Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Listening to Those Writing Teachers Again

I received this question recently and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It connects beautifully with the recent posts I did on taking writing courses and what to take out of them. Well, I couldn’t have come up with a better example than this. . . .

I am in the final revisions of my manuscript. I took an all-day workshop based on Vogler's book, and I had all the plot points. I was told that my book would not sell. It is women's fiction with strong romantic elements, but the clincher is that my manuscript has a large section where the ghost of the heroine's grandmother launches her into the past to travel down a path not taken. The instructor said that women's fiction would not touch paranormal and vice versa. I am willing to rewrite half the book to expunge the paranormal aspects, finish what I have created, or shelve it and start my second book. Before I make this decision, can you tell me if I was given the correct information?

Ha! I’m dying to know what experience your instructor has in today’s market and how many women’s fiction editors he/she speaks to on a regular basis. And, I’d also be curious to know if your instructor has ever read The Lovely Bones. What is amazing about this question is that just about a month ago I was talking with an editor who was seeking women’s fiction with paranormal elements and proceeded to send me a stack of books that illustrated her point.

So, if the instructor was happy with your book overall and has no current experience in the publishing market (in other words, she’s not an editor or an agent), I would take their advice on what sells with a grain of salt. The truth here, folks, is the only way to really know what the market wants is to give it a shot. Part of getting published is to take a leap of faith and hope that someone else loves your book as much as you do.