For the past 18 months, I’ve been trying to wrack my brain as to why I can’t sell a fantasy book series (the only thing I’m not doing in the world of mental health) to an agent or publisher, despite moderate levels of interest...
After reading a series of blog posts by a literary agent specializing in the kind of book I’m selling, I realized: both the title of my book and the name of the title character are crap. They don’t accurately describe my expertise in writing the book, nor do they include the entire market I’m trying to sell to.
While working to sell this series, I knew that my test readers aged 7-70 all loved the book and all could articulate why. I knew and know now that the book would work and relied on the fact that nearly 40 test subjects loved it, and figured that on those merits alone, I could sell this book as-is.
I was dead wrong and after some soul searching, I have proof of having made this mistake on previous occasions with a book I wrote that is already in the public canon (that has done pretty well), a business I started with some friends (that flopped), and a play that I wrote (that has done really well). The content was great on all but the title sucked. And in all of these cases, if I chose a to look at the overall product in a different way, I would have chosen a better title, and therefore I would have had greater commercial success.
Changing the way we look at things can dramatically impact the way we approach our personal relationships, our business lives, our mental health, and anything and everything in between.
I’m approaching next steps with this book, my mental health, and several personal relationships by asking “what am I not seeing,” and “what connotation am I putting on X that is or isn’t true.”
What are some other questions we can ask of ourselves to create more desirable outcomes in our world(s)?