I Wrote a Book Because Everything Else is Crap
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 14 2022
I didn’t, but apparently, many authors do because I get some variation of that line pretty regularly in query letters.
I don’t auto-reject many things. Memoirs, because I don’t represent memoirs, children’s books including YA for the same reason. People who think everything published is crap.
Anyone who wants to disparage all books in the industry or a genre doesn’t belong in the industry. You can have strong opinions about publishing and the state of publishing. You should have strong opinions about any profession. Change isn’t made without them, but to believe that no author in a given genre has ever written a good book is, well, crap.
When you enter the world of publishing we want to build a career with you. That means we want you to come in with a desire to write great books and make change through those books, but we also want you to respect all those who came before and paved the path you want to walk on. Well maybe not all, but you know what I mean.
I respect everything about the work authors do, even if I don’t love all the books or respect the authors themselves. I couldn’t be in this business if I didn’t. I wouldn’t want to be in this business if I didn’t.
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Gosh, has the comment field been here since the website update? I’ve been reading but thought commenting had been removed (thinking I must be a doofus!).
My thought exactly. Don’t bad-mouth the people who have paved the way before us, may end up a stable-mate at an agency or publisher or may even be repped by the very agent you are querying. Manners shouldn’t disappear just because the computer screen acts as an interface.
I just came upon your agency’s site and blog and am finding your tips, author profiles, and encouraging guidance so entertaining and inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to share all of this.
Every book written has an audience! Though it is true that some audiences are bigger (and therefore more profitable) than others. I don’t disrespect other authors or their work, because that would be disrespecting their audiences, saying they have “bad taste” just because their tastes don’t match mine. And that’s just plain wrong.
That said, though, I do believe I write to fill a hole in what’s available to readers nowadays. Something like 70% of people who buy YA are over 30 (some estimates are even higher) and there’s a reason for that! It’s because adults want magic and adventure in their lives, too, but they don’t enjoy reading stories full of violence, darkness, and dismay, which is what stories targeted toward adults are all but required to portray these days.
I’m not disparaging the people who like that edgy kind of stuff. Whatever you enjoy, that’s legit! I’m just saying that people who do not enjoy that kind of stuff should not be shunted to the Children’s Section of the bookstore. That, frankly, is insulting!
We are not children just because we refuse to believe that being an “adult” means life is now, and permanently, dismal and devoid of any magic (at least, devoid of magic that does not want to kill us in as horrible a way possible.) These people are my tribe, and I write for them. And there are a LOT of us! That’s why my protagonists are all over 30 (WELL over 30, in most cases!) I refuse to believe I’m too old, or was just born too late, to stumble into magic and adventure at any moment, around any corner of my boring, modern-day US town. And I continue to hold out hope that my work will find these people someday, and that, once this large (I believe) market is discovered, other authors will begin to write more material for us, too.