It Doesn’t Have to be Hot to SELL
Yesterday I said that even if your project isn’t one of those “hot” ones that everyone’s jumping all over immediately, that doesn’t mean it won’t sell. There are plenty of projects that are very strong and would make good books; but because they aren’t perceived as a “sure thing” they simply take longer to find an agent, and often longer to find a publishing home.
I sometimes have a project on my desk that I really like. But as I sit there assessing its likelihood of selling (both to a publisher and to consumers) I shake my head and think, “oh man, I just don’t know.” So I set it aside, wanting to think about it some more. Time passes… I continue staying in touch with editors as always, and I’m always learning more about the market and who’s looking for what. The next time I pick up that project, I might have learned that there are a couple of publishers looking for something similar. Or I may have learned the opposite – that the chances for that project are even slimmer than I thought. Still, I like it and I’m hesitant to say no. I hang on to it, to keep it under consideration.
Now, many agents probably don’t do this, but I know for a fact that most editors do. They have stacks of things that aren’t “hot” but they’re good, so they don’t get an immediate “no.” Those projects end up sitting there a long time.
This becomes obvious to me when I receive emails editors asking about projects I submitted six months to a year previously. Clearly those projects have been languishing in stacks along with other “maybe” proposals. The editor may have some slots to fill and so they’re looking through their stacks to see if they have anything good enough to take to the editorial meeting.
I go through cycles. Sometimes I simply don’t have time for any new clients. Then I’ll go through a phase when I need to refresh my client list, so I start going through the manuscripts I already have.
When I was an acquisitions editor, there were a couple of instances in which I contracted a book a year after it was initially submitted to me by an agent. The timing was finally right.
So, don’t despair if your book is good but not hot. Everything happens in its own time.