Saturday, November 13, 2010

a reminder on personal tastes

One reason for rejections that I've seen discussed (and maybe received one or two) is a matter of personal taste. This doesn't always mean the writing was necessarily bad, but that it just didn't appeal to the reader. I thought about this the other morning after I finished up a kind of futuristic...thriller (if thriller was the right word). I had two friends who loved it and another who didn't really care for it. So where did I fall?

I didn't really care for it. But here's the thing, I don't think there was anything the author could have done to change that. The characters had real motivations, the writing was smooth and the plot was fully developed. But it just didn't appeal to me. I can't pinpoint anything wrong with it that I didn't like, just that I didn't really like it. Is it something that I can recommend to a friend? Mmm...maybe. If I really knew their tastes and knew it was in line with that. But can I go around with a blanket recommendation that I would do with a book that I absolutely loved?

When a rejection comes along and it's not suited to that agent's particular taste, or s/he couldn't get behind it passionately to sell it, just remember. It's not personal. It's personal taste. What appeals to my friend doesn't always appeal to me. And after all, isn't that what makes all of us a little more interesting?

Of course, I will say that having said all that, it's still important to try things outside the comfort zone. Who knows? I might have loved this book. There have been other books I've been skeptical about and then once I read them, wanted to go around and recommend them to everyone I knew. And then I want to read other, similar books. And then not to sound cliche (ok, maybe a little), but I've broadened my horizons. 

It was a nice little reminder to have.

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