Thursday, October 7, 2010

Publishing Subjectivity the Retail Way

Currently reading - Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni P. L. Kelner

Today, Jessica Faust had an interesting post in the subject of subjectivity.  Go take a look.  I'll wait.


Now we can argue about salability versus "loving" the manuscript until we're blue.  Or I can point out the similarities to other retail goods.

I work as a sales clerk in a retail gift shop.  Our shop carries two brands of candles.  Brand Y uses petroleum-based paraffin wax with cotton-only wicks and natural oils for scent.  Brand Z uses soy wax with a cotton and metal wick and artificial scents.  Both products perform exactly as advertised.  And yes, we can debate renewability of resources, carbon footprints, etc.

But which brand of candle am I going to recommend to my customers?  The one that doesn't make me sneeze every two seconds!  Can I sell the other candle?  Yes, I can, but the first thing out of my mouth when a customer asks my opinion on the other candle is, "Do you have allergies?"

That's personal preference, folks.


  1. I'm more with Dean Wesley Smith on this. The whole "But I have to love!! it!" thing with agents is more akin to a mechanic refusing to work on a car he doesn't Love!! Look, it's a job, a writer wants to hire you to do it. Do you want the work or don't you?

    If you buy into the Gotta Love It! thing, that leads to agents refusing to take books in other subgenres or genres that their current clients might write (because they don't Love! those kinds of books), or trying to influence what their clients write, or actually thinking they can forbid their client from writing a certain kind of book.

    Oh, wait, there are already agents who think that. :P

    It's a job. An agent is an employee hired by a writer. That employee is either willing to do their job or they're not. If not, you fire them and find someone who wants the work. In this economy, especially, it's boggling to me that there are people -- freelancers -- who'll turn down work. But hey, that's up to them. I'm not interested in having an agent, but if I were, I wouldn't want one like that, so having that kind of agent turn me down would be a win/win situation. [wry smile]


  2. Well, I think it's like any other job. In an ideal world, they'd love to LOVE any manuscript they represent. And maybe they love romantic comedies, but romantic comedies aren't selling so easily and agents have bills to pay, just like the rest of us.

    So this paranormal YA comes along that reads well, although it would never be this agent's favorite book... Should she spend her limited time beating her head against the wall for an unpublished romantic comedy writer she loves, or take on an unpublished paranormal YA author she's sure she can sell in a matter of days and make several times the money off of?

    Story love can go right out the window when the bills start rolling in, I would think. In fact, I'm not writing my most favorite subgenre right now, but I love it when the checks come.