Tuesday, January 22, 2013

...the more they stay the same

I have in my possession a curious rejection letter from 1953.

Unfortunately, we shall have to tell you frankly, as we would have done if you had inquired in advance, that we do not feel justified under present conditions in undertaking books of fiction by unknown authors. Both manufacturing and general costs are very high indeed in this country, and there has been a slump in the market for hard bound fiction, partly due to necessarily high prices, and partly due to the tremendous sales of paper covered editions.


They go on to say that if she were willing to finance her book they could perhaps take it on. Pretty sure this kind of offer is happening around the traps at the moment...

It's oddly comforting to know our struggles are not new, that the medium can change but the stories will go on. And we still read hardback books, we still buy them. And I'm considering buying an ereader. The world won't end if I do.

I don't have Miss Thompson's manuscript, but do have some of her short stories. And her own life was more fascinating that any book, even though much is still a mystery. She and I are not done with each other yet!

6 comments:

  1. This is scary! If it was happening in 1953, what about now? There's a lot more self-publishing happening now because it's so easy to do it in ebook.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's a positive thing - they were worried about paperbacks destroying the hardback market, but now both editions live alongside one another happily. Epubs are just another kind of edition.

      Self-publishing is a very interesting and kind of ugly beast. Will be interesting to see how it pans out. Personally I think editors are extremely important and I hope people remember this.

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