f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Champion

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Champion

The publisher you want to be with is not (necessarily) the one who offers you the biggest check upfront.

The publisher you want to be with is not (necessarily) the one who promises you the cover of Publishers Weekly.

The publisher you want to be with is not (necessarily) the one who gives you creative control over your cover.

The publisher you want to be with is not (necessarily) the one who praises your writing and makes you feel good about yourself.

These things are all well and good. But only if they are symptoms of something else.

The publisher you want to be with has a champion inside its walls for you and your work.

A champion or advocate understands what you’re trying to do, the message you’re trying to put to paper. At the same time, they can give you a sense of perspective about how best to reach that goal. They’ll be honest with you when you’re off course because they have your best interests at heart.

As well, they’re working inside the company to share you vision with all the other pieces and parts of the publishing company. A company is made up of individuals with all their idiosyncratic likes and dislikes. A book that resonates in editorial may make the director of marketing cringe for some reason. Or may get overlooked by a publicist.

It’s easiest to think of champions from the editorial side. But people in all departments can play the part. I can’t think of a book that’s done well without the strong support of someone in house.

I am an advocate for my books. So far, I’ve not brought a single title to our acquisitions meeting that I didn’t feel strongly about. There may be a time where I can tell a book works without being its greatest supporter. At that point, I’d either find someone else to champion the book or give serious thought to its place with our company.

Finding a place at a publisher is hard. The last thing you want to do is find yourself at a publisher for no reason but the money. This is a shared experience putting a book together. It’s good to have somebody by your side as you make your way. I could be that person for you. I can’t be that person for everybody.