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February 19, 2004

Your questions answered. Buried in the epic comment thread attached to her post Slushkiller—over 500 comments and counting!—Teresa explains how bad books get published, in a comment equaled only by her earlier disquisition on literary agents and how to discern the good ones.

Several people have recently suggested that Teresa start pulling this material together into a book. Hey, she could call it Maki—no, wait. [11:35 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Your questions answered.:

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 12:48 PM:

"…of making many books there is no end" – Ecclesiastes 12:12

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 01:01 PM:

I think she should call it How Not To Get A Bad Book Published. An accurate title, though perhaps not a good marketing choice, since the people who most need to hear it are blissfully unaware that their books, shall we say, need work.

Still, if she published this stuff and related material, I'd buy it even if she titled it Gnsfts Plrt G*f'trag, or even Kill Xopher If You See Him With This Book - though in the latter case I'd make a nice little slipcover for it.

Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 01:27 PM:

Just as long as she doesn't call it "How To Get a Good Book Republished With Old Typos".

colleen @ del rey ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 01:54 PM:

Ya know,I've been savoring this wonderful thread and wishing in my little heart of hearts that someone would put all of Teresa's comments together together in a pamphlet for every would-be author on the planet.

Of course, then I'd be force to add the necessary section entitled "How To Not Make Booksellers Hate You [and Make You A Spine-Out Forever] Once You are Actually Published..."


Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 02:12 PM:

Colleen, 'spine-out' is a term I don't know. What's a spine-out?

(Unless it's the obvious, which is a book whose cover is never displayed, no matter how much shelf space needs filling. Which it probably is, come to think of it.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 02:16 PM:

Xopher, it refers to how a book is displayed on a bookstore shelf: spine-out or face-out.

chun the unavoidable ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 02:24 PM:

The title of that book is, of course, The Naive and Sentimental Lover, and I've never met anyone who didn't find it their favorite Le Carré.

Of course, I've only met three people, all of whom are Schelling scholars.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 02:41 PM:

How about "Books Unmade?"

A wide enough interpretation would allow that to include both those books that have not been published for various reasons, and those books which were published in folly for the reasons that have been (and might otherwise be) enumerated.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 03:11 PM:

Subtitle: Publishing on the web to reach an editor - blurb: PNH touts another book first seen on the web?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 03:53 PM:

Of Making Many Books There Is No End. I kind of like that. Let me think about it.

rea ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 05:26 PM:

"'…of making many books there is no end' – Ecclesiastes 12:12"

I'm no great biblical scholar, but it is not entirely clear to me that the quoted passage is favorable to the idea of making many books . . .

8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity." 9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright--words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars F12 are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 05:28 PM:

(Thursday is doggerel day.)

Of Making Many Books There Is No End

The spavined pony, the legless mare,
the sulkie with a tire, spare,
the sure thing tipped of a stable's cat,
the long shot nestled neath one's hat.
The hopeful punters pawning coat, boots, hose,
to lay their all on a turtle's nose,
"With odds like that, we'll clean up big!"
(They'd be better served to back a pig.)
As afternoon slides into night,
they pray their dark will see the light,
and with one race their fortunes mend--
of making many books, there is no end.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 10:58 AM:

Just in passing, Of Making Many Books: a hundred years of reading, writing and publishing was the title of Roger Burlingame's 1946 history of Scribner's.