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Roger J Carlson
08-11-2008, 06:44 PM
I know this forum is mostly about bad news and sympathy. However, I spent the weekend at Denvention 3, the Science Fiction Worldcon in Denver. In one of the panels, an editor said an interesting thing, and I'd like to share it.

He said that every time you go into a book store and buy a book, you are rejecting every other book in the store. There's nothing personal. You don't hate the other writers (for the most part), and the other books may be perfectly good books. They just don't appeal to you. Maybe you don't like the cover. Maybe the blurb on the book jacket doesn't grab you. Maybe you read the first page and find it not to your taste. But for whatever reason, you don't buy it. You don't have the time nor the money to buy every book in the store.

This is no different from what agents and editors do.

Sarita
08-11-2008, 06:47 PM
Wow. What a great way of seeing the process.

Thanks, Roger!

Marian Perera
08-11-2008, 08:45 PM
Good post. I agree. I'm on a small budget, so I'm extremely picky about what I buy. I either have to have read the book beforehand at the library or have heard excellent reviews of it, it has to be within a certain price range, it has to be easily available and so on. Not much different from the choices agents and editors make.

I've sometimes even looked at a book, left it on the shelf and browsed through the other shops in the mall as I decided whether to buy the book or not, so I can understand agents and editors taking their time to make a decision. I may not like it, but it's normal. :)

Mr. Anonymous
08-11-2008, 08:56 PM
Nope, still doesn't make me feel any better. :P

Thanks for the post though. That is an interesting way of looking at it.

Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 09:04 PM
Wow. That is interesting. I admit I've never really looked at it that way, but it's so true. It's hard to look at it that way when you're staring your 10th form rejection letter in the face. Or better yet - when you're staring a rejection letter that was snail mailed to you. It's form, and it's only a third a sheet of paper that someone didn't even bother to cut with sissors but rather just tore it off...yeah, that was the worst.

However, I'm really glad you shared this because it's true, and it does add perspective to the rejections. Makes me feel a little bit better. Because we all do it. We go into a book store, maybe read the front flap. Maybe even read the first page of the first chapter to get a feel for the author, and we either decide that it sounds good to us or it doesn't. That doesn't mean the author is a bad author. It just means that I don't particularly like his style or the storyline.

Same goes for those agents that send us rejections.

Thanks!

Tink
08-11-2008, 09:06 PM
RJC, this (your post) does remind of us of what happens at the other end of the spectrum, doesn't it? Thanks. :)

James81
08-11-2008, 09:47 PM
I know this forum is mostly about bad news and sympathy. However, I spent the weekend at Denvention 3, the Science Fiction Worldcon in Denver. In one of the panels, an editor said an interesting thing, and I'd like to share it.

He said that every time you go into a book store and buy a book, you are rejecting every other book in the store. There's nothing personal. You don't hate the other writers (for the most part), and the other books may be perfectly good books. They just don't appeal to you. Maybe you don't like the cover. Maybe the blurb on the book jacket doesn't grab you. Maybe you read the first page and find it not to your taste. But for whatever reason, you don't buy it. You don't have the time nor the money to buy every book in the store.

This is no different from what agents and editors do.

What a negative outlook that guy has.

Personally, when I go to a bookstore and buy a book, I am singling one out for acceptance based on my budget or else I'd probably buy about 50% of the books that are currently in there. ;)

Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 09:48 PM
What a negative outlook that guy has.

Personally, when I go to a bookstore and buy a book, I am singling one out for acceptance based on my budget or else I'd probably buy about 50% of the books that are currently in there. ;)

That's actually a good point! haha - me too. I'd buy half the store if I could. :)

dgiharris
08-11-2008, 10:34 PM
What a negative outlook that guy has.

Personally, when I go to a bookstore and buy a book, I am singling one out for acceptance based on my budget or else I'd probably buy about 50% of the books that are currently in there. ;)

But, this still applies to the publishers, they have a budget they must stay within as well, similarly, they are constrained by how many they can accept.

I love this analogy about us rejecting books... different perspective and mind set.

Mel....

Gogirl
08-12-2008, 02:53 AM
Interesting analogy. Thanks for that!

JoNightshade
08-12-2008, 03:02 AM
This is going to change the way I shop for books.

"This one looks nice-- ah, back cover copy sucks! REJECT! How about-- ugh, don't like that cover! REJECT! Hmm, I like everything on this cover... first paragraph good... AH, did not compel me to turn the page! REJECT! "

dgiharris
08-12-2008, 04:15 AM
You know, this thread puts up a pretty big mirror in front of us.

If agents were 'half' as subjective as I when selecting a book, it is no wonder I get so many rejects.

My must haves:

1) Decent cover art. -- I know, I know, vain vain vain, but if it doesn't catch my eye with a cool cover, odds are I don't consciously register the book
2) Cool Title. -- Again, my eyes are skimming 10 books per second, lame titles don't even register in my brain
3) Nice, tightly written blurb on back. -- I need something snappy and hits me immediately with the conflict. If you wander or meander for one instant, book is set back down
4) Interesting. -- The problem with being an avid Sci-Fi / Fantasy Reader is that i've read through a lot of plotlines, thus, even if something is 'brilliant' if it is a standard yarn (peasant boy with mage potential is taught how to use his powers in a kindgom that is starving for justice underneath brutanical rule...) I yawn and put it back down.
5) Great hard hitting first two paragraphs -- If I make it to the stage where I open the front cover, if the writer can write, has a good voice and interesting turns of phrase, I buy the book. If the opening is meandering, dull, boring, etc it goes back on the shelf.
6) Reviews -- if it has a review by an author I respect, I will almost always open the front cover and give them an extra two paragraphs to hook me in

Wow, no I don't feel so angry about all the rejects from the editors

Mel...