Some Opinions May Kill
If you are with a mainstream publisher, no matter whether they are one of the so-called big six houses or a small press, your future hangs on the opinion of just one person, maybe two if you use an agent.
As the writer, you come up with the idea for a story and spend months, years even, writing it. Very occasionally you know that with a specific story you are onto a winner. However, if your agent and/or your editor do not like it, they won’t publish it.
The rubbish bins of many an editor’s desk are full to overflowing with rejected manuscripts; the same can be said for literary agents as well, all as a result of their personal opinion. Wait, I hear you cry. They are in the industry and know what sells, so how can you make such a scathing statement? Simple – they are human.
Therefore their own particular tastes will colour their decisions. An editor should do just that – edit, not decide its future, while an agent should sell your manuscript and nothing else.
By all means employ an editor to polish your work, or failing that, get beta-readers to read it through.
While it is true that many excellently written indie-published books will be lucky to sell more than a couple of dozen copies, occasionally one or two will break the mould. If you genuinely believe that you have a winner sitting on your computer – be brave. Stand up for your story; defend it to the hilt when the so-called experts tell you it is a load of rubbish.
The sales figures of my latest novel fully vindicate my own decision to independently publish. If a story appeals, it will be taken up by the reading public, despite what the experts may say about it.