“As a literary agent, I receive roughly 500 queries, or book pitches, a month. After 11 years of doing this job, I have seen a lot of book ideas. Obviously I’ve noticed trends (did you know all vampires live in Seattle now?) but there are other similarities outside of pop culture or critical mass made evident by the slush pile. When an agent or editor says they are looking for something they’ve never seen before, these are the things we don’t mean.
If what you’re already writing looks like something on this list, don’t panic. To misquote a friend, publishing is a rich tapestry; lots of books like these have been published (you can probably think of a bunch off the top of your head), and some are even great. Your book might be great, too! But if your gut tells you it isn’t after reading this list, don’t fall back on the assumption that publishing will make an exception for you just because all the other options are terrifying. Take some time to think about it and adjust your course as necessary. And if you want to write a book but haven’t started, or if you’re still trying to get going on your NaNoWriMo novel, don’t do one of these:
1. The Axe To Grind Novel
This book sure will show your stupid boss/girlfriend/teacher/parent they were an idiot for firing/dumping/failing/not loving you! Unfortunately, your personal injustices are your own, and it’s hard for the reader to generate enough sympathy for the infallible ‘protagonist’ when everyone else is 100% horrible and wrong. If your life was The Glass Castle, then yeah, write that, but I sure hope it wasn’t.
A subcategory of The Axe To Grind Book of Non-Fiction is the Stunning Work from a Fearless Whistleblower that will Set the World of [Industry] on Fire. Maybe it will! But I usually learn about these stories from the news, as they are genuine news, and not in the query pile.”