Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Six Questions for Edward E. Wilson, Publisher, Absey & Co.

Absey & Co. publishes award-winning juvenile and mainstream/contemporary novels, as well as short story and poetry collections. Learn more here.

SQF: According to a report by Foner Books (, “[g]rowth stagnated for booksellers in 2008, and overall book sales barely moved according to the government.” In addition, I’ve read a number of articles concerning the difficulty authors are having securing book deals. In your opinion, what is the current state of the print book market?

EW: Republicans don't want people to read, or think. They have ruined early literacy. They insist on phonics, and that isn't how children learn to read. We've had Reagan, Bush and Bush, and they have systematically dismantled teacher education, teacher preparation and have insisted on Reading First crap and testing. So we have two generations of non readers. Until we dismantle phonics and testing, we will have few readers.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a manuscript?

EW: 1. Well written. 2. Well written. 3. Well written. That is the only thing that matters. The subject matter could be the shoe polishing practices of fleas, and if it is well written, then it is publishable. I see lots of good ideas. Few well written.

SQF: What major mistakes do authors make when pitching their books?

EW: My favorite is to tell me that their Aunt Tilly loves the manuscript and everyone they know knows it will be a best seller. Buy lottery tickets. That's more likely. And the work should stand on its own. If someone else likes it so much, let them publish it.

SQF: Of the books your company publishes each year, how many are by previously unpublished authors?

EW: 50%

SQF: What is your advice to new, unpublished authors looking for a publisher or agent?

EW: Know going into it that agents are vampires. Know going into it that rejection is not personal. I get way too many people who get their feelings hurt by a form rejection letter. Then when given the reason I didn't like the manuscript they go bonkers.

SQF: What question do you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And how would you answer it?

EW: Why do authors who have gotten ripped off by Publish America or one of the vanity presses think that counts as a real publication and then want a legit publisher to pick up the title?

P.T. Barnum said, "A sucker is born every minute." People in their quest for publication get suckered into print your own.   Spend your money by going on a trip, taking a college course, buying a heart valve replacement--get something real for your money and stop making the vanity press people rich.

Thank you, Edward. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 7/23--Six Questions for Gloria Mindock, Editor and Publisher, Cervena Barva Press

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