it does not mean the agent is not doing his or her job. It is just that your book is not ready yet. It might never sell but it may be book 6 that does. 

Don't panic. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Multiple Rejections of Your Book? What does this mean?

I recently read a post from an author who was worried about the fate of her book. She noted that she had received over 15 rejections for this single project. She simply didn't understand what was happening. All of her critique partners loved the book. She had a couple of beta readers comment that they liked it. But why is it not gaining any traction? 

Some other reader did ask what the comments were from the agents, and apparently many had said something similar. This was a book that the agent simply could not sell. The writing was good, but the project was something they could not sell.

The author took this as an issue of the book just being sent to the wrong agent. Her interpretation was that the project was just not something that the agent had editors he or she was connected with and that was the reason. 

While this might seem plausible, and it may indeed be the reason why the project was being rejected. However, there is a more obvious reason. The project is simply not marketable.

I know that so many editors and agents say the same thing. Write the best dang story out there and there will likely be a place for it. On the surface, this is true, but we are talking about a story that is "the best dan story out there." For most authors, if their writing is just OK, we have to look at whether or not the market is looking for a project like the one being submitted. If the market is not looking for those projects, in other words, readers are just not into that concept right now, we will likely pass on it. 

If you follow this blog, you know that I am always talking about doing your market research. Are there television shows and movies out there with similar themes? Are we seeing things in the news? Is there an interested in similar projects on the book shelves? If not, that might say a lot. 

So, really dig into those rejection letters and think. There may be clues you are overlooking, or simply ignoring. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

What is Women's Fiction?

This is a category that I totally love, but I do think many people are misunderstanding what the genre is really about. It seems that many people believe it is just a story that women would like, and it has to be fiction. Ummmm, no. Not going to work here. We have to be more specific. 

I recently read a description from another agent who defined it as stories that would be targeting women. Again, this is a bit too broad. 

Years ago, I went on a journey to find a way to truly define women's fiction. This is what I came up with.

First of all, in most cases, women's fiction is told from the point of view of a female. This is mostly because of the second component that I look at when it comes to women's fiction. These are stories that are looking at the world through a female lens, therefore, the need for a female protagonist. Now, like all pieces of logic, if women's fiction is told from the point of view of a female, then every story out there with a female protagonist is women's fiction. This is false. 

Remember, when I say we are looking at the world through a female lens, we are also looking at how the female brain is processing what she sees in the world. The main focus of these stories is to see how women think, see the world and react to things in the world. For all of you academic people out there, this is the thesis of women's fiction. If your story has a female protagonist, but the focus of the story is the triller or mystery in the story, then we cannot classify it as women's fiction, but as a thriller or mystery. 

I know this might seem like a fine line, but it all comes down to the take-away of the story. What is your goal when you set out on this journey.

I also add that good women's fiction are stories that make you stop and think. You contemplate what you are doing in your life, what the characters did and reflect on those actions. You learn from the story. If this was discussed in a book club, the odds are that the story becomes a jumping off point for all of the readers to discuss their life journeys.

Just something to think about this Monday.