Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is...and what ain't.

It all comes down to a matter of definitions and conceptions of what is and what isn’t in the writing world.

Take the term P.O.D. It stands for Print On Demand. Boys and girls, I am here to tell you that every book in the professional publishing world is P.O.D. I say that because if there is no demand for your work IT WON’T GET PUBLISHED. No publishing house out there wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I will accept a book that nobody wants to read.” So, how do the powers that be decide who gets a rejection notice and why?

Money. It’s all about pieces of paper with pictures of deceased presidents on them. When I get a letter of inquiry in and a manuscript, I could give a damn less about grammar, size and format. That is what the editor is for…they will decide what is competent. What you won’t see on a rejection slip is where I sat down with it first and said, “Will this sell and make a buck?” Most writers have a strike against them because…no one knows who you are.

Few readers give a damn, or could even tell you who the publisher was on the last book they bought. Nine times out of ten they bought the author and not the title, let alone because of who was the publisher. That is one of the main reasons you see a publisher, large or small, printing the same authors work over and over again. It’s like a horse race, if one horse has won for you five times why bet on the one with long-shot odds you have never heard of?

This does not apply to e-zines. I love them, but will never publish another. People often complain that “they will accept anything and don’t pay.” True enough in many cases. You want to see an e-zine die in one week’s time? Let them ask for their reader’s to pay to read it.

Sorry. Do I make it sound mercenary and all about money? Look up the definitions of professional - courtesy of Webster’s:

“participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs”
“engaged in by persons receiving financial return”

Sigh…right now there is undoubtedly some one frantically going through our list of titles yelling, “Bullshit! You couldn’t have believed some of those would be profitable.” You are right. Some we played a hunch on, or did because…well, just because we wanted to do so. We have been known to bet on an inside straight.

Sometimes lady luck deals customers.


AJ Brown said...

Awesome piece, Pete.

Lucas Pederson said...

Very well said, my friend. Loved it!

Chris Bartholomew said...

You are the best blogger! Great one Pete, and right on the money!

Jean said...

Pete! You're back! I'm thrilled!

-- Jean Goldstrom