Breaking Out of the Pack: Something Old, Something New
Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
How do you make an editor or agent notice your work? I think most of us realize that editors and agents are bombarded with ideas every day. So far this year, our agency has received several thousand queries and proposals, yes, thousands. So how do you break out of the pack to get noticed?
Often what we’re looking for is a project that springboards off of a tried-and-true idea but adds a new twist. For example, one of my clients did that very skillfully with what she called a “rollicking Regency.” She took the well-defined genre of a Regency romance and added lots of sassy spirit to the heroine, as well as a wonderful, tongue-in-cheek wit to the writing. Entitling the novel All the Tea in China, Jane Orcutt created a manuscript that readily snared editors and publishing committees. It was fresh, yet it wasn’t straddling genres or taking some Grand Canyon leap that sales reps wouldn’t even know how to describe.
What Jane did was masterful. And the book sold with nice energy. Sadly, Jane died shortly after writing the book; so she wasn’t able to continue the series this book launched. And just to show how good she was, our agency tried hard to find someone who could continue the series in the spirit and with the verve that Jane began it, but no such person could be found.
Consider how you can take a perennial idea and make it new–but readily recognizable. It could lead to your breaking out from the pack.
Can you think of other books that set the writing course for their writers?