We all have stories inside us … but will people listen to them?

August 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

In addition to being an author, I also work as an editor. This can be both rewarding and frustrating. It’s rewarding because I can discover new books and marvel at the ingenuity of the writer. It’s frustrating because, even in the cases of those new discoveries, I usually read books when they’re at their worst – in need of a professional edit.
One of the more frustrating things is having to tell some people that finding a market for their book will be difficult. This is usually the case with biographies and memoirs. Many people feel, deservedly in many cases, that the story of their journey through life is something that will uplift others and help them in theirs, but the sad truth is, unless you’re famous or have some kind of following, most people won’t be interested, and therefore most publishers won’t be either.
Sometimes there’s hope for the story, especially if it has a historical setting, like World War II or details a struggle with a serious illness. Those kind of books do have a market that publishers can aim at, but the sad truth is, most of our stories will not be considered safe enough bets for a publisher to risk it.
It breaks my heart, especially if I can see the potential in the story, but it is a lot to ask a publisher to risk thousands of their dollars in setting up a book and marketing it in the hope of making sales, so I do understand why they are often reluctant to do it, but I think a lot of great stories are passed over because no one dares to take that risk.

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