Now, I should take heed, right? Be honored that an agent went out of their way to give me specific feedback? But to be honest, all I could think was ‘well, that’s a shame. If she liked my writing as much as she professed to and laughed out loud so much, she probably would’ve been pleasantly surprised, had she kept reading.’ Things like this remind me just how flawed the path to traditional publication can be.
But there’s only one customer in the whole lot.
And The Agent will only look at cars of a specific make, model and color. At this point, they’re not sure how much work a car needs or if it even runs. But they decide they’ll only take the metallic green BMWs for a test spin.
Out of the ten cars that perk their interest, two won’t start, three need serious work, four need some subtle reparations but could easily shine, and one is in tip-top condition.
But, didn’t I tell you? The agent has a very limited budget. And what they secretely hope is to find a brand-new model amongst all these used cars. A diamond in the rough. Something that will take them for miles and miles. In short- they’re looking for reasons not to buy one of these used ones, still holding out for that spanking-new dream car.
But even so, she takes five-out-of-those-ten cars for a test run.
Three don’t make it past the driveway. One has a funny smell. Another has a plush interior. The Agent wanted leather. The third....well the third’s seat just didn’t fit her ass the right way.
The model that’s in the best shape is driven all the way to the local Mcdonalds. The Agent orders a value meal. She eats in the car. She thinks this car might be okay! It runs well. Gets her where she wants to go. But then, on the way back to the dealership, she realizes it has a funny smell too. Kind of like fried onions. (hmn. Wonder why?) She passes.
The last car doesn’t run as well. It also has a smell, but it smells a little like vanilla and cinnamon. The interior is plush but, even though The Agent prefers leather, the seat fits her ass just right. In short, it’s not exactly what she wanted. It’s what she didn’t know she wanted- a car that gets her where she wants to go and is a joy to ride in.
So she takes the car. She repairs the car and takes it to a manufacturer/distributor and convinces them to have a thousand more models made just like it for the general public. Not because it runs the best. Or because it’s the shiniest or a lot of people will look at that car and think ‘Oh, I’d love to take that one for a spin!’. But, because she enjoyed being in the car. So she figures others will too. After all, she’s got a few editor friends who’s asses are shaped just the same way as hers.
But it won’t be the case for everyone. There were a lot of other colors, makes and models in that used-car lot that may never see the light of day. And if one-hundred avid drivers of BMW’s were allowed into the lot, instead of that one agent, maybe 75% would have preferred the blue metallic over the green or wouldn’t have pulled into that Mcdonalds and made the tip-top model smell like onions. Everyone is different. Yet, what is brought into the traditionally published world is based on the personal tastes of a privileged few.
And that, right there, is the tragic truth of the matter. *sigh*
There’s no doubt that the path to traditional publication is flawed and the huge burst in popularity of some self-published titles only proves this theory. Did you ever have a moment where ‘the flaw’ became abundantly, painfully clear and discouraging? Do you think, in light of recent developments in the publishing industry, things should change?