Let's Talk with Lois Winston
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
A Pro’s Take on Publishing
News Flash #1: Most authors are not rolling in dough. Although we occasionally plunge into a bowl of cookie dough ice cream, we aren’t cavorting in Olympic sized swimming pools filled with hundred-dollar bills. (Of course, like any rule, there are exceptions. It’s quite possible Nora Roberts, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and James Patterson get their kicks filling their swimming pools with Benjamins.)
It seems every week another celebrity or parent, spouse, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, or next-door-neighbor of a celebrity is handed a huge chunk of change to write a book. No expertise required. All you need is celebrity status or six-degrees or less of separation from a celebrity. Fiction, nonfiction, kids’ books, cookbooks, memoirs. You name it. Whether they have any expertise on the subject or not.
Of course, most of these people really don’t write the books that bear their names. That’s what ghost writers, whether credited or not, are for. The only item that makes the news, though, is the multi-million-dollar advances handed out by the publishing industry. For that reason, much of the population think all authors are doing equally well. After all, we’ve written real books. All by ourselves. No ghost writers required.
News Flash #2: Most of us don’t even make one percent of what these celebrities make, even though celebrities rarely earn out their advances and upwards of 80% of their books wind up selling at steep discounts on bookstore remainder tables. Still, for some reason, publishers keep handing out those multi-million-dollar advances.
Another misconception is that once an author sells a book, she keeps selling books as long as she keeps writing them. The bad news for many authors is that sometimes it’s as hard or harder to sell a book once you’ve sold one.
News Flash #3: Published authors receive rejection letters all the time.
What one editor loves about a book is often another editor’s reason for rejecting it, no matter how many books the author has previously sold. So, for your enjoyment and/or morbid curiosity what follows are the good, the bad, and the downright ugly comments I’ve received from various editors on the very same book:
• Quirkiness felt forced
• Well executed
• Range of emotion not fully expressed
• Strong beginning, likeable protagonist
• Plot is too similar to a novel we recently published (I loved this one. Aside from the initial set-up, the two books were completely different. Made me wonder if the editor bothered to read past the first chapter. He certainly didn’t bother to read the synopsis.)
• Premise is both unique and fresh.
• There weren’t quite enough sparks of wit for me.
• Witty, sparkling prose
• Not suited to our current publishing needs
• My taste, (filled) with warmth and humor
• The pacing became more and more uneven and the narrative was awkward at times.
• The author has an engaging voice.
• I didn’t fall in love with the author’s voice.
• The author has a wonderful voice.
• I didn’t love (the author’s) voice.
I’m not complaining, mind you, (okay, maybe a teeny, tiny, wee bit.) Like regular people, editors have different tastes. And, even if an editor falls in love with a book, she often can’t buy it for reasons that have nothing to do with the plot, characters, or writing.
News Flash #4: Even if she does buy the book, the chances of an author scoring a celebrity-sized advance are slim to none. Unless, of course, you’re Nora Roberts, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or James Patterson.
News Flash #5: No one ever said life is fair.
What turns you on or off about a book? What makes one a keeper while you toss another after a few chapters? Post a comment for a chance to win an audiobook version of your choice of the first eight Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
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Want to know more about our author Lois Winston? Visit her WEBSITE.
The heart image is from Pixabay.
Posted in Let's Talk, with Lois Winston • Tags: Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, Let's Talk, Lois Winston, The Good the Bad and The Ugly | 32 Comments