Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Because Publishing REALLY works like that...


Today in Economic Psychology class we had to analyze a case in order to practice what we learned about conflicts. This particular conflict occurred between two CEOs from different imprints of the same publishing house. The cause?

An author [of a book, I suspect not a well-known one] had spoken to the CEO of the whole house [I will call him Big Boss] about signing with them. The Big Boss redirects the author to CEO1, but the CEO is not present and CEO2 happened to spot the author and from ''Hi, what are you doing here at CEO1's office?'' went to CEO2 signing the author. The conflict arose, when CEO1 learned about this heinous act against him...

So, while I did the task [which was to resolve the conflict between the CEOs], I couldn't stop thinking how insane this is. I know it is a hypothetical situation and this case is ancient and from the archives, so maybe in the earlier years things may have been done a bit differently, I am still kinda stunned this is how people [or this person in particular; who wrote it] perceive publishing.

You write a book, slap it in front of someone and it gets instantly recognized as something that would win big money.

If this is how people see publishing, then it is no wonder that so many people want it and that so many people swamp agents and editors with manuscripts [and usually with no regard to the submission guidelines]. Scary, is it not?


Liz said...

Dude, this is scary but yes, this is indeed how people see the industry. Even people who want to be published - all you have to do is attend any of the "how to" seminars at conferences etc. to see this. People have no clue and are lax about doing their research. At a recent seminar I attended a woman stalked out because there wasn't a magical blueprint the panelists could give her on how to get published - she refused to listen to any negative / cautionary tales about the current publishing industry.

Everyone was agog. It was odd. People are odd. We, or course, are superior and know what we're doing. Right? *eeep*

Harry Markov said...

Bizarre. After all, this is as much a business as it is an art and because it is an art there are no blueprints to getting a deal and become successful.

In the end, I do feel this is the biggest illusion that will never get dispelled.

We do know what we are doing. We know how it works and play the game by the rules. It gets noticed and it's what professionalism is about.

T.D. Newton said...

Yeah, sad but true, but Publishing is a "black box" to a vast majority of people. Just try watching a few movies where the main character is an author... so incredibly weird.

Nicola Morgan said...

Scary indeed but a very very common idea. I also give talks about how to get published and sense an anger when I focus on the concept of writing a great book - they want to focus on how many chapters to send and what font is best for the covering letter. They all think they've already written a great book and the only reason it hasn't been taken on is that they haven't been lucky.

Good post!

Harry Markov said...

@ TD: Interesting expression and I have seen how authors are depicted in movies, so I know what you mean, but still it's not like there is no information as to how things really are.

@ Nicola: Because novel writing is, of course, the easiest thing in the whole wide world... When it is one of the most difficult things. It can only look easy, when done flawless and creates that organic feel.