Tag Archives: publishing

Friends and Books

Maybe you have felt that reading a book is like making a friend, or that, picking up someone else’s pages, you have made a connection across miles and time with the author.  You read someone else’s words and you think, Yes!  I feel the same.  As C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'”  For a lonely kid, that is the magic of books.

Now, as an author, I see another side of publishing, “red in tooth and claw” as it is.  Books are business, and business is not friendly.  Trying to get a manuscript published is like sucking up the courage needed to run naked across a stage while being pelted with rotten fruit and large pointy objects.  No one sane would do it at all.  But even in the muck of publishing, there is a nice side, the friendship that can bloom in unlikely ways through the pages of a book.

I have been privileged this year to make such a friend, a stranger across the country who was willing to review Thirty Thousand Days.  That it could have gone badly I am well aware.  Even as I sent off a copy, I dived under the bed to wait for tomatoes to fly.  But what I heard to my happy surprise was “What?  You too?” I am pleased to say that I have found a friend in Carolyn Litfin, and I am honored to know her.  If you should happen this week to read a book that makes you happy, find the author (she’s probably hiding under the bed) and tell her so.  We all have room for another friend.

Here’s Carolyn’s kind review.

Photo credit: krecimag via VisualHunt /  CC BY

Souped-up Slush Pile

Here’s a quick tutorial on the publishing industry for those of you who’ve never had a compulsion to stick pins in your pupils.

Step One: Pour weeks, months, years into heartbreaking work of staggering genius (thanks, Dave Eggers)
Step Two: Submit baby to publisher to be kicked back with rude note — get an agent!
Step Three: Submit baby to agent to be spat upon and returned with rude note — get publishing creds!
Step Four: Locate sharp object. Rinse and repeat.

After a few rounds of this, most authors relocate to SriLanka or thereabouts for a spiritual experience, rise above their publishing aspirations, and write a few dozen articles about rejecting their desires. Then they try again and are rewarded with nicer rejection letters due to their ascetic publishing credentials.

Aha! But there is another way. I am trying to decide if it releases you from this circle of purgatory or merely extends the process with the illusion of happy co-travelers. It is called authononmy, and is HarperCollins’ answer to the slush pile. Instead of submitting and waiting, waiting, waiting for rejection, you can upload your book, dialog with other writers, and watch it slowly rise to the top, at which point HarperCollins will perform the obligatory rejection publicly and with many kind words to ease the sting of defeat. For your writer types, you can check it out here:
Don’t forget to bring sharp objects.