Thursday, April 09, 2009

editor's sad lament

Dear Publishing Gods,

Hi, yeah, it's me again. We really gotta talk.

So you know which book this is about (since you're the Publishing Gods, I'm assuming you're omniscient, probably omniscient third). But let's refer to it as Very Nice Book. My question to you is, why are you not making "it" happen for Very Nice Book?

Right. You're going to shout at me for looking a gift horse in the mouth, right? You're going to say, "Now, Moonrat, we gave you Very Nice Reviews for Very Nice Book. We also gave you Very Nice Media Highlights, and Very Nice Coop Placement in Major Chain Stores. We gave you Very Nice First Printing, and Very Nice Rights Sales. What more could you possibly want?"

This is the thing, Publishing Gods. How could I have all those Very Nice Things, but no Very Nice Book Sales? What went wrong? We have, by all accounts, a lovely appealing cover, a stellar title, an afforable price, and an enchanting topic. We got great blurbs, tons of buzz, and, as You mention, tons of store presense. So why is no one buying it?

I'm very sad, Publishing Gods. I feel like I followed all the rules, and I thought I was at the conjunction of "hard work" and "everything going my way." But I can't MAKE people buy books (that is, except for my mother; I've made her buy three).

Maybe You could give me some kind of hint. If there's a hoop, You know I'd be happy to jump through it. Even if it's on fire and there's a rabid bear on the other side.

Your baffled and mystified servant,



The Publishing Gods said...

Dear Moonrat,

Every generation needs their Job. Be glad we didn't have Harriet Klausner review it.

Glen Akin said...

Dear Moonrat,

For this Very Nice Book to succeed the way you want, for us to come down from our high throne and intervene, you KNOW what to do.

That's right. It's bugged you for days and days.

We require ... a human sacrifice.

In fact, three human sacrifices.

Your all-knowing and never-mystified dudes,

Publishing gods.

PS: Two packs of chocolate would be a nice addition too.

writtenwyrdd said...

The publishing gods are fickle, but easily swayed by...karioke. So go sing paens of karioke to them today! Before lunch, even!

I am very sad for Very Nice Book, though.

Sara J. Henry said...

Personal bookstore visits? (Lots of them)
Flogging on blogs and Twitter and Facebook?
Giving to everyone you know for birthday and holiday gifts?
Wonderful website or blog for book and author?
Clever web contests related to the book?
Regular newsletter for subscribers with quizzes and prizes?
Donating copies to every library you know - or asking friends to request it there?

Lafferty Johnson said...

This is so true. There are lots of prayers going to the publishing gods? Maybe they are deaf since they are known for reading...but where do I mail a letter?

PurpleClover said...

That's why you start a nationwide bookclub and force everyone to read it first. Then start another bookclub and force everyone to read it.

Send a copy to the Obama's, Paris, and Linsey Lohan and ask them to hold it while they are in line to get coffee. If the pap's print the photo...WHAMMO!

Jolie said...

Dear Moonrat,


Yours in Holy Shallowness,

The Pub Gods

Ulysses said...

In the immortal words of Jean-Luc Picard: "It is possible to do everything right and still lose."

Word verification (you're not going to believe this): hymen.

Really. I'm not making this up.

clindsay said...

The Publishing Gods were laid off two weeks ago. Their assistants are running things now.

Kristan said...

Aw... But I bet agents, editors, and especially authors think this all the time.

(Still it's nice to see that an editor really cares!)

Sarah Laurenson said...

The Publishing Gods are shaking their collective heads. It's those darn fickle readers. They're too busy arguing about the voice option on Kindle2.

[Sorry to hear about Very Nice Book.]

JES said...

I like PurpleClover's suggestion.

In the meantime, I have a feeling the Publishing Gods read your entreaty and then bucked it across the hall to the Pop Culture Gods, with a note saying something like, "Did you have anything to do with this?"

Already, the Pop Culture Gods have begun formulating excuses. Which you may or may not ever get to hear; the Pop Culture Gods are easily distracted.

Kim Kasch said...

And right now is a hard time for every one, including Very Nice Book.


It's a sad reality - a lot of people are losing things rather than buying things.

Hopefully, things will turn around SOON.

moonrat said...

ahahahaha. i love you guys. you always cheer me up.


who is the wiseacre who posted the first comment? COME FORTH.

Anonymous said...

Hey Moonrat, this is Seshat - goddess, scribe, stick figure. I've heard your plea. I think you already know what you must do: Sacrifice your anonymity. Yes, it is time to reveal said book, even if some of your more fiendish readers can then connect the dots and figure out who you are.

Why have a devoted readership if you can't ask them a favor now and then? I mean, give give give is good and all, but every now and then you gotta ask something in return. Especially if it's for the good of the word. Or at least that's what my daddy/husband (it's complicated) Thoth the Scribe would say. And take it from me, you don't want to get him mad.

Reveal the book.

Ankh you!

Merry Monteleone said...


I actually agree with the last anon. It would sacrifice your anonymity, though. On the other hand, only your followers and some who pay very close attention to researching submissions would know, so you might not get too much of a slurry of slush because of it...


The only other thing I can think of is to tip off the people who already know who you are and have a blog following and ask them to buzz the book far and wide... with author interviews and such.

I'm really sorry about the sales, moonie, but the author must be thrilled to work with an editor that is so invested.

Jolie said...

Re: what Merry said, I'll volunteer to buzz it. Granted I don't have much of a blog following, but I still know some book-loving people online and in real life.

Miriam S.Forster said...

Awww... I was going to say something clever, but so many people have said funny and clever things already that my brain dried up.

Dang you fickle Creativity Gods!

Anonymous said...

Mercury is one of the publishing gods and he just went into Taurus for 3 weeks: not good. But Apollo, the Sun, is exalted in Aries, which is great, although a little better for music and poetry. Venus is retrograde until April 17th, and she rules beauty, love, and art. Jupiter is in Aquarius, which is supposedly good luck for Aquarians like me. I'm waiting!

moonrat said...

you guys are sweet.

alas, it's not the moment to start tooting my own books... i have to save that for when it really, really matters. i figure i only get one plug. ;)

jimnduncan said...

Perhaps if you wrap it in a plain brown cover, tie a string around it and put "Stimulus Package" in big, bold letters across the front? I might be tempted to buy it without even looking inside.

Anonymous said...

The book's not resonating with readers for some reason. Very Nice Book isn't getting the word-of-mouth it needs.

Ellen said...

If you had to take a guess, what do you think it is that's holding this book back from major sales?

cindy said...


publishing is heartbreaking, it is! i hope your very nice book comes out from the back of the pack to surprise everyone!!!

christine tripp said...

Just blame it on the "marketing Gods" and that they are busy spinning the books by "name" authors. We either laugh or we cry, just imagine how bad the author feels (but at least that person knows there is someone to share their pain)

Melinda Szymanik said...

I know what this is like. My book has nice reviews, nice sell in,advance paid off in first few months but within 6 months of the first book's release, the sequel (already completed and approved) is nixed (despite it being mentioned on back cover blurb of first book) due to first books insufficient sales. Heartbreaking is the right word. Its a cruel business sometimes...

Ebony McKenna. said...

I put in a call and this is what happened

"... thank you for calling The Publishing Gods. We are unable to take your call right now ... please leave a message after the lightning strike *kaboom*"

And then my phone went all Salvador Dali in my hand.


Bernice L. McFadden said...

Geez -- you sound like an author!
I guess we sit on opposite sides of the desk but still have the same complaints.