Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stars, risks, and the audience

During our conversation a few days ago, the retired professor said, “They [publishers] only want stars. Based on what you’ve told me about your book, I believe you’ll have a hard time getting it published.”

So far, that’s true. The queries I made at the beginning of this blog were not my first.

Who is my audience, agents ask. From my first post, last July, “It’s a book about family, for anyone who’s ever had a family. It’s for anyone who’s ever been a kid or had kids. It’s for parents and grandparents.

If people are looking for something enjoyable to read, to make them laugh, even cry, my audience is broad. If the search is for a “star with an edgy story” I have no audience -- unless folks at PETA consider my family’s history of raising and barbecuing rabbits "edgy" enough to harangue about.

Didn’t Seinfeld say his extremely popular and extremely successful TV series was “about nothing”? And how many submissions did it take before A Wrinkle in Time was accepted? Lest you consider me, currently unpublished, arrogant for comparing my unpublished book to masterpieces like these, I simply make a point that the task at hand for agents and publishers is to anticipate the buying public – is a person likely to purchase what they’re considering publishing, or not? Actuarial expertise aside, this is, quite frankly, a subjective burden, not a science. Both employee and entity’s future depend on making the right call. Or taking the right risk.

Oh, I am a risk. Who's willing?

- PJ

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