Tag Archives: publishing

page proofs

I just sent off page proofs to New York. This means that not another word of the book I’ve finished will be changed. I did something I didn’t expect. I took what I thought was some worldly wisdom out of the book, deleted it. When I wrote the worldly, warning words, I was adamant about keeping them in. I don’t like sticky sweet romances. I feel like they’re a lie. But in rereading the story again, I decided that I wasn’t being fair to the character, who couldn’t know what he would do in the years ahead, and that I was killing hope, that we begin everything with hope. Time or circumstances may change that, but hope is one of the most beautiful things in our lives. We’ve never dare to anything without it. So I dropped lines that were foreboding, showing what the future would hold. I decided they reflected my own cynicism. I don’t want to be a cynic. I want to keep  aspects of a child, but not deny the wisdom of my years.

What are you looking for when you read? An escape? Realism? Adventure? Why do we read fiction?

Back from New York

I’ve just come back from New York and an interesting conversation with my agent, who has been in the business thirty years. She asked me to send my next manuscript to her either PDF or as a word document because she was going to read it on her Sony Reader. She said that many publishing houses have bought their editors Sony Readers (Amazon has the Kindle) and that no one is lugging around big manuscripts anymore. Piles of paper are disappearing.

I asked her if reading on a Reader would be different from the flat page, and she said she didn’t know. I don’t like scrolling back to find something, am more comfortable with turning pages. I don’t like reading anything long on the computer. Is it all a matter of perception and use and custom? School children in some districts get more and more material digitally. Ten to fifteen years ago my son never thought of opening an encyclopedia but went regularly to the Internet for research. 

My agent doesn’t see the end of books as we know them, but she does say that publishing is floundering as sales and reading habits shift and change. Perhaps hard covers might become a thing of the past, as people don’t want to lug around heavy books and have the option not to. I don’t know how this affects me as a writer. It feels strange to be fretting over a Louis XIV plot line during this tense election and economic times anyway. I’m guessing there will always be a market for good stories; it is the presentation of them to readers, or maybe the scope of presentation, that changes. Certainly the way one submits a manuscript is. Wow.