Sunday, August 07, 2005

Do Good Books Always Find a Publisher?

The lovely Mr. Jakubowski wanted me to feel better, so he finished his letter turning down Beyond You & Me by saying that "good books always find a publisher." Of course, that isn't always true, but it's a fiction we all need to believe in. The process isn't made any easier by publishers and their changing wants and desires.

James Pannell of Brook Street Press in Georgia wrote me three months after I submitted on-line to him to say that "we have decided, in the past month, that we will concentrate our efforts on building a backlist of reissued out-of-print novels by several established authors. We believe that this will provide a strong foundation for the company. At some point we may return to considering new fiction, and the risks associated with them [sic]."

Sort of like changing the rules in the middle of the game, isn't it?

But it's his right to do so. And the good news is that it was an email submission, so no money or effort wasted printing up something and mailing it off to him. Yet it's annoying to say the least that publishers feel it's OK to change direction after you've already sent them something. If they were thinking about making a change, why not let us know on the website?

The good news is that more and more small publishers are building websites. If the company is only putting out books by left-handed dead presidents, don't waste my time and yours.

In the end, though, there's that nagging question: if a book is good, wouldn't it find a publisher pretty easily? The implication in all this is that books without ready access to a publisher are somehow less-than-good, right? Or am I thinking too much?


Blogger Miss Snark said...

Not only do good books not always find a publisher, even things we now recognize as good had a hard time. Very few editors recognize what's going to sell big when they see it; agents don't either. Almost universally you'll hear editors and agents say "I just loved it and thought I'd take a chance" about something. Who are the prescient ones? The sales staffers.

Agents don't have crystal balls.Hell some of us don't have balls at all.

8:45 PM, August 09, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

LOL! Thanks for the insight. It's good to have you dropping by.

4:06 PM, August 11, 2005  

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