Thanks for stopping by, Megan.
TRUTH: Good Books Get Overlooked
I know, I know, that title makes this sound like a Debbie Downer post, but I promise it's not. Totally on the contrary! I hope this post makes someone out there even more excited to jump into the publishing literary waters and get wet. If you need floaties, I have them. :)
Here’s the ugly truth that none of us writers want to admit: good books get passed up. There just aren’t enough publishing houses, enough agents, enough time in the day to make every good book into a New York Times Bestseller through a major publishing house the way we all want them to be.
That doesn’t mean that we should be any less excited about writing, or any less passionate about our books. Think of how many hours we sit, typing away, scribbling notes so we don’t forget plot lines while out to eat with a friend… who now thinks we’re certifiably insane because we’re excited about imaginary people. Wait, maybe that’s just me. Ahem. Anyway, you know what I mean. We’re emotionally invested in our books, and we love our characters like they’re family members or lifelong friends.
Then comes the day that you slaved for: the day you have put “the end” on your manuscript. You’re giddy, and completely convinced that every New York agent will be salivating over it. You send out your queries with shaky hands and a stuttering heartbeat.
And you get a rejection. Then another one. And another.
I’m here to tell you, friends, it WILL happen. I have experienced it first hand. It sucks.
I’m also here to tell you, that if you are truly dedicated to the craft, you CAN make your book a success. I’m not saying it will be overnight, and it may not even be this particular manuscript you’re currently trying to pitch. It might be the next one, the fifth one, or the fifteenth one. All I’m saying is that if you are dedicated, your book will find a home.
Good books get overlooked. Agents simply have so much going on, so much slush to sift through, that’s it is a justifiable phenomenon. The biggest thing that we as writers can do is polish, polish, polish. Sending a query about a manuscript that has not been line edited, beta reader tested, reworked, and beta reader re-tested will deliver sub-standard results. Heck, self-publishing a manuscript without going through the culling process will result in a sub-standard product for our readers.
That, my friends, is the point I’m long-winded, circling around. Good books get overlooked. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ever see the light of day. I can tell you from personal experience, I had an agent. We parted ways. I had many friends give me crazy looks for letting an agent go. Do I have regrets about the decision? I won’t lie, some days I wonder if the right decision was made, but I can tell you this: I don’t regret the decision to put Bridger out on my own, and I definitely don’t regret having the opportunity to publish Bridger through Soul Fire Press and Christopher Matthews Publishing. Good things can happen via small publishers, just like they can via big publishers.
Good books may be overlooked by what we consider the “Big Six,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t go with a smaller house or go Indie. All are viable possibilities, and if you do your homework and pursue the avenue that is best for your book, you will see results.
No matter what option you choose to go for personally, going Indie was probably the best decision I could have made for my books and myself. I can still be involved in the process and share in the production. I love that. I can interact with my readers and set the prices for my books the way I prefer. That’s a win for my readers as well.
Good books get overlooked. That doesn’t mean yours has to be one of them. Sure, writers such as Amanda Hocking, John Locke, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer are all either Indies or traditionally published exceptions to the rule. That doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to excel as they have. Exhaust all your options. If you miss out on one opportunity, go for another. Remember this, also: it only takes one yes to make your book happen. One. So take the rejections in stride, and know you’re one rejection closer to getting your yes. Don’t let your book be overlooked, and do everything in your power to give the best reading experience possible to your readers. We owe it to them. After all, they give us our livelihood.