Some time ago, I had a verbal arrangement with an agent (now deceased) who proposed: you read my property and I’ll read yours. The story concerned a young boy whose father had escaped from jail and everyone in town wondered if this man would come back and steal away the boy and get vengeance on the town. That was the first chapter. The rest of the chapters were old time school antics. and anticipation for the return of the con. Well, the man never did show up. My son, then in Gr. 5 tried to read it and couldn’t get past chapter 4 because it was boring. I told this to the agent who said, “Well, I like it, and it will be published.” And there you have it the secret to writing success: it’s not what you write but who likes your writing. There are many gatekeepers out there who one must impressive with your subjective written material.
Tundra Press liked my juvenile story Archie’s Gold enough to say they’d publish it, going so far as to hint it might garner awards. We had a verbal agreement because they said written contracts were a source of great contention when it came time to final editing. The story was continually pushed back from spring publishing list to fall list, etc. for two years. When I hadn’t heard from them for some time I finally got an answer to my email telling me that they’ve decided not to go with it. I was dropped from publication and not given a reason.