The Stupid Publisher Cancelled My Book!

Over a year and a half to write, over 100,000 words of wisdom. Sure, I came in a little high on the word count, we'd sort of envisioned something around 50,000 words, but the editor loved it! In fact, we went through the whole process without any indication the book was in trouble. Editing, proofreading, even got a special cover design. Then, while I was reviewing the final proof, the axe fell:

"Dear Morris,

We're sorry, but we've decided that your title "The Publishing Blog" isn't a good match for our list at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and wish you luck placing the title with another publisher should you decide to pursue that course."

I can read between the lines as well as the next guy. The note might as well have read:

"Dear Morris,

We're sorry, but we've decided that your title "The Publishing Blog" isn't any good, you should take a match to it. We apologize for not being taken in, and wish you luck placing the title with another publisher so you shouldn't pursue legal action."

If I wasn't sitting in a cafe in Jerusalem drinking a beer, I'd be on the next flight to NYC to punch that stupid publisher out, but for one thing.

He happens to be me:-)

I wrote over a year ago that one of the most critical jobs for a self publisher is acting as an acquisitions editor. Well, I fell down on the job. I acquired my book for all the wrong reason, i.e., it was already written, it was free, and I wanted to publish something so the year wouldn't look like a complete waste of time. If I followed that course with other authors' books, I'd be publishing thousands of memoirs a month. When I got the final proof and had to sit and read the thing, I was forced to put on my publisher hat and ask whether it was worth publishing.

My answer was -Nyet-, and since I don't want to end up in a mental hospital, I'm not going to argue with myself about it. My main reason is that I'm an old fashioned publisher who likes books that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Books that take the reader through a process or an approach to doing something in a logical and coherent manner. Even after I cut twenty or thirty thousand words out of my blog, there were still a lot of unrelated and sometimes off-the-wall posts that applied only to such specific circumstances that they would have left plenty of readers scratching their heads.

I suspect if I cut the book all the way down to 40,000 or so words, throwing away 65% or so of the original content, I'd have something that, with a lot of work, I could turn into a book worth publishing. But I've already written one publishing book and I'm not in a hurry to do all that work to publish another one that says substantially the same things. The only thing I regret about it was a couple of the posts really made me laugh, and I'm always happy when something I don't even remember writing makes me laugh. It's a good thing I have a bad memory.

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