Thursday, September 21, 2006

How everything is subjective…and timing

The one thing I keep forgetting is how crazy subjective this whole thing is. I’m talking right now from a reader’s perspective. I’ll read a book, get three pages in and wonder how the hell did this ever get published? (not naming any titles here)

Some of these books I picked up myself, others were given to me with hearty recommendations. So other people obviously loved them.

It’s all a reminder of how weirdly subjective this business is. I’ve seen it in the rejections of my critique partners. Books I’ve loved, (am I do try and be subjective myself) and can’t understand how an editor wouldn’t.. (maureen’s rejections come to mind on this one)

But we’re dealing with personal taste or whether or not someone is having a bad day or they hate women under size 2, or they don’t like feisty heroines, or blonde heroes, you catch my drift.

It reminds me of that old saying, you can’t please all the people all the time… we just need to please the right person on the right day… which is partly talent, and partly luck.

Initially a hard concept for me to wrap my head around. Now it really helps take the sting out of rejections and lets me keep moving forward…

But the timing thing…. Well that’s a little easier. If something is trending well, when then editors are actively looking for that type of book. And if you’re lucky enough to write that type of book, chances are you’ll get read faster, and possibly with a more favourable bent…. But, say if you’re trying to sell a straight regency right now… the book would have to be nothing short of phenomenal…

Timing can sometimes be a sucky, sucky thing

3 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

Timing does suck.

And taste is so subjective. My agent has called my book polarizing... and I guess it is, but I don't think that's a bad thing -- and neither does she. Emily Giffen's books are polarizing, too. If you're pleasing everyone, it's possible that it's just bland.

I take that back. You wouldn't be pleasing me if it's bland. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that if no one HATES it, it might be just bland.

Sinead M said...

I agree, sometimes I take it as a positive sign when I see strong, strong reactions to my work...
Better than bland, I guess...

Molly O'Keefe said...

Trends are so nuts. And I actually think as writers we're not the ones on the edge of anything - mostly because we're either working or reading or watching Joss Whedon DVD's.

As for subjective taste - i think you two do write polarizing things. Difficult heroines or plot lines or ideas that people are going to love or hate. Writing what everyone is going to like isn't going to get your careers where they want them to be -- it might take longer but that's what beer is for. To kill time.

Speaking of Beer -- it's been a long time, girls.

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