Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Believing In Yourself(aka - Agents and Publishers Don't Know Everything)

I recently read a story about a young woman named Regina Sirois.  Regina was a fledgling author who wrote a story called On Little Wings.  It's a young adult story about a girl whose life gets turned upside down by a family photo she never knew existed.

As any writer does when he or she completes a story, Regina was quite proud of what she'd written, and she sent it to a few literary agents.  The replies she got, when she got them, were full of stuff about how the story was "too intelligent" for the target audience and how there was no way teenagers would ever want to pick it up.  These gatekeepers, the ones who ignored Fifty Shades of Grey until it sold tons of copies without them, as well as Wool until it started flying off the shelves, thought there was no market and they couldn't be bothered with her trifling little story.

Then something funny happened - the market started replying in its own way.

Regina uploaded her book to Amazon, mostly hoping that a few of her friends would be interested in downloading it.  Much to her surprise, 85,000 people took advantage of the free giveaway, and it kept on going after she put a modest price tag on it.  She eventually won Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award, and it was off to the races.

Regina seems immensely grateful for those that have enjoyed her work.  She's also chosen a path afterwards that I'm sure every author dreams about at some point, but with which I no longer agree - she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group.  Congratulations to Regina on her hard earned success.

The larger lesson here is that agents and publishers don't really know more about what will and won't sell than you or I do.  Sure, they'll throw up a good game about it, but when they're not buying such incredibly bad books like Pregnesia or Modelland, you realize that they're mostly full of shit.  It's only their access to the gate that gives people the illusion that they know more than we do.

However, in the past few years, the indie market has brought forward works that would have never seen the light of day, no matter how good they were.  Yes, we're still subject to some stinkers, but we, as consumers, now have greater choice in filtering those things out.  It's gratifying to see that the doors are open more and more to talent rather than just who you know.  Regina's story is good evidence of that, and I know there are more out there.

No comments:

Post a Comment