New Leaf Literary and Media on agents and “It’s good, it’s just not for me.”

I’m querying! That means I glom onto absolutely everything I find online that is related to the process of querying. In fact, I am currently I’m sitting on a treasure trove of agent-related links, none of which I have actually bothered to post here. So it’s time. I am actually going to start posting these things.

So here’s one: A post from New Leaf Literary and Media on what it means to them when they have to give the heartbreaking response of “Your story is good, but it’s just not for me.”

When agents reply, "It's good, just not for me," isn't that admitting to being gatekeepers to traditional publishing? – New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc..

2 thoughts on “New Leaf Literary and Media on agents and “It’s good, it’s just not for me.”

  1. Marketing really does play a lot into everything. But the problem with such a thing by default is that it’s very…anti-risk taking, I suppose. And I think that can be murder on storytelling.

    Sometimes I wonder if, once an established author, it’s not a terrible idea to handle things with a mixture approach. The stories that are based on what sells go the traditional route, the riskier stuff goes the independent route (which if it does reasonably well may still get an offer from a publisher who sees $ signs).

    But then again, it’s also easier to get everything through once established too.

    This provoked something to think about during lunch either way. Thanks for posting it!

    1. Glad to hear it was interesting!

      I agonize over marketability and querying has made that a thousand times worse. Write stories that can feasibly sell! Be aware of trends! Except, wait. No, don’t do that. Trends get bloated quickly, and you don’t want to write in an overdone genre. Only write unique stories in established genres that are selling 1.5 years from now?!

      Honestly, the last time I thought about this it gave me writer’s block. (“Is the idea I’m working on how inherently more sellable than what I’m pitching? Maybe I shouldn’t write it unless it’s BEST IDEA EVER THAT CAN’T NOT BE SOLD?!”)

      It’s not a good game to play. I have to remind myself just to… write whatever I like. Write what I enjoy and what I want to. Because I can’t guess trends and I can’t guess what an agent’s personal feelings will be. I can avoid writing the 1,021st supernatural vampire romance, but that’s it.

      That said, I don’t think it necessarily discourages risk. Where’s the “never will be published by any major publisher, ever” line? They want uniqueness, just… in a way they can sell. And what’s sellable changes all the time (as do agents’ opinions of what that is.) I think you’d have to be doing some crazy stuff–really experimental writing or extreme taboos–to be able to easily say that no traditional publisher will ever take a project on.

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