It’s a challenge we’re all up against as acquisitions editors: relying equally on passion for a project as we do on the “safety” of previous sales. Ideally, you get a chance to convince the acquisitions team with both, but sometimes all you have is one. I have been in those situations before, and find myself again in both kinds now.
I’ve got a project that’s all precedent and another that’s all passion. It’s probable that neither will really take off, but which has more potential? I have to believe it’s the one with great writing. The one that’s going to get incredible word-of-mouth from someone, somewhere who’s going to feel it like I do and have to share that feeling. The one with mere precedent just isn’t going to give anyone that feeling, no matter how well it sells. So what good is it in the real context?
Give me writing I can taste and breathe, words I can ride on out of the murk. God, keep pushing us to never rely on the past, to keep searching to find the next word before us and the word after that.
And just maybe that precedent you were hoping for will eventually take care of itself.