So many authors have heard some variation of I love the book, but it's too quiet. Quit books are the opposite of high concept, they can't be described simply. Often quiet books are character driven books.
Great writing can make a "quiet" book more noticeable, as can changing a setting (adding background). Quiet books have to be well written. A super strong voice can fool people into never noticing that a book is quiet.
Quiet books often have more librarian appeal than bookstore appeal.
Adding elements to a quiet book can give editors less reason to pass.
Some of Erin's suggestions for making a quiet novel louder...
- polish the writing
- make the secondary characters real (in addition to main characters)
- up the stakes, make the conflict more meaningful (remove support system)
- change setting
- use multiple view points to show both sides of the conflict
- romance (editors can never get enough)
- fabulous catchy title
Look for universal (not cliche). Try to capture something that lots of kids go through, but make the details your own. Find something new.