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?

Leave a Comment

And the Winner is: Words

Everyone has a preference as to the type of art and media they consume. Some people like books, others prefer movies, television programs, live theater, music, online content and many simply like a combination of all of the above. Even though our modern society is captivated by “the next big …

Read More

Who Really Wrote Handel’s “Messiah”?

No. This isn’t really a trick question. Or one of those silly ones you play on kids like “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” But there is a wonderful bit of forgotten history in the answer. Without Handel’s Messiah we would not know who Charles Jennens was. And without Charles …

Read More

Should I Be Writing This Genre?

Often I talk with new authors writing in lots of genres. This is fine if it’s part of your personal writing journey and learning process. I want my authors to enjoy what they’re writing. But when you get serious about publication, know when to choose and what to choose. One …

Read More

What’s Your First Line?

Listen! Do you hear it? It’s been there all month, echoing in the background. The sound of hundreds of thousands of fingers tap-tap-tapping away. Yes, it’s here again: NaNoWriMo! That grand adventure of joining with other writers worldwide from November 1-30 to uplift and encourage each other as you write …

Read More

Creative Outlets

Ever notice how creativity has a way of coming and going? And when it goes, it always seems to be at the worst possible moment, such as when your book is due. Or when it WAS due. Weeks ago. But I’ve discovered a sure fire way to spark creativity, even …

Read More

Long Live Napoleon Solo

The middle of September 1964 was one of the most historic periods in world history.  Rarely has humanity seen the kind of cultural shift that occurred fifty years ago this month.  Subsequent generations will never be the same. In one week, families, friends, fiends, fish and fun boat-rides changed forever, …

Read More

Justin Beiber and Leisure Suits

Recognizing the difference between a cultural “trend” and a “phenomenon” is an important skill of anyone working in book publishing, both employees of publishers and authors. Why? Because book publishing in virtually every form does a very poor job responding to a phenomenon, which is generally short-lived. Often a phenomenon …

Read More

Synopsis Made Easy – I Promise!

Okay, fellow proposal peeps, it’s time to jump in and work together on crafting a perfect proposal. Many of you echoed what I’ve heard over and over through the years: “I hate writing the synopsis!” This is especially painful because you need a short synopsis/summary that runs around 50-60 words—but …

Read More

You Are Not Alone

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about proposals. Clearly, a lot of us struggle with this side of being a writer. As I was thinking over what to write for tackling those problematic proposal elements, I rediscovered the video below, made in ’09. It was created by best-selling authors Angela Hunt, …

Read More