In publishing, it often comes down to timing.
You might have a brilliant manuscript, but if the publisher just bought something similar, you're too late. And unpublished.
There is an entire industry within publishing that exists to crank out books in response to current events. When news happens, the market for books related to that news are hot sellers. After the fact, you're too late.
That woman who President Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with, Ms. Lewinsky, is said to be making the rounds of the major publishers. She has a book to sell, or so goes the rumour.
To date, and it's been a lot of dates fallen behind us since the blue dress scandal, she hasn't spoken about her affair with then President Clinton.
Was it more than an encounter or two in the Oval Office?
People wanted to know back in 1998, but does anyone much care in 2012?
That's what will determine whether or not a publisher makes an offer or politely shows her the door.
Will the public buy the book in numbers sufficient to meet the advance, and what might be the size of an advance that could be covered by predicted sales? If the manuscript were on offer in 1999, it would have been an astronomical figure. Over a decade later, with Mr. Clinton's good works in Haiti now part of current events, the story is worth less.
Even tales of Washington-behind-the-scenes would be dated. A few years after the impeachment proceedings that brought us the stained dress saga, Ms. Lewinsky went off to London to study economics, and her knowledge of capital city politics is stale.
What would drive readers to hop into the time machine and turn back the clock to the Clinton administration? If there is something in Ms. Lewinsky's manuscript that would be compelling today, she can make a sale.
Otherwise, a minor player in publishing will offer her a small advance and throw the book out there, hoping for the best.
And it won't have anything to do with the quality of the writing. It will be all about the subject matter, and whether or not a publisher finds it relevant to today's book buyer.