Quite a few of my recent rejections stated that I felt the book was “too quiet,” something we also get a lot from editors. Well I do. I tend to have a soft spot for the quiet book.
But what exactly is “too quiet” and what can an author do to remedy this?
Books that are considered too quiet are often beautifully written, sometimes with compelling characters, but oftentimes with a plot that feels nice, but not “wow.” A too-quiet book doesn’t usually have a killer hook.
In truth, a book that’s considered too quiet is a book the editor or agent has a hard time seeing how to market. There are so many lovely things about it, but not something that gives it that oomph that will help find it a spot among the competition.
It’s a book we might have thought was nice to read, but also didn’t miss it once we put it down. It wasn’t a book we wanted to tell our friends and family about or felt compelled to fight for at work.
The hard thing about publishing is that it’s not just about writing a really lovely book. We need to find a way to get the reader to come to the book in the first place. We need a hook or an idea we can create a package around and grab a reader’s attention with.
Too Quiet Isn’t so Bad
The fact is a too quiet book isn’t really a bad thing. It means that there was a ton to recommend the book. A ton that appealed to the reader. That your writing is likely there. Now you need to find an idea to make it a package no one can resist.