Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writers dish about editors

by Stacey

I enjoyed reading this piece from The Awl written by five published authors who write candidly (sometimes very candidlycheck out Emily Gould's piece) about their experiences with their editors. There's so much great behind-the-scenes information in here about the publishing processhow agents work, how editors acquire books (or sometimes lose out to others), and how different each individual experience is. Even though it's written from different points of view, this piece speaks to how unpredictable the publishing process can be. Each author makes some wise observations about what you can expect, what you might actually get, and how frustrating and/or refreshing that can be depending on where you fall on that curve! The idea that editors are overworked and that your book isn't the only one on their list is something that authors and agents alike sometimes forget to take into consideration, so it's a good point. It also illustrates to me how important perspective is, both in your publishing career and in anything else you do in life.

In this piece, you're getting the scoop from those who have been through it. I hope you all find some good takeaway, or at the least an entertaining read, and ultimately see this a positive take on the publishing process. For me, even as an insider (or maybe because I'm an insider and know many of the players), there's a lot of juicy stuff in here!


  1. Hey, Stacey, if I come sit in your office will you call me while you run errands?

  2. It's interesting how Kimmel basically says agents are motivated to get the most money out of a contract, as if that's the only factor they consider, as I can think of several posts on agent blogs about deals where they went with a smaller advance than was offered elsewhere because the rest of the terms were better. It makes one wonder whether Kimmel is speaking from his own experience and bias, whether agents were that different ten years ago, or whether those agents' posts are the exception to a general rule. It's great reading his thoughts about writing a novel for the first time, knowing it had to work because it had already been sold.

    OK, my comment's getting long, so I'll just go read what the other four authors have to say...

  3. Very interesting reading, thank you. I think the advice for writers to remember that theirs is not the only book on their editor's plate is really good, and I enjoyed the last writer's comments about revisions.

  4. Great article. Thanks for posting it!

  5. Thanks for the comments, and sorry to just be responding. This time of year is always so insanely busy! Kristin, you bring up some good questions. I think the business has changed a lot in 10 years, and every situation is unique so an author might take a lower advance from a publisher with a better track record for that kind of book, for example. Not all agents are just looking for the biggest paycheck. I think most agents you speak with will tell you that, while we are all looking out for the best interests of our clients, the biggest advance isn't always the right answer.

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