Monday, October 29, 2007

Horror Story #2: A Spark of Cluelessness

From author Katharine Weber:
Imagine my joy when a handwritten letter from Muriel Spark arrived a couple of months after I (a perfect stranger to her) sent her a manuscript of my second novel, The Music Lesson. Her letter arrived just as the bound galleys were expected. Imagine my ecstasy when her letter included a generous and entirely unsolicited blurb.

Imagine my despair when I learned too late that my publicist had decided, despite instructions from my editor, not to bother including the blurb with the galley mailing because she had never heard of Muriel Spark and so concluded that nobody else had either.

5 comments:

David said...

Oh, Lord.

Eric Riback said...

Now there's someone totally lacking in curiosity.

Imagine of s/he had asked the editor, "Who's this Muriel Spark you're so interested in?"

Jennifer said...

Oh how awful!

I'd have taken all the books and hand written the blurb in them, lol!!

Darcie said...

Unfortunately you learned a valuable lesson about dealing with your house -- it's important to make an appointment with your publicist as well as your editor -- several months before galleys are created, or at the very least, before they are sent to reviewers. Most publicists welcome this discussion because they want to find out from the writer several things: Who do you know; what do you know; how you can help her/him; best points for the book, etc. We find that sometimes the best pitches are developed from talking to our authors.

Katharine Weber said...

Oh, I had that exact meeting and it had gone well, it seemed at the time. The Spark blurb came in months after that, I sent it to my editor who was quite excited about it, and since she said it would of course be featured in the material that went out with the galley mailing, how fortuitously timed this was! it didn't seem logical to think it could possibly be omitted. The editor should have seen the final material before it went out, however, and she didn't, owing to some difficult personal issues that kept her out of the office quite a lot. The responsibility for oversight was ultimately hers. We all learned a lesson, including the publicist, who left publishing altogether within the year.