Should we lie to authors? • 17 March 2007 • The SnowBlog
Should we lie to authors?
I don't mean as a matter of course:
Author: "Hello, I'm an author. Do you publish books?"
Snowbooks: "No. We don't publish books. Goodbye."
Not that sort of lying. No. I mean what, precisely, should we say when we are considering, or rejecting author's work?
The reason this question comes up is that we have had lots of different conversations with lots of different people about their writing and we are often surprised by the results. Frinstance, we have stopped giving people any sort of feedback whatsoever because more often than not something which we think is constructive criticism is seen as a personal slur. People's writing is so closely bound up with their self that it's hard to untangle the two. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; it just means that there are extra sensititivies to be taken into account.
Let's say, for a moment, that the relationship between author and publisher shares many of the same characteristics as the relationship between a supplier and a retailer. Let's name them, to make the example come to life. Let's say the author is Robert Finn and the publisher is Snowbooks; the supplier is Innocent Drinks and the retailer is Planet Organic (one of my favourite shops).
Robert Finn and Innocent Drinks both have a product to sell, which Snowbooks and Planet Organic will then sell on at a mark-up. How does Planet Organic choose Innocent Drinks over an alternative supplier? They assess their value fit, for a start. Does Innocent Drinks subscribe to the sort of values that Planet Organic stand for? They also