09 July 2011

You can't please everybody

Working at a hotel has offered me a plethora of great insights, but the most notable, and probably writing-applicable, is this: you simply cannot please everybody.

I know this is a tried and true statement of the writing world. For instance, a lot of you reeeeeeeeeeeeally like Duality and I've gotten a lot of "I don't usually read science fiction but this sounds interesting" comments, but so far I'm up to 17 rejections out of 22 queries. That being typed, it occurred to me this morning that someone will say yes, if all the planets are in alignment and I wish upon enough stars.

No one's book is for everybody, just like no hotel is for everybody. It shouldn't be (except mine, on both accounts ;).) If you write to please everyone else, then you're not pleasing yourself. If you write to please yourself, then you'll alienate some people, but there will be others who enjoy/fall in love with/obsess over/create fanfiction for your book. And there will be those who disparage it for one reason or another, don't like it, etc. And those are the people we ignore :-D

But seriously. You can pick pretty much every book in existence from the Bible to Twilight to whatever, and I guarantee you'll find at least one person who does not like that book, even though it might be a bestseller or the greatest book ever written EVER. Like hotels, everyone's experience with a book is different. I'm not a huge fan of present tense, but I have found books that I enjoy in present tense. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary, but I cried like a baby when I read My Sister's Keeper. Experiences color our perceptions. Maybe an agent you're querying had a bad experience with a book similar to yours and didn't want to chance it. Maybe something about your writing style just didn't appeal to them. There are some people who refuse to stay in anything but Hiltons. There are people who refuse to stay in Hiltons. It's all a matter of preference.

So don't get terribly discouraged if you get a rejection. (I really need to take my own advice.) Don't give up. There may come a time when you need to trunk your novel, and you'll know it. But don't do it until you've exhausted every avenue. Trends fluctuate, minds change, attitudes matter--theirs and yours.


Jack LaBloom said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, Lexcade.

Working at a hotel has given you great insight, and most likely many other tools you will use in your writing career.

The last three years of high school I worked for a small town weekly newspaper everyday after school and on Saturday mornings. I though nothing would ever come of my experience of setting type. More modern methods had obsoleted what I was doing. But it came in handy years later when I was negotiating a contract with a guy sitting across the table from me. Apparently he had no idea that people who set type can read upside down and backwards as easily as he could read what he had written as his top offer.

lexcade said...

*I love that there's a Hampton ad at the bottom of this page*

Thanks for your comment, Jack! I'm so glad you enjoy my inane ramblings and attempts at insight ;)

Reading upside down AND backwards? That's impressive. What happened with that guy???

Mandie Baxter said...

Very well said! I've been feeling the same thing lately. I've come to the conclusion that I've got to write what I want to read and hope someone else likes the same thing I do! And hey, I'm a HUGE sci-fi fan! :)

lexcade said...

I'll be rereading this post religiously when the next few Rs come in... Smaller presses or indie presses will probably be where Duality lands, and I'm totally cool with that :)

We really do have to write what we want to read, because that's where our passion is, and regardless of genre, passion is really what sells books.

Anonymous said...

So don't try to please everybody. Just me :)