Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Candy For Strangers

Editorial Anonymous has some great points in his/her post, Do Your Family a Favor and Talk Some Sense Into Them. Here are my favourite snippets:
Editors are often sympathetic, patient people at heart (though overworked), but I know they all wish that more people understood that when one asks one's author-friend to do a favor and send a manuscript to their editor, one is not asking the author to do you a favor... What one is really doing is asking the editor to do you a favor, and you don't get to ask strangers for favors.


Publishing a manuscript is about appealing to thousands of people. There are lots of wonderful manuscripts that would make dozens, or scores, or even hundreds of people happy. They can't be published. They would be cherished, and they would sell, but they would not sell enough.


Publishing is about appealing to strangers.
(Emphasis mine.)

That last line has a corollary I think helpful to anyone whose heart is breaking because they can't get the book they wrote--and love like it's their child--published:

Yes, your book is valid and worthy and precious, but those things don't guarantee it's saleable. To be saleable, your book must appeal to strangers--lots of them.

Author website: J. J. DeBenedictis


maybe genius said...

It is a sad truth, but one we all must learn.

Also, just FYI, I tagged you in an award-dealio on my blog :)

writtenwyrdd said...

Many lights are hid by bushels, and it isn't necessarily the quality of writing but luck and a chain of happy circumstances that make a published author. At least, that's what they keep saying. I think I'll ask my author friend to pass along my manuscript... ;)

jjdebenedictis said...

MaybeGenius: Thank you! Already posted my response; that was fun!

Writtenwyrdd: I think the real issue is that something can be really good without being saleable, and of course writers judge writing based on whether it's good. It's hard for us to understand why brilliant writing sometimes isn't enough.

Also, writers work in solitude, so we have no way of developing an instinct for what is saleable, i.e. what will appeal to scads of people who don't think the way writers do.

Pageloads since 01/01/2009: