As reported early in the life of this blog, here to be exact, I'd been hired to ghostwrite a book about Boston's 400-year history of innovation for a local non-profit. Phase I was to write a sample chapter, a rationale, and synopses of the various chapters. We presented it to a literary agent in late July. He asked that we work on the rationale to bring out what about the story is of sufficiently universal interest and value that someone in Chicago or Seattle would care about what happened in Boston in 1630 or 1750 or 1820 or 1990. The chapter itself he said he liked, but to pitch it to a publisher he needs to be able to make the case that the book would have a strong national readership.
So, we made the changes and resubmitted the package. Today, we heard from him. He rejected it. The content, again, he thinks is fine. He just doesn't think people outside of Boston will care much about it, and publishers these days are looking for potential returns that would justify a minimum initial run of 150,000 copies. He sent us a list of other area agents and wished us luck, but my client is of the opinion that this agent represented our best shot at getting the book published.
Hence, my first rejection letter. I am now pursuing agents for my novel. Anyone out there in the publishing business, please make yourself known.