Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday 13 Quotes

Great quotes from the publishing business

I scanned the chapter headings of Olivia Goldsmith’s The Bestseller to find quotes that struck a chord in me, to use as signature line things. Then I counted the ones I’d marked—and found eleven of them. So, I picked two more to make 13, to share with y’all:

1. “In today’s media culture, the actual book is becoming an incidental by-product of a writer’s career—something to keep his or her name in circulation.” – James Wolcott

2. “There are two kinds of editors, those who correct your copy and those who say it’s wonderful.” – Theodore H. White

3. “Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” – Samuel Johnson

4. “No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” – H.G. Wells

5. “Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.” -- T.S. Eliot

6. “I see my [editorial] role as helping the writer to realize his or her intention. I never want to impose any other goal on the writer, and I never want the book to be mine.” – Faith Sale

7. “The job of an editor in a publishing house is the dullest, hardest, most exciting, exasperating and rewarding of perhaps any job in the world.” – John Hall Wheelock Sounds a lot like motherhood…

8. “Not all writers can work with all editors. A project that is taken on with great enthusiasm by an editor may bog down because the chemistry isn’t right.” – Betty A. Prashker

9. “A novel should be an experience and convey an emotional truth rather than arguments.” – Joyce Cary

10. “I’ve always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worries and only half the royalties.” – Agatha Christie. This is borne out by an essay on Holly Lisle’s website about collaboration.

11. “There are men that will make you books and turn ‘em loose into the world with as much dispatch as they would do a dish of fritters.” – Miguel de Cervantes

12. “The shelf life of the average trade book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.” – Calvin Trillin

13. “One of the signs of Napoleon’s greatness is the fact that he once had a publisher shot.” – Siegfried Unseld