An author team and I just pulled the plug on submitting an awesome proposal that I was sure would sell.
The proposal was extremely well done. The sample chapters, wonderful. The topic (name withheld to protect the innocent) represents a life-changing issue for literally millions of couples in the US alone.
In fact, we had a great run at publishers, and lots of interest with editors pitching to editorial boards throughout the process, but the one element we couldn’t control decided our fate: the bookscan numbers on similar titles just weren’t good enough. As one editor said, “this is a big problem but not a big market.”
In fact, had I repped a book on this topic before I might have known that publishers were at their wits end. Here’s an important health issue with lots of potential readers but for some reasons these folks aren’t buying books.
I’m going to keep this proposal on my desk. Something might change. You never know when a surprise bestseller might re-ignite a category, or a TV show or movie might do the same trick, but for now it’s the most bittersweet moment: we did a great job, but we couldn’t sell the book.