Friday, January 19, 2007

It Takes A Freakin’ Village To Buy A Book

STATUS: TGIF! I’m feeling decent. Did I finish everything on my list for today? No but I came close and that’s always amazing since I usually have 10 things that have to be done and only one actually gets accomplished. I have two outstanding things that I’ll finish up (probably tomorrow) and email off to my clients. What’s that adage about all work and no play?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? TUB THUMPING by Chumbawamba

When I stop to actually think about it, I’m generally amazed that any book gets bought at all. Why? Because think about the levels of difficulty involved in the process. Sometimes it’s hard enough to find that one editor who loves it and will champion it through the process but since books are bought by committee, it’s darn near a miracle when an editor gets the second reads and the editorial director in love with it as well (not to mention the marketing director and sometimes the publisher). In reality, it takes a village (of at least 5 or 6 publishing people) to buy a book.

So imagine how heartening it is to find not just one editor who loves a work on submission but three and then imagine how heartbreaking it is to have those editors go for second reads, get full support from those reads to take it to ed. Board, get folks excited there, but ultimately the offer gets squelched from a higher up like the editorial director or the publisher and boom, the project gets no offer.

Rejection is always painful but nothing compares to that. To know your book might not be bought solely because of market conditions and not because of lack of talent or because no editors felt the love.

Squashed by the bottom line.

In general, that tends to tick me off as an agent but as I’ve said before and will probably say again. Publishing is a business. P&L statements are the ultimate decision-makers.

End of story.