Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Why even good books are rejected by publishers

Here’s a post by an agent that caught my eye: Eight reasons that even a good book is rejected by publishers

I can especially tell this must be true when an author friend of mine mentions that something of hers just got turned down. Uh huh. I’ve certainly been there, but I’m sometimes still surprised that everyone else has, too. Once you know that everyone has been there, it’s probably easier not to take it personally.

Anyway, eight reasons as laid out by, let me see, looks like an agent named Kanishka Gupta, who is CEO of the South Asia’s largest literary agency, Writer’s Side, it says. Looks like he’s thinking mainly of nonfiction, or certainly not concentrating on genre fiction, so not entirely relevant to my interests. But still, here we go:

1. No market for this particular book. That’s the Acquisitions people there. You can’t blame them for doing their jobs. I guess. Doesn’t stop me sometimes, though. Jerks. Anyway, moving on …

2. The author’s showing no networking ability. Good heavens. I hope that’s not a common reason to ditch a book. In today’s age of literary festivals, it helps to know some influential festival directors as well. Eminently publishable books are at times rejected in the absence of such contacts or commitments. Wow, I would not be thrilled to find out these kinds of connections were a big deal.

3. Prior sales record not good. Alas, I’m sure this is a big deal. One hears about this all the time.

4. Publisher not keen on taking a chance on a genre because they had a book of that genre tank previously. Well, imo, they should probably pull up their socks and think about how they might have failed with the marketing.

5. Publisher just brought out a similar book. Yeah, there’s nothing you can do if you if everyone just brought out a mermaid book last year and now you’ve got one you’d like to place. Except wait five or ten years and offer it around when the mermaid thing has run its course, I suppose.

6. Wrong editor for the book. That’s not a problem if you’ve got a competent agent, or it shouldn’t be. I know Caitlin doesn’t send my manuscripts out to random editors.

7. Editor hates the book. He’s talking about hating the subject of a memoir or disliking the ideological perspective of a book, but I imagine this is quite generalizable to “hates book for some reason.” Sounds to me like it’s essentially the same as “Wrong editor for book,” above.

8. Book would be too expensive to produce. Yeah, I wonder about the Illuminae books by Kaufman and Kristoff? Those are so creative in design. I bet they were pricier to produce than typical books. Well, taking a chance on them is obviously paying off for . . . looks like it’s Knopf. Yeah, I’m sure they’re pleased they didn’t turn down this trilogy!

Anyway, click through to read the whole thing.

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