“Not right for my list.” That’s one of those phrases that writers hate to see on a rejection letter. It just seems to subjective. What does it really mean? This week I read an interesting blog post on this by agent Janet Reid. She pointed out that we all have a list. Most of us just call it our reading list.
That made a lot of sense to me. I’m not a huge fan of adult contemporary fiction. Except for the Don Tillman series by Graeme Simsion. I love those books!
And I love, love, love action books especially if they’re espionage. Except for the one that I tried to listen to today. I’m not going to pan an author by name but I wasn’t thrilled with the book but decided to give it one more try. Ugh. Not a rape scene! And the rape of a teen yet. Back in the library bag it went. Maybe I should be more specific — I really like Suzanne Brockmann.
Urban fantasy? Love it! As long as it’s something like Jim Butcher’s Dresden files. Unless it starts with sex. Puh-lease. Give me story and characters. Not porn. (And, yes, this would be another book that went back into the library bag.)
No matter what broad categories we love — I’m all for mysteries, sf, fantasy, adventure, spies and historical fiction — there are things we just don’t want to see. You have to work really hard to hook me with anything about World War II because I’ve already read so much. I love fantasy but I’m not a huge fan of faeries. Never have been. Snark, dark humor and sass are all good. I don’t care what brand of shoes your character wears or where they play golf/yacht/summer. I just don’t care. Horse books — love ’em. Dog stories? Not as much.
I’m just a reader but if I was an editor or agent, this would be the literary baggage that I brought to my list. Thanks to Janet Reid for helping me get a handle on “Not Right for My List.”