Sure, but if you have a book you know has readers and has attention and the potential to actually do somthing a tad new but play on things that are tried and true… why should that book be condemned to never get published? I personally didn’t write a risky book for the sake of writing a risky book I wrote what I was inspired to write and thought needed to be written. So in theory you’re claiming that if something is worth self publishing it might be worth traditional publishing But many chose self publishing because they have elements they know won’t get past publishers. I’m just saying the traditional publishing industry is more risk averse . I do believe that is the case
Guess I’m just saying there’s a big in between when it comes to books One thinks “ will fail “ and books that might make a big splash but also could crash. And the industry is picky Only taking those risks if the publisher knows the author already. At least that’s what I see
I’m willing to write the story I want to write. If no one wants to read it because it has a high school shooting, so be it. And hopefully it won’t attract the sickos who think a high school shooting is a good thing.
But I don’t write for the masses. If the book catches on and it becomes a bestseller, great. If it is read by a few who enjoy my stories, that’s good too. I don’t do this to make a living writing. I’m past that stage in life. I do it to be creative and tell the story that inspires me to write it.
If that were the case, there would be no debut authors…and that’s not the case. The publishers need “fresh blood” so they sign new authors each catalog season even in those periods where their existing authors have books coming out.
Thats not what i was implying/saying. I said they were less likley to take RISKS with new authors (content for example). Of course any debut pub is a risk already so that makes sense but it doesnt really change what i observe. People will often say “sell a first book and THeN you might be able to sell the other if it does well” ( ie one that might be a hard sell with length or subject matter). I mean thats a super long shot too for sure, but do you not think that factors in at all?
Fair enough, but i do personally want to traditionally publish. That doesnt mean im willing to just ignore the subject matter i like writing. And i tend to skew dark. If that means its harder for me, so be it. But im not ready to give up. If not this book, maybe the next will eek through? Idk i have to write it😅
Yeah… I was just thinking the same thing. My story has marital rape as a pretty important aspect of the narrative and of the heroine’s character arch, and if trad publishers are going to automatically shy away from that, maybe self-publishing is the way to go…
What “factors in” is writing a book that really blows an agent or editor away. If your writing is just so-so, then it’ll struggle, and having things “going against it” (like a niche audience, or using taboos) will give it the death blow. But if you write the" killer book", then you can get away with breaking the “traditional rules” because…well…“killer book.”
I write traditional epic fantasy and I came out during the height of the “grimdark” craze. It SHOULDN’T have been picked up because it’s mood was light and funny and optimistic, but the writing was strong enough for my publishers to “give it a shot.” It paid off for both of us, but it had a lot of checkboxes in the “not what the market wants” column.
Again, it depends on the strength of the writing. If the writing is strong and the story is compelling, the fact you’ve hit on a taboo subject won’t matter. It’s only if you are so-so that it’ll come into issue.
I think the tone of Riyria was a huge plus (not for the editors, but for the readers). I’m firmly in the camp that editors and trad pub have been really, really wrong about what most fantasy readers wanted . . . they thought up until very recently it was grimdark (I think the success of Kings of the Wyld and the tremendous flops of the 2017 grimdark titles with big advances and marketing push finally woke them up). IMO grimdark has a dedicated readership but it wasn’t like the people who read Feist and Brooks and Jordan just migrated en masse . . . they were still there re-reading their favorites because fantasy had turned so brutal and dark. Your series was a breath of fresh air. They should have known grimdark was not the way to go when the biggest fantasy sellers are Sanderson and Rothfuss and Lynch (and Martin) titles from over a decade ago that are decidedly not grimdark (well, Martin is close).
I mean yes… but there is still the whole risk factor. The last agent who rejected my book literally said it was everything she wanted and thought should be out there but that she didnt think she could get it past editors for content. Some agents/editors/publishers ARE more willing to take the risk than others. Clearly you found someone who would with your work. Others prob rejected. It might be true that a good book can ultimately find its fit, but that might be after 100+ rejections. Thats not the book really. Thats a question of how much the author is willing to keep trying. JK Rowling is a perfect example. The book was what it was. Some saw that as untenable in the market, one took the risk. Is it the best book ever written? No. Did it change a whole genre? Yes! A lot of this stuff IS very subjective and it just takes the right fit to launch a success ( as clearly you have found)
Not fighting btw. I just think this idea that a book has to be stellar to sell is something we all know. THat doesn’t mean that all stellar books will find an agent. It doesnt mean they cant do well with self publishing. It doesnt mean that the first 30 rejections were just not the right fit and that the right agent inst out there. Im just saying that subjectivity and risk aversion does indeed play a role in trad publishing
Sorry just noticed this comment… thats actually not true. For some agents and editors there ARE topics they will not touch. Idk if marital rape qualifies but its certainly harder to get certain subjects into publishing regardless of the writing. To imply that its only writing that dictates success is just not accurate. They might read the first pages and be all in, but that doesnt change the fact that if they think the story is a hard sell content wise they still very well might reject. Agents need somthing they are certain they can sell. The riskier the content the less likelihood they can do so easily. It is indeed a factor
Hey thanks. And I hope so. There are certainly signs that the grimdark phase is waining. I’d be up for that (since I like my fantasy to be well fantastical not depressing.
“Gone With The Wind” has marital rape, in the book and movie. It’s all in how you present it.
“Gone with the Wind” presented marital rape as no big deal… at least in the movie it did. Though, I guess so did a million other published romance novels, so maybe you have a point there.
I’m not saying GWTW has the ideal treatment of marital rape, only that its inclusion of it didn’t preclude its publication nor sales. So perhaps the issue isn’t that your book has it, but that it negatively affects the rest of the book for some reason…
Are the marital rape scene(s) discordant with the rest of the book’s tone? Do you present the trauma before the reader is emotionally invested in the characters? Is it adequately countered by something positive (like a new consensual relationship, or even just the wife’s ability to enjoy something unrelated to sex), or does the tone remain nihilist to the end?
I mean, how does this element work in context?
I mean, I haven’t tried to publish it yet, so I don’t know if if negatively affects the rest of the book. I’m just saying that if mere mention of it is enough to disqualify a book for publication, then mine is disqualified for sure.
The rest of the book’s tone is pretty dark, so I don’t think it’s discordant at all. The trauma doesn’t occur until about the middle of the book. There is a healthy, happy consensual relationship that offsets the abusive one. And though the MC does fall into despair at one point, some of the supporting characters offer a lot of words of hope and encouragement, speaking from their own experiences of trauma that they were able to overcome.
As far as context, I think it works as well. It’s actually vital to the plot, not just something thrown in there for the sake of drama or to make the bad guy look more bad. One of the underlying themes of the novel as a whole is about a woman establishing her sexual autonomy, having it taken away from her, and then her taking it back.
FYI, conversation is not story. Only actions in the here and now (or actual scenes of flashback) are part of the story. Talk is cheap.
So when the reader weighs it like that (perhaps even with eyes glazed over, just scanning until the quotation marks stop and the story resumes), MC’s despair isn’t really mitigated at all. Friends always make sympathetic murmurings when stuff happens, but it takes internal progress – maybe even a revelation – to truly move on from trauma.
The words of encouragement aren’t intended to do anything to alleviate the trauma. The trauma isn’t alleviated at all by the end of the first book and becomes the focal point during the second book after she has escaped the abusive relationship. The words of encouragement occur during a conversation which results in revelation which spurs the protagonist to do something that moves the plot along. I was just using them as an example of something that offsets the nihilist tone.