Eye of the Beholder


Here's Heidi, the new German sensation, a cross-eyed opossum. (AP Photo/dapd, Sebastian Willnow, File)Apparently, 111,000 Facebook fans think she's adorable. I find that puss freaky and wrong, but that's just my opinion, which matters not a whit to those who find themselves enraptured.

My point is, your writing project is a little like poor, ocularly-challenged Heidi. It really doesn't matter how many people don't get the appeal. All that matters is getting it into the mitts of those who really will.

That may mean lots of rejections. For the savvy writer (or her savvy and like-minded agent, if she's fortunate enough to have an ally in the business) it means carefully researching the tastes and needs of a targeted group of editors to find the one perfect match, the person who will champion your project and find the optimum way to get it to the reviewers and then the audience who will be inclined to look at it through lovers' goggles.

No one else's opinion matters. Because just as I'm never going to find Possum Heidi cute, there are those who will never "get" rap music, Stephen King-style horror, or the joy of Star Trek. All that's necessary for a project to succeed is the knowledge that there's a significant audience who will.

So keep the faith and keep on searching for the right connection, the one that will make that file or drawer or pickup bed full of rejection totally irrelevant.

Comments

Thank you for this. I think that was my main problem with grad school--there was never any discussion of audience; it was all about what the writer was trying to do and how he/she was pushing the boundaries of art. I found that really limiting, particularly the relentless insistence of only one paradigm. But you're right; what matters is finding YOUR audience, not trying to bend a work to meet the needs of someone else's.
Colleen said…
It's such a subjective business. All you have to do is look at the Amazon reviews of the last few books you've loved to realize that some folks will get a book and others simply won't. You can't convert the naysayers, just hang in there long enough for your audience to find you. There's definitely no one author and no one book that's for everyone, and I remind myself daily that it's not my task to create "that" story. Just the one that I really CAN write.
Jeanna Thornton said…
the next rejection letter i get...I am thinking of the cross-eyed possum! LOVE IT!!!!!

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