Rejecting people’s work is my least favorite task as a publisher. I mostly delegate this job to someone else, but he sends the best manuscripts to my email box. At least twice a week, I find myself dithering and procrastinating over a manuscript that’s almost good enough to publish. Tonight I need to write four rejection notes, which is why I’m working on this blog instead.
Usually these “almost good enough” works cannot be salvaged. For example, the novel occupying my IN Box caught my interest, but needs extensive re-writing, and I don’t have time to work that closely with the author. Another book is on gardening – a memoir. How many books on gardening are already out there? Thousands, it seems. We wouldn’t be able to sell it. Another book proposal is from a dear friend and it hurts me to turn him away.
Am I whining? I know I’m fortunate to be a publisher, because this writing business is SO tough. Not only must authors be talented at writing; they must also understand the market, aim for a specific target, and create a marketing plan. The story must be high stakes, especially for today’s readers who are accustomed to reality TV and interactive games. But that isn’t always true, is it? Because sometimes a low-stakes book catches on. Who really knows?
At times like this, I go paint a picture and think about my favorite quote from Winnie the Pooh:
“This writing business – pencils and whatnot. Overrated, if you ask me.”