Going With Your Gut to Sell that Book
Written by
How She Does It
August 2010
Written by
How She Does It
August 2010
A writer and editor herself, agent Molly Lyons discovers that though timing is everything with your book proposal, the best thing you can do is to trust yourself, and your work. It was love at first sight. Or at least at first read. The query letter was clear and lively and I immediately wanted to see the entire manuscript. I mooned over the mailbox, waiting for it to arrive. When it did, I was relieved that I was right—this was the novel for me. Funny and dear, sweet and real, I signed it up right away, unsurprised that the author was just as lovely as her work was. I drew up my list of publishers to send it to and I gushed, I blushed, I knew this book deserved an editor who loved it just as much as I did. It was not to be. It was wonderful, but, “too quiet,” “too domestic,” “too cozy,” they said. It wasn’t the book, it was the market. There were other publishers out there, ones that they were sure would be right for the book. Sigh. The author and I decided to put the novel aside. She’d start a new one. We’d begin fresh again. Still, I couldn’t forget my first love. A few years later, I was at lunch with an editor. I knew her list and I had seen her recent acquisitions, good and solid projects all. As we were chatting, something told me that I was speaking to a soul mate, someone who would understand the charms of the novel we had stashed away. So I told her about it, the one I loved so much. Her eyes lit up, she was interested. Reader, she bought the book. Of course, this happy ending doesn’t happen for every unsold book, but it did teach me a few lessons. Listen to your intuition There will always be reasons to dismiss that fleeting thought, to rationalize away an idea. But while the book business is just that, a business, with logic and hard facts behind it, it’s also one that’s based on making connections with readers, and that connection starts with a spark between the material and the editor. Timing is everything Sometimes the market is hungrier for one type of book more than the other. It doesn’t mean your book isn’t any good. It just means you may have to wait until the tastes change. Patience may pay off Take a chance The worst someone can say is no.

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  • Janet Ference

    Wonderful! Glad I kept looking for this. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Barbara Shallue

    Thanks for this. I'm halfway through my first draft and already wondering if there will be a market for it. I'll quit worrying and just write!

  • Can you tell us its name? I'm dying to go out and buy it, just to have a little bit of that love and that inspiring story rub off on me, and take part in it.

  • Eileen Granfors

    I feel inspired. I have written and rewritten a book I love. Now I am working to perfect that query so that someone says, "Oh, I HAVE to read this book!" Great post, Molly.

  • This is the best advice I could ever hear. Thank you for sharing~

  • Rebecca Rasmussen

    This is so so inspiring for all of us. Thank you for sharing!

  • Fantastic post. Thanks!

  • Danica Davidson

    Very inspiring! Thank you for the post.