Book Business

A Picky Reader

Having a book rejected by an agent or editor is puzzling, especially when the agent or editor have stated they are seeking just what we’re offering. Almost every day, my office must decline books that should be a fit. Usually the reasons are concrete (too long, too short, writing doesn’t sparkle, insufficient platform). But sometimes we’re just picky.

I’ve touched on this topic in the past, but thought it worth visiting again because as a reader, I have rejected many recent general market novels. For example:

1.) I didn’t bother at all with a book whose characters’ story was based on what I view as a stupid decision. I don’t want to spend my time reading a book solely about the consequences of a decision I never would have made. I suppose another expression is that I don’t suffer fools gladly.

2.) After five chapters, I realized that there was no way I could relate to the characters. I lost interest and quit reading.

3.) After three chapters of another book, I just outright didn’t like the characters. They were arrogant and self-absorbed, so much that they (and maybe even their creator) didn’t realize it. Granted, many excellent books feature unlikable characters but for me, the plot wasn’t intriguing enough to keep reading.

4.) In yet another book, I found myself skipping most of the words and could still keep up with the story. I quit reading.

5.) I didn’t bother with another book where reviewers revealed that ultimately, the story was a celebration of a lifestyle that I believe is opposition to Christianity.

6.) Another story had a great premise but the execution proved boring to me.

7.) Still another volume proved that the book reviewer’s writing was much more witty, engaging, and charming than was the book itself. Disappointing.

So there you have it — my personal rejections of published books. Published books giving great pleasure and enjoyment to many other readers.

Takeaway value of this blog? When one agent rejects your work, another may find your story just right.

Your turn:

Have you been rejected by agents, only later to find an agent who loved your work?

Have you quit reading a book for any of the above reasons?

Have you stayed with a book you initially didn’t like? Were you glad or sorry?

I think most readers are just as picky as I am. Do you?

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