Literary agent Kristin Nelson had a sobering post on her blog yesterday. She said she had to reject an author with a really good manuscript because she didn't think she could sell it.
Publishers have become so demanding that a good manuscript just isn't good enough in today's highly speculative market.
And another agent (I apologize because I can't remember who it was) said his agency only wants big books.
Well, duh. What agent doesn't want the next Twilight or Harry Potter? Big books come around maybe once a year. Everyone talks about them and it makes them seem even more important. But is it a good book or a highly commercial and sellable one?
Not that you can't have both commercial and good in the same book, but I can think of quite a few that missed the mark on being a really good read.
Interesting? Yes. Unique? Absolutely. But it's rarely been the kind of book I would call a keeper. Maybe that's why I see so many of them at garage sales.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of the new and big that we lose our sense of direction. We're mad to read the next blockbuster, just to be part of the "in" crowd. This way we can discuss the big book at the water cooler and talk about how great it is.
I call this the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome. Everyone else is reading it so it must be good.
I'm not much of a groupie. It took me well over a year to read the Da Vinci Code and that's only because someone gave me the book and insisted I had to read it. Even then I dawdled.
Sure, I want the publishers to make money so the authors can make money. But in limiting our choices and selling us the BIG books, are we losing touch with the good books--the books that remain on our keeper shelves?
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