Are editors really in tune with readers?

Rejection hurts. Sometimes.

Like many writers, I have had my fair share of ‘no thank you’  responses from publishers.

It’s par for the course, goes with the territory, they’re not rejecting you just your work, get over it.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all the clichés but rejection is still something that needles me despite having a tough skin. You need a protective carapace if you are to be a writer.

Some writers seem to strike it lucky (whether or not their book is brilliant, good, indifferent or rubbish). E.L. James is one of those writers who appeared to wake up one day with a trilogy that had found its audience. I don’t know how much promotion she did but, if not a great deal, then it gives every writer heart and encouragement.

Problem is there are probably too many books out there, with writers now liberated by the ebook revolution and little in the way of serious criticism to prevent the crass and awful appearing for sale online.

This critical faculty is vitally important and it’s a quality that book editors are supposed to exercise. But with the book trade in a state of flux many editors these days err on the side of caution.

A bad decision is not good for advancement or career prospects.

But what does puzzle me is why some editors can reject a book pitch with a cursory dismissive email while others can appear to buy into the book, praise the writing, the characters, the concept only to veer away for some really nitpicking, trivial reason and pass.

I have books that have elicited a ton of praise from reader review sites, reviewers, book clubs and other potential customers. In some cases, praise has been effusive.

Who am I supposed to believe? A phalanx of readers telling me they love the book, when is the next one due or an editor who expresses genuine interest but, unfortunately, must pass because ‘our list is crowded’ or ‘some aspects of the plot are unbelievable’ etc etc?

At the end of the day, readers buy books and editors are the guardians or gatekeepers quite rightly keeping out the crass and the hopeless and the barely literate.

I think editors should listen more to readers and reader groups when they have to decide to buy or not to buy.

That is the question.


About thebookwriters

Award winning novelist, author and musician. This blog is for all book lovers (especially thrillers and YA); writers and book reviewers.
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