Category Archives: Publishing

Musings on the Role of the Gatekeeper

2433974084_b2b2f16587_zBoth writers and fans of thoughtful, literary fiction have long bemoaned the corporate gatekeepers who guard the entrance to paradise—i.e., having a manuscript accepted for publication. I go to bookstores and join in the moaning: Where are the independent voices? Where are the marginalized voices? Where will I find stories of tragedy and triumph among the impoverished and dispossessed? Where is the first novel that may be a little rough around the edges but still sets my hair on fire?

In a recent article in Publisher’s Weekly, author Chris Pavone makes the case that the system of gatekeepers works well. It is an intelligent, well written article, the gist of which is this: the industry, the book-buying public, and yes, even the writers, need gatekeepers. Even very good writers, he says, will be better writers and produce better books after passing through the hands of the gatekeepers.

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What Sets My Hair on Fire

5442414228_5963bf06c1When asked to name my favorite book of all time, I always have a list rather than a single book, but the list always includes Jack London’s Call of the Wild.  I read it when I was nine years old, and I’ve wanted to be a publisher ever since. (I also wanted to move to the Klondike and have a dog sled for transportation, but that’s another story.)

The ambition to be a publisher stems, I think, from two things.  The first is simply a strong affinity for the written word.  The depth and beauty of a well-written story is, for me, a thing to be treasured and shared.  The second thing is the wonder of discovery when reading something for the first time.  How amazing would it be, my nine-year-old self asked, to have in my hands a story that no one had ever seen, and have the ability to make it come to life for the whole world?

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