Knowing your market

The Greyhaus Literary Agency was near the top of my list after researching the available agents in preparation for the RWA National Conf in Dallas this spring, and I elbowed my way in and snagged an appt with Scott in the great dial-up land-rush type rumble that assigned appointments. I met with Scott and even though he rejected both my books in record time, he was very nice about it. :)

And I keep reading his Scott's Thoughts because I like the things he has to say. I like that he's not nicey-nice. I like that he's forthright without being rude; I find that to be a rare talent. Not that I didn't love Miss Snark, and not that I don't cruise by the Evil Editor on occasion. But when I read Scott's posts, I get a sense of .... I knew that was true!, but nobody else would say it. He has a way of saying things that makes sense, and in a way that I can apply it to myself and use the information. So I was delighted to see that instead of the very infrequent updates on his 'Thoughts' page, he now has a blog, and one post in particular, a rant, really struck home for me.

The thing about markets.

I'd dearly love to be a Baen author, not just because I love so many of their books, but because of their sense of community. But I don't think I could write military SF if I had one biting me on the ass, or even if it squirmed in through my ear and ate my brain. Fantasy, sure, but I like more sex in mine then they do. I've heard Mike Resnick say that you shouldn't reject yourself. Meaning that you shouldn't not submit something because you think they won't like it, but I also know that you have to submit to the right market in order to have a chance of selling. And I'm not so silly as to sit and try to pound a hexagonal peg into an oval hole.

We all talk about the New York market and the small presses and the micropresses and the ebooks, but Scott's post is about something that I've only ever heard mentioned one time before and it struck me as a profound truth. A Big-T "Truth". I took his post to mean that the home-town market, the immediate-family market and even the market of one are valid markets and should be recognized as such by authors in general; that it would save a lot of heartache if people could accurately identify their market.

This subject is near to my heart because I've had a difficult time finding my market. My historical has fantastical elements, and romantic elements, but not enough to be a fantasy or a paranormal and not enough to be a romance. It's too complex, it's too bloody, it's too historically accurate, it's too realistic, it's too implausible.... but - heck - it was fun to write. And I'm still enjoying the re-writing because I love the story and the world and the characters. But it has a folder full of 'rave rejections' (love your writing and your story but ...). It gets good scores in the contests, but a certain (unfortunately large) percent of people simply don't identify with the protag. I think that she's 'done right' because no one seems wishy-washy about it. I get a love or hate kind of response. But I think it's going to require a love-love response to sell that novel to a 'real' publisher and that would require a different story. So I keep writing, even if, at this point, I'm not sure where my market is.

No comments: