Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Vampires Killed Publishing


You know me. If I can possibly blame anything on vampires—from the Russian Revolution to the current price of gas—I will. So here’s my theory about why publishing houses are crumbling, book stores are closing, and tens of thousands of writers are wondering how they are going to feed their families this year. It has absolutely no basis in fact, so please don’t look for one.

From: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
To: Pathetic Writer @ Nowheresville
Subject: Sorry, Charlie

Dear Pathetic,
I’m afraid I have bad news. Despite the fact that your last two coming- of- age novels set in Small Town, USA, have received excellent reviews and done reasonably well for their genre, and even though your new proposal about a young nun who is struck blind and receives the gift of healing while on an archealogical dig in Syria does have a certain appeal, I’m afraid we will not be offering another contract at this point. The consensus of the editorial committee is that, while your writing is lyrical, your characters deeply and convincingly drawn, and your storytelling ability can’t be faulted, the whole just doesn’t make for a saleable novel. Best of luck in placing this work elsewhere.

Your (former) Editor

TO: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
FROM: Pathetic Writer @ Nowheresville
SUBJECT: Re: Sorry, Charlie

Dear Editor,
But I’ve worked for you for five years! My fans are begging for a sequel! I just bought a house! I don’t understand—lyrical writing, convincing characters, good storytelling—what else do you need to make a saleable novel? Isn’t there something I can do to make this story work for you?

Pathetic Writer

From: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
To: Pathetic Writer @ Nowheresville
Subject: Re:Sorry, Charlie

Dear Pathetic,
As you know, I love your work and really want to buy something from you, but please understand we have to be fiscally responsible. Lyrical writing, convincing characters, and good storytelling just don’t work for our list right now. I suggest you study what we are currently publishing and try to adapt your story accordingly. Charlie and the Vampire Slayers, for example, has done very well for us, so I guess my question to you is: Does she have to be a nun?
Best regards,
Your (former) editor


TO: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
FROM: Pathetic Writer @ Nowheresville
SUBJECT: Sister Sunshine, Vampire

Dear Editor,
Attached as a Word document please find my proposal for my new vampire thriller, Sister Sunshine, Vampire. I’ve taken your advice to heart and have tried hard to find something that will fit with your current list. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Fondly,
Pathetic Writer


To: Pathetic Writer @ Nowheresville
From: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
Subject: re: Sister Sunshine, Vampire

Dear Pathetic,
I’m so pleased you’ve accepted our offer for a six-book series of Sister Sunshine books! I’m delighted to be working with you again, and can’t wait to receive your manuscript.

BTW hope to see you this year at DragonCon, FantasyCon, SciFi Con and RWA, and don’t forget to get started on that blog!
Cheers,
Your Editor


To: Editor @ Bigass Publishing
From: AgentofMany @ Bigass Literary
Subject: Congratulations!

Dear Editor,
Congrats on snagging the deal of the century with Sister Sunshine! I agree these books are bound to make publishing history (although I confess I will miss the lyrical writing,deeply drawn characters and convincing storytelling of Pathetic Writer’s Somewhere USA books, which I find strangely lacking in the vampire series. I suppose it’s because they are written to such tight deadlines). I recently signed two clients on proposals similar to Sister Sunshine; would you be interested in taking a look?

Let’s have lunch next week!

Agent @ Bigass Literary


To: Agent @Bigass Literary
From: Editor@ Bigass Publishing
Subject: re: Congratulations!

Send them on!

Editor


************Press Release************

FROM: Bigass Publishing, NY NY

SUBJECT: Multi-Million Dollar Deal

For Immediate Release

Bigass Publishing announced today that, after a spirited bidding war, they have acquired World English language rights to Vampire Space Lawyer , the first in a planned 8 book series, for publication in early spring, at a final offer of 6.4 million dollars. “Vampire books are our strongest sellers,” said B.A. Publisher, President of Bigass Publishing. “We see no signs of this trend fading any time in the near future.”


To: Editor@Bigass Publishing
From: LiteraryWriter@ Patheticville
Subject: My next book?

Dear Editor,
I just wanted to make sure you received the proposal for My Next Great Work of Literature, the follow-up to the Nobel-prize nominee Debut Work of Literature. I know you’re busy, but it has been eight months sent I sent you the proposal, and since I was the youngest writer ever to win the Book of the Year Award I did expect to hear from you by now. I’m anxious to get started on this masterpiece, so I hope we can begin discussing terms soon.

I hope all is well with you.

Best wishes,
Literary


To: LiteraryWriter@ Patheticville
From: Editor@Bigass Publishing
Subject: re: My next book?

Dear Literary Writer—
I’m sorry. Who are you?

Editor and Sr.VP,
Bigass Publishing

FOUR YEARS LATER:

TO: Sales@ BigAss Publishing
FROM: PREZ@BigAss Publishing
SUBJECT: Vampires

What do you mean, there’s been a 20% decline in sales of vampire books? Our entire inventory is tied up in vampire books! You’re fired! The Editor of Vampire Books is Fired! All her writers are fired! So is her assistant, her cover designers, and her marketing people! I’m not throwing good money after bad! We have to be fiscally responsible!

And get me something about angels, will you?

******************************************

Okay, every now and then, even I have to get a little snarky.   Because the best thing about my books is that there are absolutely no vampires in them (werewolves are a different story).

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