The hard truths of publishing right now

There are some realities in publishing that are tough right now…


Original trade paper is now the way to go with many debuts. Hardcover is a tough sell and no one wants to be placing their authors out of the market.

The traditional approach (hardcover release followed by paperback a year later) is now an exception, not the standard rule.

I know it’s hard for many authors to get their heads around the idea that they won’t be published in hardcover, but I frame it as something that has to be earned and worked up to right now.


If a project is not amazing, editors aren’t buying. Editors see a lot of good things they might have bought 10 years ago, but right now books need to be remarkable to stand out in acquisition meetings and on bookshelves. That’s why agents are also extremely picky; we know how hard it is out there.  Continue reading The hard truths of publishing right now

What do agents and editors want? Writers, you tell us

The truth is no one knows what they want until they see it.

Editors and agents always say they are looking for a compelling story, great voice, proper pace, believability–and excellent writing. However, no one can say exactly what that will be until it lands in their inbox.

This isn’t the industry being fickle, it’s what fiction is meant to do: take us to a fresh setting we want to spend time in, introduce us to new characters, make us think about meaning in our lives in a way we haven’t before. As Steve Jobs said: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” (Business Week, 1998). Continue reading What do agents and editors want? Writers, you tell us