A nice post by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m sure it’s not news to anybody reasonable — surely? — that the goal, as far as a publisher is concerned, is to publish only books that will appeal to lots of readers, and that no one is actually out to hurt the aspiring writer’s feelings by declining to publish their book.
And as Maggie Stiefvater says, before you even get to a traditional publisher, an agent doesn’t just have to like a book well enough to want to represent it — she has to love your book enough to want to spend hundreds of hours dealing with it. I mean, with BLACK DOG, my agent read enough iterations to become unable to evaluate it, so she eventually roped in a colleague to read the last draft. And that was before doing all the work involved in sending the ms out to publishers and then negotiating the contract.
I’ve always thought, btw, that probably it’s at least equally important, when an agent is deciding whether to represent you, that she gets an idea that you won’t be a pain in the neck to work with. Because who wants to deal with a prima dona who thinks their every word is inspired and won’t change or cut anything?
And that’s not even mentioning the crazy people.