Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dad Wisdom & Publishing

STATUS: I really need to tackle the emails piling up in my inbox.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WOODS by George Winston

When I was in high school, my dad told me two things. Finding that special someone is all about timing and HS boys are intimidated by bright women.

Funny enough, I thought that was a lot of hooey. Sheepish apology to my lovely dad because he pretty much was right. But as a teen, you pretty much assume that a parent couldn’t possibly be right.

Hindsight really is 20/20.

So what in the world does this have to do with publishing? Well, two things actually.

The first I’m actually a little hesitant to say but I’m inspired by a recent entry from Editorial Ass on a whole different topic but tangential in nature, so I think I’ll take a risk and put this comment out there as well.

From my personal experience (and I really can only speak from that perspective), I truly believe that for literary fiction, it’s much easier to sell boy writers than gals. I know. Who can possibly make such a general statement but I have to say that I’ve encountered several worthy manuscripts that I’m rather convinced that if the writer had been male, the novel would have sold.

Just empirical proof, of course; no scientific method employed.

And second, publishing is often about timing. For example, if you are currently a writer of young adult or middle grade fiction and you have a paranormal element (read: vampire, werewolf, witch or what have you), you might be stymied by the timing of putting said project on submission right now.

The market is crowded. Editors are weary in some respects. (Agents too!) Just last week I had an editor turn down even looking at a manuscript because she felt her list was too crowded with the supernatural.

That’s a sure sign that a trend is winding down. Now that doesn’t mean nothing in that realm will sell. It just means that any project that does will have to be X times better, X times more original, than similar projects sold 2 years ago.