Friday, August 14, 2009


Forgive me. I recently found out some news that threw us a bit for a loop and last week was spent in a haze of OMG-edness.

I’ve had lots of friends lately going to different conferences, and it seems like the concurrence of the editors and agents there is this:

they’re still selling books.

but --

It’s taking longer, and for less money up front. I’ve also heard (and spoken to) a few different agents who say: polish. Editors are more likely to pick up a book (even from a debut author) if it looks like there’s not going to be much editing to it. As in, it’s slick. Proofread. Ready to go. They say they just don’t have enough time anymore to edit (yikes) and they’re gonna spring for those.

So the days when an editor would buy a book and go through 3-4 editing rounds seem to be over. More’s the pity.

What do they recommend us to do, besides wait and wear out the boat waiting for the tide to come in? Write more. Edit your present MS to a shine. Get some crit partners, or find some beta readers that would be willing to read through it and offer their opinions.

What do you think of the current publishing slump? How are you getting through it?


  1. I've heard a lot of the same thing. Books deals are still being done, but less of them.

    And I've heard the same advice about polishing.

    Yep, that's what I'm doing.

    It's just too bad that I can't use my 18v Ryobi car polisher on my text. :D

  2. Congrats on your big news. May you have any odd food cravings met with speed. I do believe there is a slump happening, but I also think that bad news has a life of its own and gets the most attention. Books are still being purchase (I'm a debut author who just got a two-book deal, and while I'm still blown away that this has happened I'm living proof that good deals are being made). No matter where you're at with a book, whether it's still a draft, on submission, or moving into queryland, I think "keep writing" remains the best advice.

  3. I'm writing. That's how I get through just about everything:)

    The funny thing about this is I just wrote a post on polishing. Small world huh?

  4. I'm sure there's a 'writer consciousness' out there that prompts us all to write and think about the same things at the same time.

  5. I think they're still taking on writers, but they're cutting back and outsourcing copy editors, etc. Sure, polish as much as possible.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  6. What does this have to do with raccoons?

  7. Editors don't have time to edit. Agents don't have time to help market you. What are they doing with all this time?

  8. I just came from the SCBWI Summer Conference and the editors and agents there are saying the same. However, the children's market is still strong and growing in some ways. Picturebooks are in a bit of a slump, but they are still being published.

    I guess it depends on what you write and to whom it is presented.

  9. Some writers (*cough cough*) are already used to polishing their own writing (or having other writers/readers taste it before submission to real editors). For these writers, this news of editors preferring pre-edited pieces is GOOD news... those of us who do the dirty work ourselves and for our own peace of mind now have the upper hand against writers who previously wouldn't have, couldn't have, or just plain didn't.
    In the initial post, I don't know whether the blogger was talking about editing for content or grammar; but either way, the aforementioned paragraph still applies. Nevertheless, I thought it went UNSAID that writers are SUPPOSED to clean up their own work in both respects before submission.
    I don't want to brag. I just think it's an overall positive thing... I believe that there were just too many "writers" out there who wanted their creative genius to go on display but who didn't want to do the dirty and time-consuming work of polishing.

    For un-published writers, the "publishing slump" mean little else than "your dream, not having come true thus far, is being post-poned that much further" (although the exact opposite may be true if you consider the aforementioned paragraphs).


Join the conversation, add insight, or disagree with us! We welcome your thoughts.