Here are 10 actual reasons why some of the big publishers have said no to this book--and why they may say no to yours as well:
- "Great idea but too narrow of a focus for us."
- "Too much competition in the category."
- "Despite the need for the book, too hard to reach the target audience."
- "Not enough of an expansive platform for us to break the book out of a crowded category."
- "Not right for our house."
- "With all the books on the market in this category, I don't have the confidence or vision to champion this one."
- "It sounds great, but we've struggled a great deal with books on this topic. As much as I'd like to consider this, I know it would be very difficult for us."
- "Too small [audience] for me."
- "I'm going to pass--I don't feel strongly enough about it."
- "Overlaps in different ways with other books on our list."
Note the variety of responses, many of which would be impossible for my client and me to predict--at least until we pitched the book. But I'm not discouraged yet--a number of publishers have expressed interest and are considering the proposal now. For every "no" we get, I remind myself that it only takes one "yes" to get a book deal. I think we will get a yes--and I'll let you know when we do so.
Readers, what about you? If you've pitched a book to traditional publishers and it didn't sell, what reason(s) were you given? I'd love to hear them here.