But let me ask you this—when you walk into a book store and drop ten to twenty dollars on a book, are you willing to accept only good? OR do you expect the book to be very exceptional? I guess that’s what it all boils down to. But I’m not sure who hurts more when there is so much potential and we have to say no.
Let’s look at a few reasons why.
First and foremost would be sending me things I don’t handle. It’s pretty straightforward on our site that we don’t handle profanity and explicit sexuality. If your little sister or grandma would blush, we don’t take it. I’ve received more than a dozen queries for erotica this last two weeks alone. And if the query makes me blush…
Second, let your masculine characters be masculine. Men don’t talk a lot. They get to the point and move on. They don’t internally whine as much as women do (sorry, ladies), but they are different creatures than we are. They aren’t constantly trying to figure out their feelings. When they look at girl, they don’t stop and think about the weather forecast. They’re GUYS!
Third, don’t age yourself as an author if you’re over 50 by having your young characters named Wilma and Horace. Not gonna happen in 2012. Or have them say things like groovy, golly, and “gee she’s swell!” as well as a myriad of other things that younger people today wouldn’t say. This goes for internal dialogue as well.
Fourth, please don’t preach in your novels. If you are writing inspirational, be subtle, go easy. NO one, not even another Christian wants to be preached at. Characters can have faith-filled existence, but you don’t need to ram it down the reader’s throat. Even a scene for coming to know Christ doesn’t need to be preachy.
Okay, four reasons why I might say no. There are others: poor grammar, punctuation, no sense of formatting whatsoever, bad attitude in query letter, informing me that God told you to write the book and so I have to take it. And on and on and on.
Next week I hope to give you a few hints about what an agent loves to see. At least, from my perspective.
Have a good one.