Big publisher, little publisher

With the topsy turvy-ness of the publishing industry, we little spuds have been offered some delicious works by very big agents looking for good homes for their authors. These aren’t necessarily mid-list potential, but much higher.

Why is this happening? Well, sure it’s in part due to the fact that the big fish are conglomerates and concentrating on their blockbuster books in order to keep the garbonzo beans rolling in. But there is also another factor at work which was brought to my attention by a pretty high-up in-the-know-I-could-tell-you-but-I’d-have-to-kill-you person.

It’s frighteningly simple he told me; short-sightedness. He could just be right. Case in point; we signed an author whose platform is as big as the beagle’s lust for margaritas. The book is amazing. His agent was trying to push it to a very big fish in NY. Big fish really liked it but wanted some major changes made to the book. Changes so big that it was really a whole other book – the book that, ironically enough, the author does plan on writing. However, the agent was so pissed, he discontinued the meeting. I suggested that the second book is the one Big Fish will want. Pah, spat the agent, I’m SO over Big Fish.

What’s the moral of the story? Well, it’s two-fold. Obviously I’m going to bust my little hot buttered buns to make this book a huge hit so he’ll want to give ME his second book. Score 1 for Little Spud and 0 for Big Fish.

The second moral is that it’s often good to take Book 1 in order to get Book 2 – which may be the big hit. Big Fish is missing a big opportunity due to tunnel vision. That isn’t to say that Book 1 won’t do very well, because I believe this book will kick some very serious ass, but the second one will have much wider appeal. Obviously for me, this could be one of our big breakout titles. For Big Fish, it’d be another day at the office.

So while Big Publisher can, and often is, a great move for any author, it’s not always the wise move because their thinking and foresight can be like believing a schoolbus can turn on a dime.

Besides, what is they said about David and Goliath? I got me some preeety nice rocks…

4 Responses to Big publisher, little publisher

  1. Er, ah, cough, cough, I’m sure you meant to type short-sightedness, cough, cough. [Lynn:wheeze, groan…yes. Absolutely. I blame the drugs…]

    I hope you guys are thinking about expanding into genre fiction sometime in the near future. [Lynn: Actually, we’re in the process of making a number of changes, and adding more fiction to our lineup is one of them – as long as they’re socially relevant personal journeys]

  2. […] the kids and my wife are asleep. I could write the Great American Novel and try to sell it in the increasingly nonexistent book market. Or I could make suicide look like an accident so my family can get my life insurance. Nah, not […]

  3. Allen Parker says:

    I have thought that as you grow, agents would seek you out for better and larger books. Perhaps I am wrong, but doesn’t a publisher build on their previous successes and continue to get a larger slices of the pie?

    I hope so. I hope someday I will be sitting in the Waffle House near my home talking about knowing the publisher of . I would lie and say she tried to seduce me and take that great trunk novel from me, but I had to turn her down.

    Congratulations Lynn. I hope the book circles the globe. Let me know when you need it translated into Southern, y’all.

  4. Gutsy Writer says:

    Yes, it must be exciting for the smaller publishers these days. Congratulations. I hope to see you at Literary Orange April 4th. [Lynn: Pah, no invite this year, and I pitched too late. Maybe next year! Have fun for me.]

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