Color me naive…an Expose` of the Publishing Industry (part 1)

books, authors, book stores, women writers,Call me naive…but I honestly thought that publishing houses chose manuscripts based on the quality of the writing and then book sales would take care of itself.  Au’ contraire.  I just finished reading an expose` of the publishing industry and it rocked me to my toes.publishers, writers, authors,

First, you know that book you can buy that lists the publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts?  Detailing which genre’ they are looking for, and what age group they represent?   And the publishing houses that hype the public (writers) that they are actually looking for unsolicited books?  (translation:  ‘unsolicited’ = ‘crap’).  Well, that’s exactly what it is, hype and not true.

Your manuscript ends up in a ‘slush pile’ and the publisher has a whole storage room  for these manuscripts.  NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN!  No miracles, no happy accidents, no chance of even an editor’s assistant reading your work.

Okay, but say a miracle happens and someone reads your book and likes it.  I’m certain that it happens. But the process that a manuscript goes through and the likelihood of your manuscript making it to the store is phenomenalwriters, authors, publishers!

Let’s say that an ambitious editor’s assistant’s assistant is told to take a stack of manuscripts to the ‘slush pile room’. Leafing through the top one, as she rides the elevator, something catches her eye and she decides to read on. She tucks it in her briefcase for reading over the weekend.  She comes in Monday morning and during a coffee break shares her enthusiasm with the editor’s assistant.

The assistant agrees to read it ‘when she has time’.  Months go by and now she has read it and thinks it’s worth taking it to her editor.  Said editor is buried in work, with the authors that she has been assigned, but she doesn’t want to discourage her young, bright-eyed assistant, so she agrees to read it ‘when she has time’.  Months go by….you see where I’m going with this.

Okay, the editor liked your book enough to take it to the monthly editorial meeting.   Each editor must ‘pitch’ the new books that they are excited about to the other editors and (probably) an associate publisher.    They have to ‘sell’ even known authors at these meetings so you can imagine how difficult it is to ‘pitch’ an unknown author like you and I. The book makes it through this meeting.  Now comes the bi-yearly sales meeting,  attended by not only the editors but  the publisher and associate publishers. Also, and most importantly, the  sales reps, who will in turn try to ‘sell’ the book to their accounts. (book stores and retailers).

authors, writers, publishers, I will forever be grateful to my publishing house (Samuel French, Inc.) for having faith in the  plays that they chose to publish. But what about the other 40 scripts that I have written? The ones that they passed on? Are they just not good enough? Are they terrible? Too politically incorrect? Too dark? Too light? Too….something??  NO!   They just didn’t fit what the publisher believed would make money! I asked my editor about this and he made a very profound statement: “Trish, there is only so much ‘real estate’ in our catalog.”

Knowing what I now know about publishing, I did indeed experience a miracle with French. They picked me up, an unknown playwright, and published four of my scripts. See?….miracles do happen!  But don’t sit around waiting for yours! Take action!

See Part II and the solution in today’s publishing world coming on  February 28th.

Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS.  The NEW SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner” INTERVIEWS with other  best-selling AUTHORS!

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and plan on featuring an interview once a month .  I have invited such luminaries as:  Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, Mark Childress, Robert McCammon, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Walter Mosley, Natasha Solomons, Nora Roberts, Jeffrey Deaver and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!

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