I think I may have been a wee bit over the top in saying to sell a book in today’s market, it all boils down to writing an infuckingcredible book. Many of you have made the comment that there are some pretty unfuckingincredible books out there. And there are, in our opinion, but not in the acquiring editor’s opinion. There are many factors that go into the purchase of a book. Primarily it has to be a project that an editor loves. And even if she loves it, there is the current market, the weight of the current list, money, timing and even if all of those factors are in this particular project’s favor, the wrench can come in the form of another project, that while they all might not love as much, the powers that be see it as a more viable commercial option. Boiled down the acquisition team asks: which one will make us more money?
Publishing, we must always remember, is a business first. Publishers can’t stay in business if they aren’t making money. It’s not a perfect science. Here’s another scenario: All parties agree it’s a great project but then marketing raises their hand and says, “You’re right, this is great, but we have an abundance of debut paranormal authors, what sets this one apart from the others?” It’s hard to be seen and heard when the competition is as good as you, or maybe not quite as good, but they got there first. What’s an author to do? Write something else.
When publishers are dissolving imprints and cutting back on releases per month, you must have a fabulous project and the stars must be aligned. That’s the timing part. There is also the luck part, but the luck part only works if the project is stand up and the timing is right.
I sold my first book because of timing (Kensington was launching a new erotic romance line. As a side note, the story I sold had been rejected by Kensington as being ‘too raunchy’ for Brava several months prior, but my editor remembered it), and not to take away from my story, it was smartly written and sexy. I landed my agent because of timing and luck, but more than that, she loved my voice. There has to be a lovefest first, and that comes down to the product: our stories.
But we must understand, what one editor would kill for, another will use as birdcage liner. This business is all subjective. I know there are editors out there who will read my proposal and be shocked. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be, raw. This is not a series for the faint of heart. Many editors have their pet peeves. Some don’t like children in stories. Some are sick of vamps and tramps. Some don’t like uber sexy. Does that mean your story sux eggs? Nope, it just means that particular editor wasn’t that into it. So, we move on. It’s all we can do.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: To survive in these publishing waters, we all must be sharks. Always be on the move, going forward or sink and die.
So, yes, write the most infuckingcredible story you can. That will get you in the door. Then? Timing, luck, moon phases and fairy dust will do the rest. J