Thursday, April 17, 2014

A matter of taste by Terry Burns


I pick things to represent that I like to read.

That's not hard to understand. It's something I like and it holds my interest. I feel good about trying to get it out where others can read it as well. I'm happy to have my name attached to it. It's a matter of taste.

But what if an acquiring editor that I send it to does not share that taste and it isn't something they like to read? Well, duh, they're going to pass on it. They are looking for things that fit the catalog slots that they are trying to fill, but they are also looking for things that they personally enjoy. That's a matter of taste too.

I have editors who are good friends but have never bought anything from me. Our tastes are different. There are others who like similar things that I like and we've done quite a bit of business together. Often I take something because I do know somebody is looking for it. Maybe it is not my normal fare but I feel I know where it goes. The danger there is the fact that if the place I think it is supposed to go doesn't want it, there may be a limited market for it otherwise.

Then there are the editors that I just am not sure what they want. When I submit to them I don't get any feedback that will tell me what they like or did not like in a submission. Nothing to narrow it down and help me to better find something that would be a good fit for them. I can read something they edit for publication and maybe get an idea that way, but unfortunately with the large number of incoming submissions that I have to handle I don't have the kind of reading time that I would like to have.

I ask my clients to read in their genre. Perhaps between us we can stay abreast of books that will help us nail down these areas of interest, better define particular editor tastes. After all, we don't sell books to publishing houses, we sell them to an editor that really likes the offering personally.

It is, after all . . . a matter of taste. 

1 comment:

David B. Smith said...

And when I read all the five- and one-star Amazon reviews for this or that book, that corroborates your point: there is an audience for virtually any taste (as long as the quality is there). We in the writing family appreciate Hartline's diligence in ferreting out that unique marriage between our chosen genre and the editor who will fall in love with it.