Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Book authors everywhere: stop writing

The plagiarism scandal involving Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan is a big lesson for
authors everywhere: stop writing for large, mainstream publishers and expecting to be published by them. Book packagers in collusion with these book publishers are creating their own products without ever having to look for, nurture and publish your new voice or talent. All of their books are created by committees based on what has sold well before.

Reminds me of the late fifties in the movie business. Big studios stopped producing and bought pictures from independents to distribute. This is the norm today. So whether you're talking about movies or books now, their distributors (mainstream studios and publishers) have abandoned their original editorial voices. Though profit has always been the motive, it was their original, distinctive look and editorial voices that led these studios and publishers to their original profits. I'm talking about quality book publishers such as Little, Brown, Random House and Knopf. No more. When I say original editorial voices in reference to movie studios, I cite MGM and its musicals, Republic and its westerns as obvious examples.

Authors and their agents shouldn’t ignore independent book publishers as possibilities for getting their manuscripts published. As a matter of fact, independent publishers such as Southfarm Press ( may be your only option in this conglomerate world. ---Walter Haan,


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