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July 14, 2008



Hah! I had to learn all those nasty little bits the hard way. Notice that nowhere in that list does the editor think it's his job to actually edit the book. To an editor, the author writes and promotes, and the editor picks the cover and decides how much money the publisher will spend to make the book a success.
It occurs to me in context that not only the absence of cooperative promotion (paying bookstores to carry and display the book) but also the smaller size of the author's name on the cover may contribute to the uneven playing field out there.
Whatever happened to a sincere effort to promote all the books in the best manner possible?

David J. Montgomery

Good editors still edit -- and Neil is one of the good ones.

I want to add that he started off the talk by stating that he was going to discuss what happens AFTER the book is as good as it can be. I should have made that clear.

David J. Montgomery

"Whatever happened to a sincere effort to promote all the books in the best manner possible?"

This came up in discussion on another panel I attended. The scenario is impossible. Not every book can get co-op and advertising and tours and massive galley mailings and all the rest.

This is why I think that publishers should publish far fewer books than they currently do. If they significantly condensed their lists, they could do more to support each book.

Of course, this would mean that far fewer authors would ever see print. I don't think that's a bad thing, but aspiring writers might disagree.


Thank you, David, really. I wish I could've gone! It's really generous of you to share.



Very glad to have that editing business cleared up. Apologies to all editors who still work on mss. (Your title made this clear. Sorry for the careless reading. To me the editing process is of paramount importance in the relationship)

And yes, I agree that far fewer books should be published.

Sean Chercover

Wish I could've been at that session, but I had a meeting. Thanks for reporting on it, dude.

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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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