We had a guest speaker at our Writers Group this week. Alan Mahar - Publishing Director of Tindal Street Press gave a fascinating talk from a publishers point of view, covering how they got started as a company and hints and tips on what they are looking for.
I found his question and answer section very useful. He even covered one of my burning questions - What is commercial fiction?
My novel is constantly getting rejected for not being commercial enough. From all of my rejections I have received great feedback about it being well written, my writing style and that they have enjoyed what they have read but I have obviously chosen a subject that won't sell - or will it?
Tindal Street Press concentrate on writers from the West Midlands, with strong themes set around that particular area. They have enjoyed great success to date with many writers winning major awards or being short listed for them such as the Booker, Costa First Book Award and Orange Prize.
Alan made a great point about how an editor and the rest of the team all have to be passionate with the whole thing, not just like a story, but believe that everyone else will too. He also said that it is difficult if you are trying to break into the top London publishers, especially if your novel is set in a regional area as mine is.
At first I felt a little dis-heartened as I can't change my story or the genre to make it any more 'Commercial'. I truly believe that my characters are fixed and so is the setting, I don't think it would work if it was set anywhere else, even though as he said it, I started to day dream about my novel being set in London or Glasgow but talked myself out of exploring that idea any further.
However, what I can do is to keep on sending it out until I find a publisher who does believe in it. Every one of those editors out there have different feelings and views, I guess I just have to keep searching for one that feels the same as I do.