You’ve written a top notch manuscript. You’ve shopped it around, and you get so many positive comments. But ultimately the answer is no. No one is buying what you’re selling or at least they aren’t buying this manuscript. Why not?
Don’t you wish that agents, editors, and publishers would give you more than a “no thank you”? But the reality is that you very seldom get a specific reason that goes beyond the form letter statement “I just don’t love it enough.”
There are a number of reasons that your work may not be selling. Let look at just a few.
Not a First Book
If you don’t have a book out already, the reality may be that the book you are shopping around just isn’t strong enough to be a first book. It has to be a book that will pull in reader, and editors, who have no clue who you are and are willing to pick it up although you have no track record.
The cure? Wait until you have another book.
It could also be that for some reason your book isn’t a good fit for the current market. Maybe no one is buying YA that is that long. Or they don’t want a trio of kids solving the problem.
The cure? Sometimes you can just wait it out. After all, Harry Potter showed many people that young readers could handle massive texts. But really it is best to write another book. This one might make a good second or third book.
Not Quite Strong Enough
There are also a lot of manuscripts being shopped around that are fun but just not quite strong enough. Maybe the characters are good but the plotting is weak. Maybe the stakes aren’t high enough but your descriptions draw readers in. Whatever it the weakness is, it is there.
Agents and editor both have a lot on their plot. Sure, many of them take on imperfect manuscripts but they have to be passionate to put in the work. That’s why “just don’t love it enough” really is a reason.
The cure? Keep writing. Take classes. Find a good critique group.
The reality is that writers write. And you want to keep growing as a writer so that you don’t stagnate. You want this year’s work to be better than two years ago. Write and submit. Write and grow and submit some more. And don’t forget to rewrite. We all do a lot of rewriting!