Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Unwritten Thing We Are Looking For In A Submission

I know many of you have heard of those "hidden" menu items at the local restaurants. These are the ones that are "on the menu" but unless you are in the know, you miss out. I bring this up, because, for agents, there is also an unwritten thing we are looking for in a story.

Now, before I get into what that mysterious item is, please note, this is not one of those things we use to just "get rid of authors." This is also something that you cannot prepare for. In other words, you cannot try to write to this, or even prep for it in a synopsis, query or your manuscript.

What we are talking about is purely subjective. It is the connection the story makes with us when we read it. It is simply whether or not we personally like it or not.

Now, I understand that you might be thinking this is unfair, but consider this. If we totally love a project, then we will want to read it over and over again (which is good considering we will likely be editing this thing several times). But the bigger issue is that we need to love it so much, we want to tell everyone about it.

When we sit down with editors (or talk to them over the phone) the topic of "So what projects do you have that are really interesting now?" will come up. If we love your book, and are totally excited about it, we will bring up your book first. We will also be so excited about it, that we will really hype that book up.

Let me give you two examples of this one:

You have heard be talk about Jean Love-Cush and her novel ENDANGERED. When she pitched this book to me in Chicago, I was sold immediately. I was then so hooked on this book, I couldn't stop talking about it. This continued until Simon and Schuster picked it up/. We are not totally excited about the next of her book which is in the editing phase called MISSING.

The second came from Stephanie Stiles. TAKE IT LIKE A MOM had me talking to everyone about it. I loved the lines. I loved the scenes. I could totally connect with the story. We sold that book to New American Library in 11 days after I signed the book.

I am sure you have all experienced the same thing when it comes to books, movies and tv shows. There are some that you can just connect with and others that just don't work well with you. This does not me the book, movie or show is bad. It just isn't something you are in to.

So, if you do get a rejection, please note this is not a situation of your writing being bad (although it could be). It might simply be that lack of connection.

1 comment:

  1. This is a nice insight to share. It puts things into perspective for a writer, I think. We all know that instant we either love something (as a reader) or feel, just . . . eh.