“The Big Game” Rejection Follow-Up

I know I said I’d get back to writing sexier, less depressing posts on this blog. I still intend to do that, hopefully today at some point. Just thought I’d follow up on my post yesterday about the rejection email I got for, “The Big Game.”

As I often do after I get a rejection letter, I send a response to the publisher thanking them for their consideration. It’s just professional courtesy. I also ask for an explanation as to why they determined that my story wasn’t viable. I almost never get a response back. If they do respond, it’s usually something along the line of, “We just feel it isn’t right for us at this time.”

That doesn’t tell me much and it doesn’t give me any chance at improving. I understand they probably get a lot of manuscripts every day, but the quality of the content can’t improve unless there’s feedback. If I’m not doing something right, I like to know what it is so I can fix it. I am that committed to becoming a published author.

So it came as somewhat of a surprise when the publisher sent a more detailed response. I won’t reveal the name of the publisher. Again, it’s out of professional courtesy because I don’t want to slander anybody for doing their job. This is just what they sent.

The fact that the book includes substantial amounts of both F/M and M/F content is probably going to make it somewhat difficult to find a publisher for it.  There are some authors who publish books with F/M themes, but in most cases they don’t sell nearly as well as books in which the core relationship is M/F.  I wish I could be more helpful, but there isn’t a publisher with which I’m familiar that would be a particularly good fit for this book.  That doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist, of course, and I just haven’t heard of it.

This is somewhat revealing to me because I didn’t know that a book had to stick to one kind of BDSM. It’s true that “The Big Game” explores multiple sides of BDSM plots. It’s not just about one character dominating another. Both characters get a chance to exercise dominance. I did this on purpose because I wanted to explore the full range of BDSM experiences from different perspectives. I felt that would make the story more comprehensive and appealing to a wider audience.

Perhaps I overestimated the extent to which BDSM novels occupy a certain niche in the market. Perhaps this particular publisher wasn’t looking for a larger, more encompassing story and wanted something more focused. I can understand that. “The Big Game” isn’t focused in the sense that it has one particular type of BDSM. It’s a different kind of story and I hoped, in a way that may have been misguided, that broadening the story would make it more appealing to publishers. I suppose I was wrong.

I’m not sure what this means for the long-term viability of “The Big Game.” I still believe that it can tap into a BDSM market that’s ripe for something new. There are so many novels out there that focus solely on one approach to BDSM in a story. There’s a place for those stories, but I think the growing trend in pop culture is towards more equal power dynamics.

I think the public is more eager to see two characters on an equal playing field, both romantically and sexually. There’s still a place for classic dominant/submission roles, but there’s also a place for new dynamics. I want “The Big Game” to be part of it. Unfortunately, it seems my chances exploring these dynamics with a publisher are a bit larger than I thought. I’ll still keep rolling the dice though. If nothing else, it’ll give me some better insight into writing BDSM stories in the future.

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