Monday, January 09, 2023

"I really hate Jack Reacher"

All of us have preferences.  I'm not keen on medical mysteries. I'm not all that keen on atmospheric, gothic novels. And I'm just not the right person for serial killer novels.


But there are a LOT of people who love those kinds of books.

And buy them.


And the authors of those books enjoy a lovely career.


Which means even if you don't like a certain kind of book, you absolutely positively do NOT want to include that in a query letter.


No Matter What.


And particularly if you aren't keen on books that sit at the top of the bestseller lists and sell zillions of copies.


You don't have to like those books, but keep your lip zipped.




Cause the agent you're writing to may well love those books.


But more important, a query letter is NOT about you. It's about your book.  Focus on persuading me that your book is exactly what I want to read right this very minute.


And, you're missing the bigger picture. You might not like Jack Reacher but you're better off analyzing why a lot of people do, than you are grumping around your lair complaining.  Understanding reader taste is smart. (Which is exactly what Lee Child did when he set out to write Reacher.)


And honestly, publishing is a small, clubby world. The last think you want to do as you join this world is give off hostile vibes.


Nice, friendly sharkly vibes!





NLiu said...

Did someone say... atmospheric gothic novels?
*side eyes the Reef*
*cracks open secret popcorn*

nightsmusic said...

I sometimes wonder if writers who say they 'hate' a specific character like Reacher don't hate the character as much as they're simply jealous of the success the author of that character has achieved and wouldn't say that if they had even a modicum of success with their own novels. But that's just me. I'm not a fan of first person regardless of the genre, but there are some I've read and really enjoyed though that's for me to know and not a prospective agent to learn in a query. What good does that information do for the agent?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I suspect that some of this is a kind of envy. I have been guilty of myself. Author makes a gazillion off something that seems so silly to me and nobody likes my weird, brilliant ideas. It burns. How it burns. Best to just keep it to yourself and keep poking with your own work until someone responds positively.

Only takes one yes, right? Although I am beginning to doubt. Seriously doubt. I think this tiny, small publishing community just hates me. Maybe it's personal. Hard not to take it that way I guess. Don't mind's Monday. I'm tired.

S.D.King said...

"grumping around your lair complaining" Ha! I love that image!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Telling someone in the writing-world that you don't like such-and-such or so-and-so is like a hungry man telling the Italian chef his sauce tastes like ketchup or the virgin-bride telling the groom he's lousy in bed.

Craig F said...

I still can't figure out how to get any extraneous stuff into a query. It takes all of my approximately 250 words to try to get a clear vision of my story arc on the page.

Hell, just the explanation of an atmospheric gothic novel takes half of it.

Donnaeve said...

Someone in the writing world recently wrote a (what I call) self-serving essay on why 2023 is the year to forget Colleen Hoover. Yikes. They need to wrangle the green monster, and quickly.