Monday, September 14, 2009

Genuine literary discernment is often a liability in editors.

I've completely forsaken this blog. It's sad. To tide you (all 10 of you) over until my next post, an excerpt from this interesting article (Redactor Agonistes By DANIEL MENAKER):


3. Genuine literary discernment is often a liability in editors. And it should be -- at least when it is unaccompanied by a broader, more popular sensibility it should be. When you are trying to acquire books that hundreds of thousands of people will buy, read, and like, you have to have some of the eclectic and demotic taste of the reading public. I have this completely unfounded theory that there are a million very good -- engaged, smart, enthusiastic -- generalist readers in America. There are five hundred thousand extremely good such readers. There are two hundred and fifty thousand excellent readers. There are a hundred and twenty-five thousand alert, active, demanding, well-educated (sometimes self-well-educated), and thoughtful -- that is, literarily superb -- readers in America. More than half of those people will happen not to have the time or taste for the book you are publishing. So, if these numbers are anything remotely like plausible, refined taste, no matter how interesting it may be, will limit your success as an acquiring editor. It's not enough for you to be willing to publish "The Long Sad Summer of Our Hot Forsaken Love," by Lachryma Duct, or "Nuke Anbar Province, and I Mean Now!," by Genralissimo Macho Picchu -- you have to actually like them, or somehow make yourself like them, or at least make yourself believe that you like them, in order to be able to see them through the publishing process.

7 Comments:

Amateur Reader said...

Now let's see. I am active, demanding, and well-educated. Not so sore about active or thoughtful. So that should put me in that 250,000 group, but close to the elite 125,000.

But I get all of my books at the library, so I'm not much use to that editor.

Great article. A mite depressing. Welcome back!

Vizionheiry said...

Umm, you have 3 blogs. Why not merge the content all on one blog? Readers don't mind all kinds of subjects from one filter, i.e. author.

Rebecca V. O'Neal said...

I prefer to compartmentalize my interests. And when my blogs were combined, I found that readers did tend to skip over posts that didn't suit their tastes.

Now, I have a personal blog, a literary blog, and a comic book blog. It's much easier for readers with relevant interests to find each of the blogs that way.

Also, I have multiple personalities and can't have them all blogging at one url!

And because I need another blog to neglect, I'm starting a new one dedicated to 50s and early 60s vintage fashion.

Thanks for reading!

Christella said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad you enjoyed it. Where is the new blog?

best wallpaper collection said...

@Vizionheiry i think so, if u merge the three into one it will be more easy to read.

easy said...

行動養成習慣,習慣培養人格,人格影響命運........................................

marly youmans said...

125K, half of whom are too busy and the other half of whom you don't know how to reach... (Well, he left that part out, but it is also true.) Daunting.