Over the past several years many in the publishing industry have complained that the reason sales are down is that people are no longer reading. They are watching tv or on the internet or playing video games – everything but picking up a good book.
Now, though, it seems that even my publishing colleagues aren’t reading either.
It is true our business is going through a very challenging period. It is, however, still a business of ideas and words and in order to adequately judge whether those ideas, proposals and manuscripts that we agents submit will work, publishers and editors have to actually read them.
This last week a senior editor at a major publishing house received a proposal from us and rather than read it at all, she simply looked up other books in the category and decided that since they hadn’t sold, it wasn’t even worth reading one word of this author’s work. In another, rather shocking instance, a publisher of a very good house turned down material I had submitted saying that the fiction market was extremely difficult these days. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the note – the material I had submitted clearly stated that it was a memoir.
If we in the industry don’t read, then I fear our days are numbered. I say, let’s pay more attention to what we are doing and less to the businesses that are taking our customers away.