Squawk Radio

Thursday, March 09, 2006

BETTE DAVIS


She once said, "Getting old is not for sissies." Neither is being an author. Sure, without them I wouldn't have a job but what has impressed me over the years about these people goes far beyond that.

Those of you who have an interest in the publishing side have no doubt heard plenty of awful editor and agent stories. I have plenty of awful author stories. Not the point. The point is that the awful stories are outweighed 10 to 1 but the great author stories. They just aren't as bizarre as the awful ones. And by great, I mean great to work with. You probably knew that.

My great authors don't take suggestions for the manuscript as criticism. When you enjoy a true collaboration with an author there is just nothing better in the world. When you can sit on the phone yakking about the book and come up with specific ways that you and the author agree can make the book better and then she goes off and does all the hard work and you just sit around reading Cosmo and eating bon-bons and then she comes back and a good book is now a great book - heaven. Bring that sentence in and I will have it shortened for you by Monday morning.

My great authors like my trying to help them. I don't always succeed but they don't mind my having and airing an opinion. Or if they do, I haven't caught on yet. For my great authors, it is all about the book.A nd they are generous enough to allow me my day in court.

For those of you who want to be published, you might be thinking "Well,of course, I want you to tell me what you really think." No, you don't.You want me to tell you I love every word just as it was written and that frequently doesn't happen. After pleasing yourself, you must now accommodate another person who couldn't create a character if you held a gun to her head. Great authors must cultivate enormous patience.

See - not bizarre. Good people doing good work. But a point I felt I wanted to make nonetheless.

--Kate Duffy
Connie Brockway, 2:22 PM
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