November 18, 2005

The Perspective of an Acquisitions Editor

The only acquisitions editor that's talking to writers out there on the web, at least that I can find, is Terry Whalin at The Writing Life. Since an acquisition editor is the key player in buying my book, I definitely want to hear what he has to say. And Mr. Whalin explains a lot ....

From this week's entries:

An itemization of the "big six" in publishing, along with their imprints (i.e., subsidiaries).

His perspective on agents, and how to find a good one.

A tremendous recommendation for the landmark book, On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

A discussion of the use of longer magazine articles as a springboard for a book proposal - with recommendations to look for these articles in O Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, and the New Yorker. The evolution of Janice Latus's article "All the Wrong Men," from magazine article in O to book proposal to Simon & Schuster's win of a resulting bidding war is referenced.

A lengthy discussion on how few books succeed - and how few proposals make it to book form, prior to that - that somehow leaves you less than depressed. In fact, if you're confident in your work and your vision, it's really rather encouraging.

And, yes, he's written a book, as well. It's called Book Proposals That Sell.

If you're writing for the love of writing, I don't suppose that this stuff means much to you. But my dream is more than that -- I want to see my work bound and shelved in a Barnes & Noble, as trite as that might be. And, that means I have to understand the publishing business, like it or not. Mr. Whalin's efforts to help me in that endeavor are very much appreciated. So much so, I thought I'd share them with you ....

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