Monday, August 24, 2009
My Son Is Picky!
But he finally chose these. And I never, ever, ever want to take him shoe shopping again! Last week, I decided my youngest son needed new tennis shoes. I figured it would take an hour, maybe two, right? WRONG! As we were backing out of the driveway, he informed me that he wanted either all black or all white shoes. I cringed at the thought of all white, knowing they would be all brown within a week, but all black was doable, so I agreed. At the first store, he narrowed his choices down to two pairs. I narrowed it down to one after I pointed out that I would not spend more than fifty dollars on a pair of tennis shoes for an eleven-year-old. He narrowed it down to none when his size 6 foot wouldn't fit into a size 5 shoe. At the second store, there were several choices, and we had a very helpful salesman who probably hated us by the time we left an hour and a half later. Every shoe my son tried on had a problem--it makes my foot look too big; it hurts my pinkie toe; it hurts my heel; it looks stupid...etc. I decided to give up for the day and try over the weekend, but as I passed by a small sporting goods store, I thought, Why not give it a try? Well, low and behold, he found the perfect pair of shoes. They aren't all black, and they aren't all white, and they will be all brown in a matter of days, but he was happy, and so was I. It made me think about an agent searching for the perfect manuscript to represent in the mass of many. She starts out with a preconceived notion of what she's looking for, and when she doesn't find IT, she broadens her horizons. Then, some things just don't quite fit, or she doesn't fall in love with it enough to buy it. Then, from the most unlikely of sources, she discovers a gem. My point is this: publishing is a subjective business, and we all have a shot, but we have to do something to make our work stand out from the rest. Agents and editors have so many to choose from; they aren't going to settle for mediocre. We have to make our work shine like a gem so that it gets noticed. Knowing that you are all avid readers, I'd like to hear what you think makes a work stand out. What makes you want to recommend a book to friend?