Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Required Listening

Phillipa Astley has a link to the Easter editoion of Open book on her blog and it should be required listening for all writers -- whether they are published or not. The programme deals with how editors, publishers and authors work together. In particular it gives an editorial view of revisions and why they happen. I can't imagine ever working like Rose Tremain who has her editor come and visit. They then go over the book page by page in the course of two days. And I did find it amusing when an editor described how she tried v hard to be diplomatic and postive. One of her authors was then asked how he felt when he got one of her letters -- bruised and battered came back the reply. The morale is: author's egos are fragile. And some times, it does not matter what is said, the author is not going to like it. Personally, I agreed with another author who said he would be upset if the publishing house simply took the novel without any revisons, because he knows how much stronger a professional eye can make the book. There is always something that can be revised.

The part on covers was very interesting as well. How a cover needs to create a mood. This is certainly true of Sold and Seduced and The Roman's Virgin Mistress. And the prototype of Taken by The Viking that I have seen. As Cheryl St John has already recieved her July cover and it is beautiful, I am hoping they will be putting the July covers up soon and then I can put the cover for TRVM up.

The programme is very much geared towards the literary end, but I know that much of what is said is true of HM&B. They do stick with authors. they want to grow authors.they believe in authors. They buy books because they like the authors. I loved how Orion stuck with Ian Rankin for seven years.

The programme takes about a half hour and I enjoyed it. I was also amused that they did not dare state the obvious -- the one publisher who REMAINS a brand -- Harlequin Mills and Boon. M&B readers still wait for the publication day of their favourite series. Something that Penguin readers gave up on awhile ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michelle - I was so glad to listen to this programme, not least because it made me realise I wasn't alone in some of my recent experiences. Secondly, I have recently read on some messageboards and blogs (sometimes by 'aspiring authors'), that there is something almost malevolent about publishers and the way they market books. If you want to be published then people have to want to buy your book. That process us a team effort - the initial manuscript has to be the author's alone but once it reaches an editor who loves it, there is so much more that can be done to make it the best book possible. Who really wants to publish a book that no one wants to read?

(And battered and bruised is so much easier to bear when you know it's not just you!)