"Longing" and other wicked words (Small Publisher Route #5)


My previous editor came to Santa Fe on a visit. We went on a getting-to-know-you walk up the local sacred mountain. "One word I hate to hear ..." I told her "is 'longing'. Editors use it all the time, as in 'I'm longing to read your manuscript'. It's not true. Editors are all overworked. The last thing they want is another manuscript thumping down on their desks. 'Longing' is one of the most abused words in publishing. I find it hard to trust anyone who uses it."

"But I use it all the time," my new editor said.

And indeed she was longing to get my manuscript, desperate to get it early. When the contractual period of ninety days for her response had passed my agent was able to force her to read it. Of course when she did the book was declared fabulous. In my experience, publishing is riddled and desperate with hyperbole.

It's one more reason why I am liking my current small publisher route. Bob never used the word 'longing'. In fact I don't remember any comment on the quality of ON SACRED MOUNTAINS whatsoever. He simply read the book within hours of receiving in it, and minutes later set the production process rolling. I could intuit from that that he liked it - or at least that he was betting his money that plenty of other people would. Publishers' promises so often have the substance of steam from hot coffee. It's refreshing to meet with action rather than words.

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