I hope you gave him a wedgie

Miss Snark,

I've written a mystery about a child that is abducted - she is rescued in the end. Recently, I was given critiques from several writers - one of them suggested that the subject matter is too tough of a sell. What is your opinion on this (other than if it is perfectly written it will sell)?

What the hell does your writer friend know about selling? If she's published she either sold it herself so her opinion is drawn from her own limited experience, OR her agent sold it and your friend didn't even do that much selling.

And if she's not published, her opinion is based on her own difficulty getting something published.

She's probably basing her opinion on something she's read or heard: the publishing industry is FAMOUS for agents and editors bemoaning the state of the industry.

I've ranted about this before, here it is again: be choosy who you listen to. Your writer friends mostly don't know much about selling work to publishers; Miss Snark on the other hand doesn't know much about character development (and you can take that any way you want to).

Anyone who says "this subject matter is overused" is offering an opinion. Opinions, unless you are a judge, don't have the force of law.

And really, everything is a tough sell.

Write well.
Focus on that.


Mel said...

Thank you - it's what I thought. As new writers, we get so many opinions that one could write their stories inside out and backwards if they were all followed.

The idea that a child abduction was touchy these days was difficult to swallow, but I needed to hear it first hand. I appreciate the response.

I figured, as you confirmed, it all comes down to the quality of the writing.

Thanks again for your time!

ORION said...

Believe in yourself above all else. Then listen to Miss Snark.
Listen well.

Anonymous said...

A mystery about a child abduction is definitely do-able : www.katherinehowell.com

Dave Fragments said...

Not that I want to create excuses for someone I don't know and thus, have no way of knowing what was in their mind, but...

There are themes that individual agents won't touch and reject out of hand. In that case, you have to submit queries until you find an agent who will work with the novel and sell it.

It's like an agent saying "I don't do sci-fi" or "I don't do westerns." In that case, you find another agent who does represent it.

And one last thought, When Nabokov handed his agent "Lolita" how many of us think that the agent jumped several feet into the air in violation of the laws of gravity? Or that the agent's eyes popped out of his head like those silly cartoon characters on NICK?

abbagirl said...

the lesson i glean from this is that if one receives bad advice from a fellow writer who obviously doesn't know what s/he's talking about, then it's okay to give said fellow writer a wedgie. is that right?

to think -- i've been holding back on giving wedgies to deserving folk.

Chris Eldin said...

I went to a writer's conference last summer, where an author talked about her book about molestation. The MC was a child who was molested by her father; the father was jailed and later released, and the girl had to confront him. It's in the YA category.

I agree with Miss Snark.

Good luck with your manuscript.

Anonymous said...

Read Barbara Gowdy's HELPLESS. IT tackles child abduction--my very WORST fear--and I could not put it down. It hit many bestseller lists.

Poodle Girl