I don’t usually do this, but I would like to pose a question to the public.
I’m sitting at my desk sifting through the never ending slush pile. Most of the cover letters are quite standard (which is good), but some state that they are willing to change their book to match whatever the current selling trends are at the moment. In theory, this isn’t bad. I would assume that most publishers would be more than happy to work with authors who aren’t precious about their manuscripts and who are willing to make adjustments to their work. But why would a publisher take on a book that needs a complete overhaul? Instead, I assume they would pass over that author and contract a writer whose piece is already suitable for the market.
So, where does this leave the unpublished novelist trying to break into the market?
After spending a month sifting through unpublished (and often unpublishable) material, my answer to this question is, just write what you want and then hope you can sell it to a publishing company that will put it in an appropriate market.
This may seem obvious, but I have come across a number of cover letters that suggest the author is only writing with the hopes of becoming the next John Grisham/James Lee Burke/Stephenie Meyer/Dan Brown. Whereas the manuscripts that have gone into my ‘maybe’ pile (and one ‘yes’), seem to write for other more altruistic reasons.
Here is my question to the public: Why should someone write a novel?
Please be honest, as I’d love to see all sides of the argument.