Friday, July 6, 2007

grains of salt

Be careful what you read out there... without naming names, I've now stumbled across a few blogs that have either incomplete or erroneous information on them.

There's one blog in particular that has really raised my ire over the past year. Just recently they inaccurately described the ongoing debate between Simon & Schuster and authors/agents over the publisher's out of print clause. In another posting they had incorrect information about agents posting queries on the web. Now I'm not saying you have to have legal training before commenting on these things, or that you need to have professional experience that extends beyond rejecting queries, but at the least you need to make sure to properly educate yourself on the issues before discussing them in a public forum.

You'll note that on this site and any agent site that I link to we try to talk about only the things we know about, and always make sure to tell you when something is our own opinion, as compared to an industry-wide feeling. I know that caveats can get annoying, but we live in a world and work in a business of caveats. If the blogging agent isn't pointing this out along the way then I suggest you take the information they are providing with many, many grains of salt.

GalleyCat is the new Pink

I enjoy my daily dose of Publisher's Lunch, and I anxiously await my Publisher's Weekly each Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday, depending on whether they've screwed up delivery again). But I have to say that right now GalleyCat is far and away my favorite source of publishing news. Simply, what they're covering is both the most interesting and most helpful to me on a daily basis.

Falling Behind

To all those anxiously awaiting a reply on their queries, please note I've fallen behind and will respond as soon as I can. My apologies...

Agent Stories - Nathan Bransford

Next up to bat is Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Jonathan was kind enough to ask me to post a guest blog, and he didn't even rub it in that his beloved Spurs won yet another NBA championship this year while my favorite team (the Sacramento Kings) just hired the guy who played Coach Fuller on NBC's teen sitcom Hang Time, in which a co-ed team of misfits did not miss a shot the entire season on the way to the State Championship. Yes, this is true, and no, I couldn't be more depressed.

But, much like Coach Fuller, I too have determination and perseverance (how about that segue!). I am willing to go the distance, swing for the fences, shoot for par, and basically embody every other sports metaphor you can possibly come up with. And that is because if there is thing I've learned about publishing, it's this: You Never Know.

We really do try to add as much objectivity and science into the submission process through networking, our experience and the reputation of our agencies, but at the end of the day, you never know. When it comes down to it, this is a subjective business, and when tastes within the industry vary so greatly, it's impossible to predict exactly what's going to happen.

One time I submitted a really great proposal to multiple editors, and for some reason... it just wasn't selling. I went down my submission list, editors liked it and took it to editorial board meetings... but it just wasn't selling. Still though, I wasn't ready to throw in the towel (another sports metaphor! I have more...)

Then, nearly six months after I first started submitting it, out of the blue I heard from a really great editor from a really great house, and he wanted to buy it. And the next day I heard from another editor... he wanted to buy it too. The very patient author ended up getting a great deal.

So I always go the distance. You just never know if an offer will snap people into action, or if a small house will be the right fit for an author and do a great job, or if someone will hear about the proposal and want to see it. Sure, there's a whole lot of time that goes into submissions, and it's possible expenses will never be recouped, but I try not to think about that and just hope for the best. Because you never know.

Check out Nathan's fantastic blog!