Geppetto Meets Google: A Niche Reality Check

March 2006
by Joan Bechtel

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“Not for us” . . . “Best
proposal I’ve read in a long time” . . . “Good luck” . . . “Intriguing” . . .
“Funny” . . . “Great voices” . . . “But not for us.” Sound familiar? I heard
these words in my sleep during those frustrating months of agent-hunting.

After three years of writing and
rewriting Motherhood
Confidential and another year of mailing out book proposals, my
co-author, Linda Cohen, and I began to have doubts. Doubts about the book, its
niche, its voice. Doubts about ourselves, our writing—our sanity. But as
depressing as the rejection notices were, our intuition (or was it our
insanity?) told us to keep trying. We believed. But could we get anyone else to
believe?

Every creator has doubts about a
creation. Will it resonate? Is it universal? Or even meaningful to one niche
group? Could it be—God forbid—just self-indulgent? Is it too
intellectual, not funny enough? Maybe it doesn’t hit people where they live.

As co-writers we had the advantage
of two different perspectives, but we still had to face the most humiliating
question writers can ask: Was this written for anyone—but us?

Getting Personal

When 50 agents and publishers
reject your work and you know that each of them is selecting books for mi

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