From HuffPost Books
by Michael Levin
It seems so… unliterary. But publishing houses despise authors and are doing everything they can to make their lives miserable. Here’s why.
Authors are admittedly a strange lot. There’s something antisocial about retreating from life for months or years at a time, to perform the solitary act of writing a book.
On top of that, authors are flaky. They promise to deliver a manuscript in April and it doesn’t come in until October. Or the following April. Or the April after that. This leaves publishers with several options, all of them bad: revise publishing schedules at the last minute; demand that authors turn in projects on time, regardless of quality; cancel books altogether; or sue the authors (as Penguin has begun to do) for undelivered or poor quality work.
Authors are also prickly about their work. There are few jobs on the planet in which people are utterly free to ignore the guidance, or even mandates, from their bosses. Yet book authors are notoriously dismissive of their editors’ advice. When I was writing novels for Simon & Schuster back in the late 1980s, my editor, Bob Asahina, used to tell me, “You’re the only writer who ever lets me do my job.”
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