These days I am having a difficult time recognizing my colleagues on the publishing side and what they are trying to do to be successful.
They tell us (authors and agents) that an author needs credentials and a platform but when I present to them an author who is a leading character from a very highly rated reality show, they say they don’t like “the voice.”
When I present to them a biography of a fascinating woman who has just come to the world’s attention written by a very well respected journalist, they say “the story is moving too fast”—very confusing as what I am sending them is a biography not a news story.
When I recently sent out a proposal on using leftovers in other dishes and not disposing of food as we are used to doing, people told me there was no market and yet there was a huge front page piece in the food section of The New York Times last Wednesday about just this subject. Evidently, there are many, many readers who would be interested in such a book.
When I offer them a wonderfully executed proposal about a subject that is being talked about more and more these days and where the author has a video that has gone viral on YouTube, they tell me they don’t know who the market for the book would be and yet this past Saturday, there was a feature about this very subject that began on the front page of The New York Times and continued for a full page inside.
Finally, there was the New York Times piece, also in Saturday’s paper, about self-publishing and the fact that more and more people are doing it.
All of this makes me think that my colleagues on the publishing side have lost sight of the fact that in these new wild, wild west days in publishing, this is the time for them to take more, not fewer, risks. Taking risks has always been what the business of publishing is all about. There are no sure winners, guys, and the more fearful and cautious you get, the more authors will want to publish on their own—and won’t need you anymore.