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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
- Less than 1% of writers with a complete novel find an agent to represent them
- None in the 1% is guaranteed a book in print
- Only 60% of agented books sell
Monday, June 29, 2009
A friend in the publishing industry told me yesterday that very good books by established writers are being rejected for being "too quiet." This applies to books about floods, rape, and radical undergrounds and war. My friend also told me that generally no editor is buying books unless the book is guaranteed to make $100,000.00 over the advance. This is depressing. And it also perhaps explains the following rejection , which I received very recently concerning my finally completed novel: "I so apologize for taking this long with the manuscript. I’ve been waiting for some kind of extreme intervention to swoop down and change my response, but, alas, it has failed to come. I loved the novel, and I did have a tremendous amount of deja-vu when reading and remembering the things that attracted me the first time. The wonderful family dynamic, the sense of place, the individual characters within the family. But, I couldn’t help thinking, visa-vi the “business” of publishing (I HATE when that creeps into my reading experience), I bet I COULD have sold this years ago, but now I think the only response I would receive from editors is “this is too quiet.” It sucks that this is the current attitude in mainstream publishing. And, I have very recently received this annoying response consistently in response to novels I submitted that, like yours, are beautifully written and well drawn..." It is ironic to have worked for so many years writing and rewriting, only to unveil (ta-da) at a time when we are at the absolute nadir of book-buying. Well, alas, indeed. I got close, folks. That interested editor from the wonderful publishing house, who loved the novel, passed it on to her colleague and I've been waiting for weeks on end to see if it was going to happen for me. However, the second editor wasn't as convinced, even though she wrote: "I am very impressed with your writing and found myself needing to read to the end to see what happened to [the two main characters], and to the rest of the family. You've done a great job embedding a spooky sense of mystery in these pages." She still rejected it, because the story wasn't for her and she felt that the balance at the end was slightly off; so I guess she wasn't impressed enough.
BTW, she is Lauren Wein at Grove.
Friday, June 26, 2009
News item: Former vice president Dick Cheney has signed a contract to write a memoir about his long career in government and industry, from his years as Gerald Ford's chief of staff to his prominent role in shaping the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policy after Sept. 11, 2001.
Your challenge: Propose the first paragraph of Cheney's book!
Sample: "Undisclosed Location, Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009: Well, the baton is passed. Our work is finally done. Eight years, one devastating terrorist attack, two wars and one recession later, it's finally time to relax. It's been an amazing ride. George and I can certainly say, 'We did it our way!' Or really, if you want to get technical about it, my way. Well, best of luck to this new crew. They're going to need all the help they can get. Or as I was saying to Lynne the other night, it's going to take an 'extraordinary rendition' to get us out of this mess. And with this bunch coming into office, you can bet it's going to be torture. Ha-ha!"
The particulars: E-mail your paragraph email@example.com by July 2. Please include your name and city of residence. We'll publish the best
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Novelist Jay Asher (whose suspense novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, is available from Razorbill/Penguin) posted the above rejection on his blog from Houghton Mifflin editor Ann Rider. (Her note reads: "I would like to spend a little more time with it if you don't mind. Sorry for the delay.")
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
In affectionate frustration,
PS: If you have any good markets to suggest, I'll thank you in advance.
Perigee is pleased to announce the winners of our 2009 Fiction Contest. Fiction Editor Duff Brenna, and our finalist judge James Brown, have selected three winners and two honorable mentions from a selection of 10 finalists.
Second Place ($200): "It Happened to River," by Rachel Allyson Stone.
Third Place ($100): "Camping," by Sarah Lynn Knowles.
Honorable Mentions: "Lessons in House Hunting," by Cynthia Drew; "Past Buckhorn Reservoir," by Elizabeth Kaufman.
Additional Finalists: "Color Me Normal," by Christine Benedict; "Thirty-Nine Minutes," by Sandra Jensen; "A Two-Chambered Heart," by Priyanka Joseph; "Shotgun Levine," by Hesh Kestin; "Population Me," by Kevin O'Neill.
The winning stories will be published in our 25th issue, due out on July 15th, 2009. Our congratulations to the finalists and winners, and our sincerest thanks to all who participated. Special thanks also to our guest judge James Brown. His insight and ear for the craft of storytelling helped make a difficult process easier, and we very much appreciate having had the opportunity to work with him. We invite you to read our note of special thanks by clicking here.
Your Friends in Art,
THE PERIGEE EDITORS