This book has been a goldmine (SK is brilliant!) but what I want to share with you is something author Peter Straub said 1n 1979 when he was co-interviewed with Stephen King. I think it has HUGE bearing on the state of publishing today (the bold text is my addition):
But I have another little theory - which I've just invented - that the whole fiction market, the whole publishing world, changed a couple of years ago when the price of paper went so high. Publishers started turning down books that they normally would have accepted. It got much harder to be a first novelist. It was much harder to be a first novelist in 1977 than it was in 1973, when I was a first novelist. There was a certain handwriting on the wall, and I think one by-product of this is that many younger writers read the writing on the wall and wanted to exercise their talent in some form that would be acceptable to publishers. If you're very, very good - if you're really good - there's always a place for you: you're always going to be read, and you're always going to be published.
I can think of two mega-bestselling authors who have emerged in the last decade whose books were so poorly written they are intolerable reading for anyone who knows anything about writing. At the urging of my husband, I picked one up. He was sure the story would hook me even if the writing (adverbs galore!) did not. At page 50 I threw the book across the room, I was so disgusted.
Now, agents are asking for rounds of revisions from authors they would have signed without hesitation two years ago. Agents are submitting near-perfect manuscripts to publishers but are not having nearly the sales they did before. Newly published books are coming under harsh scrutiny for their "lack of editing." Hard times for all involved.
Could this be the best possible state for literature as a whole? Will this trial by fire "purify" what's being published, resulting in stronger books in the future?
Thank you Girl With One Eye for the Honest Scrap Award! I hereby pass this award along to any soul brave enough to comment on this post.