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tv   Peter Ginna What Editors Do  CSPAN  January 28, 2018 12:10am-1:20am EST

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breaths and from that mannerisms emerge so i saw that right away and a it was obvious i said to the director when i was playing let me get my breathing right if i get it right everything else with follow. you can watch this and other programs online at
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geerchg i'm bradley graham i'm co-owner of politics and pros along with my wife standing back there, and on what behalf of the entire staff, welcome. thank you, thank you have, very much for coming we have a terrific panel for you this evening. centered on a new book by peter right here. title what had editors do art, craft, business of book editing. although -- politic and e pros host many hundreds of author as each year, it is not nearly as common for us to host the experts behind those authors. the editors publishes and agents whose efforts are essential to
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the first and life of books. peter himself during more than three decades in publishing industry has had a range of editing positions he's worked with a small independent publishing firm and a scholarly one as well as with large commercial houses most of his time is spent in trade publishing most recently publish and editorial director at blooms bury press imprecinct he founded for new book peter gathered essays from more than two dozen contradict tores -- from across the publishing field. and wrote one piece himself -- the articles take read rs through ever phase of book production fromming by decision to editing process to publication, and marketing. later chapters provide case saids and look, at pursuing a career in publishing the book is time when significant and fast
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fast change in the publish and rise of amazon advent ebooks, and the growth of self-publishing opportunity all have contributed to shaking up the industry more in the past 15 years as peter notes in his preference. than in previous 50 years. but joining peter on the panel this evening are -- two other veteran publishing insiders and contributed pieces to what editors do. one with is -- cal morgan on the end there who ever spending many years at a very big house harper recently joined small very fine house of river head as executive editor. among the successful authors championed by cal during his career, with roxann jess walter, ameleah grey, jam and mitchell just to name a few. his chapter in what editors do
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is called start spreading the news about the editor as evangelist. seat next to him is executive editor at oxford, with university press, she's toxed much of her editing career on books about history from the ancient to the modern. among books and authors she winners of the pulitzer and prizes as well as "new york times" best sellers. her chapter in what editors do title of monograph and magnum is about editing works of scholarships. and speaking of university presses i should note that what editor do is itself published by one. the university of chicago. now also joining discussion this evening and filling out panel will be gail ross founder and president of the ross literary agency and a friend of --
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of might peoplings interested in getting book published often asked how best to go about it. well? general, the answer is to find an agent and gail who specializes in nonfiction is as good as they come and -- also to title truth and advertising -- gail is liz's agent for a book that lists current writing so ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming our very accomplished panelists. thank you brad. it's a thrill for me to be presenting at this store because politic and pros is always been a great supporter of the kind of books that i love to publish and to read, and many authors of mine have had terrific events here so it is a kick for me to be the person up front instead of the one standing in the back so thank you for hosting this channel and thank you for taking
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the time and taking the train in case of the new yorkers to be here. so what ed or doors do it seem like straightforward not to say obvious title but one reason i chose it is because i think most people don't understand what we do as editor but it is our own fault for a business it is all about words we have some of the most confusing ambiguous terminology of industry thatnd why and editor would be exhibit when you hear word editing you think about a person sitting -- making notes on a manuscript correcting grammar or making a note for the author or make this chapter shorter, swp -- these points around the but that's only a small slice of the pie of what an editor actually does. i think editors role in the most
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fundamental way as being a connector and the connection between writer and reader. and to the author and that is definitely a big piece of editor responsibility so you also are and trying to be that ideal it ultimate reader and deciding helping the author create the become and shape the bock in way that gets across most effectively to that person. that involves both working on the authors text the way i was just describing. but also the much broader task of bringing the read arer to the book. to figure out who those ideal
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raiders are for this particular work how you get them to read, want to read it in the first place. so i say editor job is breaking down into three phases that -- brad mentioned in his introduction they all overlap and some take place simultaneously. the first one is -- acquisition finding books to publish. in any ways that's the most critical part of the job because -- if you don't it find books to publish you can't do any of the other things there's no publishing house. second is what -- i call text development and shaping the words, the actual writing with the author. and finally there's publication that part of brings the bock out into the marketplace making readers aware of it convincing poem that this is a book they need to buy.
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an want to focus on one of the aspect of editing imil as an agent has a critical role to play in acquisition process is he's going to talk about what that looks like from her side. suzanne has read a terrific chapter in the book about working with scholarly authors and she's helped many academic writers did their first books for general audience. which involves often kind of intense editorial intervention, and so she can talk about that editing piece. and cal who -- has my favorite chapter title in the book which brad also mentioned starts spreading the news -- about the editors role of con vague his passion about the book out toe people is colleaguing in the publishing house and then out in the media and to book sellers to the world at large so he'll talk about that piece last. so gail, we're going to turn it
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over it you. tell us what agents think about what editors do. and one of the books i worked on when i first started in the business was by a -- a woman who had a testing device withs that was far simpler myers brigs and four kinds of personalities and she said to me after going around to talk to editors in new york that -- myriad of things that you do bring together two least complimentary parts of her personality, personality test and that know that it was impossible to do what you have to do. so -- here's to you all. i want to say that this is a fantastic book, in fact, i've read this book and learned lots about the process i didn't know and i'm buying a case and giving it out to each of my new clients because it answers all those questions and i won't have to
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answer them anymore. but in terms of what we do, we -- i probably work on a regular basis or a semiregular basis and interact with pain maybe 100 different people in publishing 100 different editors in marketing and such, and that requires -- i mean i think that three most important things to me are -- and passion and responsiveness. and those are probably things that my client would have said don't work for same people because it is hard to sit in a room and edit and make a big dole and those are not complimentary things and so what i find is greatst thing for me is i get to just talk -- i get to know all of these people and know their, you know, from sewing a book about depression i know every depressed editor in new york so i know who to sell it to if i'm selling feminist book i know
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their kids names i know their kids are going to school so inside story of -- or a book on summer camps i know qhiewz kids have a problem at summer camp, and that's -- that passion most of the poem that i deal with i've already made decisions about smart -- and responsiveness by working with people. but the passion stop they have to fall in love with this. this is your -- i always say that i'm a mid-wife of a project but this is your -- the next closest person in my authors life. and we need a partnership because they are that connector they are everything at thes house. and they only do things that i can't do. i need them to make my client better and fall in love and have passion, knowledge and experience and just care, and be their advocate all the way through an frankly it is hard to
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start out in this business and not know all of those things so i tell people to call me to tell me how can i be an agent to work for other a littles buzz those relationships are really, really crucial and because it is hard. you know it's not that they don't want to publish books but they have to go through so many hoops to sell in this marketplace today. that you need somebody who will fight as hard as i am and as hard as an author is for their work because it's tough out there. and it's the best thing in the world when had it works and a it's -- even when it doesn't work really big when you know that you've been in a partnership and that that -- editor has made your work that much better and worked their hardest to it make all of the different parts of the house they'll be talking about better -- and they have to do that to make that acquisition to start with they have to really love it and learn to love it as much as you do so that's concern a little bit and answer questions later but more -- >> ask you one question now because you talked about number
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of hoops that have to be jumped through in acquisition people don't understand how complicated and how business the acquisition process can be in a big publish house talk fors just a minute how that is like from your side? >> i'll work for a long time on a proposal to make it best it can possibly be and my intent was working on proposal with author is to answer editor and market questions before they have hem to anticipate what the problems are are going to be and try to best prepare in the proposal and in any kind of meetings that we have with authors editor and publishers to have those answers already figured out for you. my job is to make you as acquirers job eatier to give you ammunition you need -- in the proposal in with the author to make it simple but it is hard an some places you walk into where are boss and boss says buy it in most places you go through editorial meetings and a at the ed for and
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publisher loves it you buy it in other places you have to hear from sales, marketing and editorial meetings some are ledge dire and they're -- you know hundred people at a table and you have to go and then you have to go back to acquisition meeting after editorial meeting. so it can be hard but when they want it it can be fast. >> right. rights. all right let's -- ask susan about actual editing piece of the process. >> thank youing well i guess i first wanted to say for anybody in publishing world politic and prose is like disney world, the super bowl mecca willy juan ka chocolate factory all locked into one store because we try to get these seats for authors so i'm especially grateful feel like i won the golden ticket already. for being here and thank you all for coming this is terrific turnout my chapter in the book is about editing for writing means hard core pencil and paper. i had many hours of
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transportation where i could sit in my own little world editing and that make me very happy. i work with a lot of first time authors but i work with authors who have lost track of how many things they have published every project that i work on -- really requires its own diagnosis for what work needs to be done what work could be done, and what optimal outcome is for the author in the press. so i'm going to hone in as requested tonight on working with serious academics to want to write for a general audience, and in the fold that i work many which is history, there are a lot of them and not enough shelves in store for historian who is want to write cross or trade bock or o anything but the dreaded m word the monograph. but what does this actually mean and -- what does it require in terms of editor very venges it is a different challenge and book needs to make intervention in the field to make an argument that speaks to discipline or
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shakes up a log held belief to do anything to move the needle in terms of a conversation that has been happening in academia for a long time but in doing so for a general audience the author needs to wear his or her learning lightly to summarize key yses and how his or her own alters that own picture this is in the a place for offering the great intellect ideas on this topic and putting someone else's words first which is first thing that i normally encounter or when i see academics trying to do this kind of writing. this is where scholars go wrong there's over reliance on secondary source and sentences quoted completely out of context. or -- completely erasing landscape at everything that has been written before us so this work appears to be first of the only one ever written on the subject so there are things that go one direction or the other. finding right balance is key to the work not per sieved as light or popular but scholar peer and yet yongd spcialist.
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sm of the time for me there are products that i see and colonel of crossover book idea in what i'm seeing but i end up working with authors quite hard to develop ideas and structure and usually without an agent doing work before i get to see it. it's a much more organic process often like this weekend of going to a conference four days listening to people talk about their ideas. and then working with them afterwards after something that i decided that i think i really like. on turning points and key figures in the story, they may be human they may be animal may be landscape. on things like pacing and color and context things that trade authors i think often get, you know, much more easily than academics if i'm lucky it has a lot of these almosts but that's not the case but a rarity to work on a book like in the history of united states series with an author like richard white or gordon wood they already have publishing plat forms quite extensive within with and followingers and they
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already know they're writing for trade audiences how to do it instead it is more likely to see a project like tabs in disembodied torso and traitor and the gene crowe i swear i don't only edit women or american history so let me mention others that i'm sure here in the store jeffrey stewart new negro coming out. roy cry of the renegade and elizabeth read at heart. these are are not authors that come to mind when you think about american history or world history they're not david, and we work through these books quite a number of times i know a lot of people think that academic editors don't take time to do that. but there are number of us who do and it is not always, you know, a single straightforward edit but really working over these texts to think about the introduction and to try to craft a back to bring readers in. and that will allow extensively rrnlg deeply, deeply researched books and projects to a larger audience.
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means respecting a readers intelligence but not papering over ideas with with jargon showing and not telling us much about a place a person, motivation, political anding and cultural climate is possible i'm sure i'm down to almost my last second here figure ifing out how long a book is that is adeal for approach it is by a biography event book, a big idea book, a or narrative history no one has more time now to sit and read than they did it in the past and truly concentrate on the book. so we have to find works that are right sized or make them that way. ... >> susan works with historians.
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the balance between finding a balance between your rest the ignorance of the lay reader is something that anyone who is an expert maybe a journalist or science think tank person, sure many of you are in that category. cal, how about telling us about the editor as an evangelist. >> i first want to say that we pay tribute to our remarks here. my version of that is i would not be sitting here if it weren't for the guy sitting three chairs over. he was the first person said ever hire me into this. i was hired to be his assistant.
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a short time later i came across my resume and peter's desk. the red on top of it, specs. which is how he remembered which guy i was. i guess that's the impression i made. the spec wearing young graduate out of school who came and sat down and peter's office came to that room to talk about doing the job that susan just talked about. to talk about being in editor and to see and to spend all day long working with words and authors and filling more more rooms that look like my bedroom or this room, or what have you.
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the great china my first year to in the company we worked as a place where i was a young editor and you could begin to do that quickly. i have many viewed the by the book and spent some times coming through. it's how many, once i have bought it, do it you want. but one thing you find right away is how many people in the book started out at st. martin's press. the reason was it was a place for young editors could acquire books quickly without rhyme or reason and based purely on their passion for the book and the small but they wanted to take
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that there might be an audience out there for this first novel so was able fairly quickly to start doing that. i had a sobering second shoe to drop about a year after i bought my first couple of books. i did all of the stuff we talked about i felt proud that these books were doing what i wanted them to do. and i bet my work was done. i now had these books off to the marketing department. so then back to my this work which is,'s. the nothing happened. and i thought what is the piece of this process that i've missed. what i have done or failed to do to ignite the marketing implicit publicity and sales machine
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behind the book segments that it was the talk of the town in washington new york so big i talked to earlier was tom mccormick and anton looked at me which you still allowed to smoke in the office and large part because he ran the whole company. he looked at me and said you just in the secret of publishing which is that an editor is not just an editor. it has to be the associate publisher of all the books. he probably said his even though half of them were women. and i said that sounds great am i getting a raise?
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no, it means your responsibilities you neglected which you now to learn. those are the secret key to launching authors. we acquire books and bring them into the house and nurture them and edit them. but the thing that makes them connect is a vision for how to reach the audience. that is the spark we ignite. as i was thinking about the way to describe it the image that came to me, the things that happen to us as a little bit like a religious conversion. when we go home at night with the new manuscript, we made it follow love with it. we then have to do strange quick
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job of educating yourself about what we loved about it in very short words, probably shorter to describe why it is a lovable book. so that's effectively the conversion narrative. the editor brings into the publisher to get them to authorize and acquire the book. that carries on to the rest of the process. they share with the publicity they'll learn how to follow love with it the same way we do. so that when the book finally lands on store shelves like these is packaged in the right way and being promoted in the right way.
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>> about the right way so that when you folks are ready you heard of the book, see it in the right place in the source and have fallen in love with it. it's a big unknown part of what we do, the part toward your point is very difficult to reconcile but it could not be more important to the success of our books and authors. >> i think most of us get into this for introverted reasons. the way up to god be extroverted on behalf of your books once you're bringing them into the world. i have a couple of chapters in this book and also a chapter about acquisitions. the image that comes to my mind and it starts my chapter is, there's a spark.
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when you read something as an editor penny feel a spark, it might be the plot grips you are the author's way of writing or all of the above. maybe it's a topic you're interested it feels like this is going to be the book that tells that story. you feel the spark in yourself. you keep flipping the pages faster and you come to the end any say this is it. it's the beginning of that conversion narrative. >> the interesting thing is what i didn't say before in terms of how difficult it is to acquire, from selling a book and have several publishers interested in giving them the money to make an offer. my client always has a book deal. you guys lose your books at the
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end of an auction because my client can only pick one publishing house. i sometimes walk away and think how many hours did each of the other competitors spent quite through those hoops and falling in love with it. it takes that to get that. and yet those hours you have to go on to the next. >> a surprising number of people watch the bachelor. it may be because there's something we all feel that lines up with the tv show. >> it's passion. it's energy. that brings the energy to deal with everything else that's not as much fun. >> that passion is what you can feel in the moment.
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his half life can be just about as long as the auction. but if you win the book you hope that passion has a long life because you're going to live with that book for one year, three years, more. >> waiting a long time for the final draft to come in. but with luck you're going to win live without author for many years. we've had cases where you started with a small book because it has to do with the writer or something about their talent or connection that you want to invest in but maybe it's not the first book that gets you over the top. you have to live to watch them build and hope that passion sustains and the rest of the company see you can keep building to the part they break
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through. >> i think we should open it up to questions. we could go on talk about publishing at the drop of a hat. >> please step up to the mic so everyone can hear you. >> you talked in the beginning about heather's quickchange and industry and that all seems like something that happened to publishing. what would you all like to see change and something more active? something you want to see changed about it. >> first of all, i would not say those changes happen to publishing. some of them did some publishers were resistant to the kind of changes were talking about that
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affected the industry so much. publishers in a lot of ways has seized the opportunity. it took a while to learn how to do it. the publishers are now publicizing books and social media, there using e-books effectively, we don't necessarily like the changes all the time, were traditional minded folks in general but i think what i would love to see this for the industry at large to make an effort to bring people into reading and to improve and make books as big a part of the culture as they used to be. that's challenging to do with.
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>> this isn't something publishing can do alone. publishers have a vested interest in helping people in society spend time slowing down, thinking, and concentrating. it's difficult to keep up with the new cycle and try to keep pace with things. that does not lead to long-term thinking are people getting at the roots of what's going on now. i feel much more about the long-term roots of figs. children will sit and read with print books for a long time that captivate them. it's very easy to get turned on with the gadgets and lights and not concentrate. i love to see publishing to enable culture to get back to thinking and slow thinking.
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>> right, other questions. >> i have a particular wish for the future which is that every person who comes in to an independent bookstore and listens to people talk doesn't go home and buy their books online, they buy them in the store. [applause] and everyone across the country needs to take my pledge. >> good evening. i'm ron james. i have the privilege of having peter edit both my books. you discussed how editors work to persuade members of the editorial team, can you talk about editors working to persuade authors to consider a different angle or chapter during the writing and advising process?
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>> maybe one of you guys wants to step up to that one. >> a lot of times the long-term reading of a manuscript, writing on the pages and sending a letter to accompany the is met by an author whose excited to get feedback then has a deepening gloom. if you like maybe i'll cancel the book at that very moment. usually say put it away for little bit and come back to it. the weird chapter that doesn't fit their there's something it came from maybe there's a different approach or reason that someone stuck to it. at the end of the day my name is [inaudible] that book cover. if i'm like him on the acknowledgments. sometimes it's a matter of saying and showing why that book can be better as a result of
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thinking through it in a different way. maybe it's not having the impact that author wanted. rather than saying this is awful, what were you thinking. show how could be better. it's easier to do in the book is 50000 words over the limit. there's no way we can get this down without a coming up. >> i think ron's question is in just a something important about the editing process. i think this is a reason why i use the arts craft and business a book editing in the subtitle. one thing most part of the art of publishing is as an editor
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you have to align yourself with the author sensibility. you have to bring yourself into line and understand what that author is trying to do or what is the book trying to be. it's not always something the author fully understands as he or she is writing it. i sometimes get asked at dinner parties is do you have to argue with authors to get them to make changes? do authors get mad at you when you want them to do something different. i've never found that because my effort as an editor is to say here's what i think this book are chapters trying to do. it's not doing it. here's the best way can identify why that is not happening.
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if you do this you will achieve this better. if you're right in the author understands that you understand where he's going, you'll typically get them to buy into the changes. >> i was on my way down working on editorial letter which i finished in union station about two hours ago. one of the opening paragraphs makes the point that the editor has first understand the book nearly as well as the author does, you never quite can to get there but you get close. at the same time replicate and honor the reactions of the reader who knows nothing about it at all other than an interest to be entertained or captivated.
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to honor those goals while also working for the reader. in entering the experiences of balance beam thing that we do. >> there's a quote i came across from lawrence, i don't even know it it's from. but he said, never trust the teller, trust the tail. that's important. sometime you might be out of sync with the author but you have to trust what he or she is writing. if you can get that you can make the right kind of edits. >> say spent months or years nurturing this book as an editor
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agent. finally gets to publication and release and it lands in our labs. ufologist now, is there anything you would wish we would do differently with your babies when we get them the what were doing? we have an interest in promoting all the books we get. >> i'd like you to put on my face out in the front. >> all say that from an editor's perspective, one of the happiest and most surprising new things about the bookselling part of the chain in the past ten years is that booksellers now because of social media and because
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there's a more cultivated culture of readings and events in author centered long-term promotion, there's a conversation about books in the world that did not use to exist. it's about the fact that in the old days, even when we learn to be associated publishers and how to fall in love with the book and publish it, the story would when the book was out the door. it is now the case that were in the conversation as editors less often with you folks. there's a transparency that there's literal conversations and more activity going on in support of authors and books.
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it's not the illusion that if a book didn't connect in the first 36 hours or six weeks that it was done. i've been impressed by the new generation of booksellers that i've learned from a store like this that has been doing it right for a long time. and is making bookstore culture and indispensable part of community culture. you lucky enough to have strong outward looking stores. >> other questions. >> i spent about a third of my life in this bookstore. let clearly live turn have blocks away.
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i often run into books i think why does this book exist. [laughter] who's going to read it. he wrote it and i wonder if you folks think the same. >> i can respond that might be different than the other people that i work for university press and we have an important mission to disseminate information globally. because this is so old it's been happening for a few hundred years. that book doesn't happen unless it has a important mission. it's not just about what stockholders will think will
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sell or what will be a successful book. many of them sell very few copies and that's fine because they have that core is at the center of mission the money is really a critical part of the why the book is published. >> on behalf of gail and her colleagues, they do an important job for people like helen susan b filtering out what goods to us. what distinguishes a good agent is when you get a proposal of manuscript from her in a stack of be wasting her time.
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another book on the subject may be a problem a feeling of publishers in general is that there sometimes heard animals. there is a habit of let's publish something that was successful before. i remember being in an editorial meeting, a marketing meeting back in the days when serial killer novels were really big thing. the downside of success of thomas harris in silence of the lambs and everyone had to have serial killer novels. the question came up why wasn't
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this on the list. our director said i talked to the editor and she said, we've already got 51 serial killer novels under contract. that made me think that like 52 would've killed? [laughter] if you get a stop at 50 why stop at 51. imagine the glut to serial killer novels there was at that time. every publisher wants to have something like that. i felt like i learns the important thing i learned from working in academic publishing and academic publishing books
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have to go through peer-reviewed process. the book in susan's doesn't get out into the world unless some people who really know about this subject says this person is something important to say about it. people are gonna want to know they're going to have to reckon with this book when it comes out. i've learned from working there myself but the importance of zeroing in on who needs to read this book. and trade publishing you say this is so well-written i cannot put it down. you have to go beyond and asked the question, who are you going
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to sell it to. what's gonna make people review it or talk about it. that is a really key question that go publishers allotte edits asked. >> think none of the major publishers are trying to publish books that are not going to sell. there are three publishing lists, front list and those are the books that publishers acquire to be best sellers. and books where they think it will only publish x number copies and then there's backless books those make all the publishers that are in every store in america, every day of the week. they're automatically reordered whether shakespeare were "to
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kill a mockingbird", or whatever. those books sell year after year with no -- all year paying for his paper, printing and binding. today there a few of those mid- list books published. there are lots of books that are not selling that will and they thought they were going to be front list books when they were acquired. no one is trying to publish that mid- list. unless it's academic publishing. . .
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[laughter] right. >> how are you doing? i am a little nervous. do publishers take from this pile frequently in terms of short story collections? >> it varies from house to house. i think it still happens now and again but not as often as it used to but when i was with publishing working with a
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small literary house, i led the pile religiously every week i open the mail so that is what publishers call that the unsolicited submissions so dear editor please publish my short stories or my memoir or my fiction novel. you are not getting past that you say that. [laughter] we have heard stories those being discovered and having a bestseller and movie and those things that i could find i imagine and what i rapidly realized is the slush pile is full of/.
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people who don't have a clue then to send their manuscript to dear editor at harpercollins in general are not likely to have the mental abilities to make you a good writer as a full-length book it occasionally happens but if you don't have an agent at least read the acknowledgments of the book that they like and see who the editor is and then say i think that book is fabulous i hope the people who like his book might be interested in mind for the following reasons then they will look at the first few pages likely.
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>> the other thing to say is the slush pile is the outdated idea. years ago there was a physical slush pile because if you gave it to the publisher you would print it out and send it in. but but authors and riders there was a time not other ways to get noted. but you are not in that time anymore. but i have found myself drawn to myself is the emerging riders or first novelist and to be following a feminist not
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because there was a nicely packaged manuscript but i started to read her about the hurdles for a young emerging writer to get published now and is to get in front of editors like us is entirely different and much lower. and if the material is out there if you find a way to social media we will read you that doesn't mean a charity project. >> now and instead of the slush pile we have media and blogs and people self publishing their books.
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you can get an audience if you can generate good stuff. that will happen by word of mouth not necessarily a publishing contract but if people are responding to what you write. >> just to be a contrary and to do say i do have a slush pile i see submissions but it is a very large number. i have taken all kinds of projects out of that. sometimes the opening line for their writer suggested they come to me i have award-winning books others who are pushy and in my face but that doesn't mean their book will be taken. it is normally something i pick up and i am surprised after going through a dozen
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projects to say i really like this i don't care about the letterhead. maybe it is an academic but it is really good. >> could you give an example of those subjects you have worked with? >> i could tell that story for almost every book. one of the nice things about starting out with general interest is a broad range of projects i could start off on
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something that i grew up loving. some of the first books i worked on were biographies of film directors or music --dash musicians there was fiction that i liked when a novel crossed my desk with lyrical writing or adventurous punctuation i could be interested. the first novel was not a single, it was a 500 page suicide note. nobody got there about me by the way. [laughter] but every single book i had that experience. i can't stop thinking about this book. that's is how you know you want to work on it.
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actually the question popped into my head and this happens for one time or another reading a manuscript that i didn't think i had a connection to and then a place i never even thought about going at that time and i read this manuscript going from california to hawaii to fall in love everything about the island. she conveyed that to me.
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>> and i was completely captivated by this book. but i didn't think i would be but it was so well written to convey her passion so effectively. those are the happy surprises when you get something. of course you could read the new biography from john ford now suddenly you say wow. that is the most joyous experience that you have. as i started as a junior person publishing i inherited
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a lot of projects. but every note was a version talking about homework. but those that were not stepchildren they were like real children and the authors every part of their being that would outlive them by decades and i knew that and you see those authors and projects through through the author's death. with print on demand now they live forever but that author did not want to leave the earth without the book done that is a very full experience.
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>> it was mentioned earlier the editor's name appeared in the book is there an instance when you think that it should? [laughter] i worried about the spectrum how much writing and editor does i know with hemingway something was authored with the edited version and it was a full page describing someone leaving a room and he left. [laughter] feel you're doing a lot of the work? >> was have the luxury to have more choice in the projects require, generally i don't take on books that i feel i have to do this much intervention. when you are starting out or inherit a project that
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happened to me with a serial killer novel nothing i could have done would have saved it. but sometimes you have to take those that are not as well written and make more of a contribution. but if you are really trying to rewrite the book you are doing it wrong. mckay still find that every instinct i really like this. but it can be better i have never seen such a thing.
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>> it would be easier to rewrite this paragraph myself into paragraphs explaining the author to do that. >> there are stories that are hair-raising to the effect and editor did that to rewrite a paragraph then the book is reviewed and the review says this one paragraph was so embarrassing or the greatest paragraph. [laughter] then the author calls that is a very many reasons to be careful with your touch. >> just to wrap this up now having seen the business from owning a bookstore and now to have the run of working with
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gail what has struck me also i do buy from one of the major publishing houses that was infuriating and perplexing but fabulous and wonderful and rare on the other it is an industry where the passion is the metric. working on the proposal with an agent who kicked my butt for months until we got that proposal in shape that would not embarrass her and to be turned into a book. many meet with the editors and publishers and realize basically it is about a belief and that is so rarely the
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metric and that is the case. with the bookselling and we get dozens of book each week we cannot possibly read all of them and often they come with a robotic letter that says dear bookseller we thank you should love this book. but when i get a handwritten note from an editor to say i really want you to read this book and i know the editor i pay very close attention. that is another got instinct than buying the books publishing houses have representatives will you should order 12 copies maybe only order four. order 24 you go through a
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dance. we have to show them we know what we are doing but it is a gut instinct. i want to say one of the great things about this industry is passion of the editors and the author and the readers and the booksellers and the booksellers. [inaudible] [laughter] >> and with american editors with british editors.
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and i made an effort with my writing in this book to say and to be romanticized not demonized but mystified in the book. just like the people there is something romantic about that. that is to do that again and again. [applause]
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>> do not go home and order. [laughter] b5. [inaudible conversations] good night. welcome. how are you?


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