My Work Is So Much Better, Part 2

why boughtYesterday, I discussed the problem with deciding to submit your work to a publisher simply because you think your work outshines anything and everything they normally print.  But that isn’t the only time writers sometimes say “My work is so much better.”

Sometimes this phrase is followed by “. . . how did this book get published?”

And that really is the question you need to answer.  You need to be able to see why other books, even books you don’t like, might be marketable.  Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when you don’t like a book you’ve just finished reading.

Who is the author?  As much as you don’t want to think about it, some people’s names sell books.  Not sure you believe that?  Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling had ho hum sales until someone leaked the Galbraith was actually a pen name for J. K. Rowling.  Do I have to tell you what happened to the sales of the book after that?  An author’s name can sell books.  That’s why a manuscript that wasn’t strong enough to be your lead book, may be published later on as book #4 or 5.

Who is the publisher?  Take a good look at their web site.  Do you see anything that looks like a mission statement?  Some publishers handily enough have an actual mission statement.  Others, in telling site visitors about themselves, include it in a less formal way such as “Flux is an imprint dedicated to fiction for teens, where young adult is a point of view, not a reading level. You won’t find condescension or simplification here. You will find comedy, tragedy, ecstasy, pain, discovery – everything you’re likely to find in real life. Welcome to Flux…now.”  How does the book you are holding match the publisher’s view of themselves and their audience?

Is this simply a genre that doesn’t appeal to me?  As much as I love to read there are several types of books that I just don’t get.  Sure, there are those rare graphic novels that I enjoy and the occasional piece of chick lit holds my attention, but for the most part I don’t enjoy books in either of these genre.  Still, I get the appeal of both a visual medium and a quick beach read.  I just don’t want them in those formats.

You aren’t going to love each and every book that makes it’s way into print.  But your job a as a writer is to figure out why the publisher thought this book was necessary and would sell.