Monday, October 24, 2011

Sure Thing

This week, I read Jane Dystel's blog post lamenting the somewhat new trend with the top 6 publishers, and it wasn't very encouraging, dear writers.

Seems that this is what they want:
from here
No, they don't want John Cusack. (Although at one point in my life, I did.) Heck, maybe they do want John Cusack.  But they really want that bathing beauty in the bikini, the "sure thing," and the Big 6 are not so interested in building a strong backlist inventory, which is a pity.  I like to read the bust-out NYT bestsellers like most book junkies do, but I also love curling up with a great book that might be considered merely great literature, not based on the millions of copies sold, but on the quality of the writing.  On the soul of the novel.

Does this mean that writers who are really desperate to be published had better be more like circus shows? A "sure thing" Barnum & Bailey act that will draw in the spectators in droves? (sigh) Sure seems like it. I'm submitting a YA manuscript to agents this month, and it seems that I'm getting the message: talented writing, but not "big enough," not a "sure thing" for this "tough marketplace." 

Maybe I should put a circus scene in the novel.  Hmm. Nope.  I can't do it.

I just finished reading Lamb, by Bonnie Nadzam, today.  It jolted me awake and made me go "gah!" for a good hour afterwards.  Same with C.W. Smith's new novel, Steplings.  Both are examples of great literature that make you feel more human in some way.

I hope the publishing industry catches up with the rapidly changing demands in the market.  Many authors are still believers in the sound and valuable judgment of the traditional gatekeepers.  Don't let us down.

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