Your book deal breaker: What element of your book would you refuse to change?

Whether it’s a relationship, a job offer or a book deal, there are certain issues we may not want to compromise on. There are normally issues that we can work together on – change them a smidge – allowing us to walk away from negotiations with a smile on our dial.  But is there one issue – one absolute issue – that you would refuse to negotiate on?

In a relationship, marriage, sisterhood, partnership, fellowship, broship, froship- whatever you want to call it-  we sail along through our honeymoon period believing that nothing will rock the boat. But as we sail out of the hallucinogenic-inducing fog that addles our brain with irrational expectations and false promises, we move into the choppier, eye-opening seas of realism that seem to stretch into an infinite distance. Things are going to get rough, and unless we steady ourselves, the ride is going to be long and painful.

Often we can compromise to settle the waters: I’ll nag you less if you stop doing stupid things etc etc. But there is often a point where we say, “Okay, I won’t sweat the small stuff, but for this, I won’t budge.” The deal breaker could be a hobby, your family, having four cats…Either way, a deal breaker is by nature, non-negotiable.  If you want to start playing around with my deal breaker, then I’ll start playing around with ways to break this partnership. I have to work around that issue knowing that the other party has made sacrifices, has compromised, for so many other issues. It’s a theory, anyway. There’s loads of advice on relationships and communication and there’s loads of advice on writing. Some of it you screw your nose at and some hits home. And from what I’ve learned, it hits home for a reason. Somewhere that notion was hiding, and it took that exact piece of information to coax it out. Like when you can be told 100 times from the same person to do something, but the right person can tell you once and it all suddenly makes sense.

So, onto playing ‘fantasy’ publishing and deal breakers. We hear of writers being told to take back their MS and make the MC younger so it fits the YA mold, to add more sex because that’s what this particular market wants, to meet the requirements of readers by introducing a purple-dyed sheep on page 62.  I’m listening. I’m learning. You know more than me. Throw it at me. But is there one thing – one absolute thing – that I would say no to?

Seeing that this is ‘fantasy’ publishing, I am of course assuming that this is a game and not reality. We know that flexibility might be left to yoga instructors and gymnasts if a book deal became a reality. But if this were a game, what wouldn’t I negotiate on? Probably adding explicit sexual content even though the MC’s age technically places her in the new adult age group. But to quote Manuel from “Fawlty Towers’,  “I know nothing.”

John Cleese : Please, please try to understand before one of us dies. hehe

I don’t know how to market a book or what sells. I’ve a read a lot of books and know what I like. And like most people, I’ve written what I’m comfortable with, with the elements of that genre that I love. I could up the angst, dial down the sarcasm, but would I be willing to change the whole tone of the book?





10 thoughts on “Your book deal breaker: What element of your book would you refuse to change?

  1. My deal breaker would be similar to yours, explicit sex and language. I don’t see the need for either. If your writing is good, It’s unnecessary.

    • Yeah, I don’t believe it’s necessary. And I have to remember that I’m not pitching my book as romance, so the the requirements for romance that I read about, don’t apply to me. I did add some swearing, but it felt like I was writing in Caps Lock and it didn’t feel right. I think you can convey emotion and tension without going extreme.

  2. I’d need to feel okay about a change of tone before taking such drastic action. Editors have their opinions. It doesn’t mean they’re right. And it’s your story.

    • I really don’t believe I would consider changing the tone, unless it could be shown that I have no idea at all and miss the mark completely – and I don’t think this is the case. I really don’t think I could…

  3. personally, I’m for writing what moves you, but writing it the absolute best you can. And then run it by your writers group or beta readers. Then make it better. Then get it edited by a professional you can trust. And stand by your story.

    • I thikn I still stand by my story. I understand that any product/book has to be marketable, but I don;t think I’m way off the mark. I also stand by my deal breaker. I think if I try to write outside my strengths as a novice, I will jeapodise my project and my integrity :S

  4. I would definitely wait it out and keep trying other publishers. I do also agree that it’s your story. I am not sure that I could change my book, but so far I can’t get anyone to like it enough to comment, ha ha. I say hang in there!

    • I’m not sure how much they even read, to be honest. Some say, that if they don’t like your query/cover letter, or even the first page of your MS, then they won’t even get to your synpopsis ( which I thought would be my selling point ). It’s interesting, though, to think what you would do if someone did come back to you and say, ” We like it, but..”

    • And that’s the thing, too. There’s romance and there’s romance they way romance readers want it done. I don’t mind a little bit, but I can’t have the angst dominating the book :S

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