“This Book Will Never Sell”
Now I don’t know about you, but I have that exact thought every time I write a book. (I think it multiple times every single day.)
Then again, if you’re like me, you must believe in a corner of your heart, that it WILL sell, because why else would you put yourself through the torture that is Pursuit of Publication?
When you query an agent, it feels like “not a fit for my list” really means “this book will never sell”. But that’s not what it means because an agent would never say that, right? Right??
A number of years ago, I had that very thing happen to me.
Now I don’t know about you, but the idea of doing a face-to-face pitch with a literary agent is wayyyyy worse than sending an anonymous query letter. I panic. I get tongue-tied. I babble like a stream during a Spring thaw.
Still, I’m a believer in putting yourself out there in pursuit of your dreams. (If you ask me, it’s a pretty stupid belief.) Following this belief had led me to pitching to agents at conferences. (Yes, it has always been just about as miserable as I imagine it will be.)
Now for the most part, agents are nice people. They love books. They try not to let their eyes glaze over as they listen to poorly-delivered pitch after poorly-delivered pitch. They scribble notes (which may very well be their shopping lists). They drink caffeinated beverages. They suck on lozenges. They use a lot of hand sanitizer.
They smile. They’re polite. They tend to be encouraging, even while they’re rejecting you.
Or, like the agent I pitched to, they look you dead in the eye and say, “This book will never sell.”
She didn’t say she couldn’t sell it. She said it would never sell. To my face.
Once I got over my shock/outrage/depression, I mentally thanked her because she did the best possible thing possible for me. She pissed me off.
I landed another agent (who I later left) with that book and I rewrote it for two different publishing companies before I got that “yes” I’d been pursuing. Every time I thought I couldn’t take another “no” I remembered how much I wanted to prove that agent wrong and I pushed a little further. THE FIRST VICTIM was published by Carina Press….and no, I didn’t thank the “This book will never sell” agent in my acknowledgments, but I was tempted.
What’s the worst thing you’ve heard as you pursue publication?
AUTHOR BIO – JB Lynn
JB Lynn is the author of THE FIRST VICTIM, CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN and FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN.
She is a compulsive reader, a runner (of sorts), an enthusiastic cook (who doesn't get the appeal of the Food Network), and someone who has an irresistible urge to eavesdrop at all times.
JB has a great love of her husband, dogs, coffee, purple ink, spiral notebooks, running gear, hot showers, and '80s music. Given enough time, all of these things will eventually show up in her books.
KILLER CHICKS: http://www.killerchicks.org/
Edited to Add: We didn't plan this but just for kicks this morning, I got a wild idea. Comment and be entered to win either a hardcopy of Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman - the first book in JB's series - or any one of her Kindle ebooks. (U.S. only on the ebooks, I think. They don't let you send those things to other countries - damn them. And U.S. or Canada only on the hardcopy. I'm not made of money. :wink:) Any comment before next Monday's post goes up - one comment per person.