Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Luncheon with writing friends

I just returned from a delightful lunch at Mimi's resturant in Sandy. There were several other members of A.I. (Author's Incognito, an LDS writers' group). It was fun discussing each other's work, chatting about books, writing, publishing, and the size of desert portions. A topic that seemed to linger, at least longer than desert protion size, was the quality, or the lack there of, of small press publications. Of the recent books I've read, I've noticed a stark contrast in my ability to set down the red pen and enjoy the story between nationally published books and locally published books. I feared maybe I was being too critical, or perhaps I just read the few exceptions to the rule. But when this topic was discussed today, I found I was not alone. A question was brought up: why would these small presses allow such editing faux pas to occur? Things like multiple POV's in the same scene--or even paragraph, exessive use of adverbs, improper or excessive use of gerunds, or inconsistent descriptions, etc. We thought these small presses would want to work even harder to scrutenize and edit their manuscripts because they already have a disadvantage (size) when it comes to competing with the big guys in New York. But it doesn't seem to be the case. Then a voice or two spoke up. "If they can get that kind of stuff published, why can't I get my book even considered?" We didn't have an answer. Does anyone out there? Is it because we don't know someone, or we weren't in the right place at the right time, or maybe out stuff stinks and we just can't see it?


  1. Lunch was great! I enjoyed sitting next to you and getting to know you a little.

    As for the quality difference in nationally published books and locally published books, I think it might be a matter of numbers. The national publishers have more to choose from.

    As for the issue of "my work is as good as, or better than theirs," maybe it's like untried virtue (maybe my work isn't as good as I imagine it to be), or maybe it's like winning the lottery (they just got lucky). Who knows?

    I do know one thing, though, from my life experiences--if is meant to be, it will happen.

  2. I think they probably don't have the diverse number of editors over specialized subjects, and so their ONE editor may be partial to a certain style. But they are missing the boat if they aren't considering your books because I find them delightful, with rich images and interesting historical information. Maybe I should try to be an editor for one of these companies. Could I do that from home?