Publisher's reader

A publisher's reader or first reader is a person paid by a publisher or book club to read manuscripts from the slush pile, and to advise their employers as to quality and marketability of the work. In the US, most publishers use a full-time employee for this, if they do it at all. That employee is called an editorial assistant.

Most publishers in the US prefer to receive some type of shorter query, decide if the subject and author fit their current plans, and then request a copy of the manuscript. When a writer ignores this request or guideline, and sends a full manuscript, many publishers return them unopened. These publishers, then, wouldn't have anyone "reading slush."

The first person to read the submissions can exercise considerable influence over the offerings of the publishers for whom they work, and many unknown writers owed their first sale to a sympathetic publishers' reader or editorial assistant. A film reader performs a similar task by reading screenplays and advising producers and directors of their viability as a potential critical and commercial success.

External links

  • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica on publishing
  • Jeanne Rosenmayer Fahnestock, "Geraldine Jewsbury: The Power of the Publisher's Reader," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Dec., 1973), pp. 253-272.
  • Nash, Andrew, "A Publisher's Reader on the Verge of Modernity: The Case of Frank Swinnerton," Book History, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 175–195.
An Unsuitable Attachment

An Unsuitable Attachment is a novel by Barbara Pym, written in 1963 and published posthumously in 1982.This novel is notable as being the first of Pym's novels to be rejected by publishers after she had established herself as a novelist. The book was originally rejected by Cape, who had published Pym's first six novels. According to some accounts, the reason was its being "out of step with the racier literary climate of the sixties"; others say Cape and possible further publishers viewed it as commercially unviable, even when endorsed by Philip Larkin; - "It was a great pleasure and excitement to me to read An Unsuitable Attachment in typescript and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it continuously amusing and interesting - I have tried to keep my eye open for anything that would suggest why Cape's should not publish it, and I am bound to say that it still seems a mystery to me." This began a period in the literary "wilderness" which ended only in 1978, shortly before the author's death. Pym herself was not satisfied with the work; in a letter to Larkin, she later agreed that the lead character, Ianthe, was "very stiff" and that she had originally intended John to be a "much worse" character.Larkin wrote that he found himself "not caring very greatly for Ianthe...her decency and good breeding are stated rather than shown" and further observed, "I don't myself think that the number of the characters matters much; I enjoyed the book's richness in this respect. What I did feel was that there was a certain familiarity about some of them; Sophia and Penelope seemed to recall Jane and Prudence, and Mark Nicholas; Mervyn has something of Arthur Grampian, and of course we have been among the anthropologists before. What this adds up to is perhaps a sense of coasting - which doesn't bother me at all, but which might strike a critical publisher's reader - unsympathetic I mean rather than acute - as constituting 'the mixture as before'."

Bernard Miall

(Arthur) Bernard Miall (1876-1953) was a British translator and publisher's reader.

Christopher Derrick

Christopher Hugh Derrick (12 June 1921 – 2 October 2007) was an English author, reviewer, publisher's reader and lecturer. All his works are informed by wide interest in contemporary problems and a lively commitment to Catholic teaching.

Crash (Ballard novel)

Crash is a novel by English author J. G. Ballard, first published in 1973. It is a story about symphorophilia; specifically car-crash sexual fetishism: its protagonists become sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car-crashes.

It was a highly controversial novel: one publisher's reader returned the verdict "This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!" In 1996, the novel was made into a film of the same name by David Cronenberg.

E. V. Lucas

Edward Verrall Lucas, CH (11/12 June 1868 – 26 June 1938) was an English humorist, essayist, playwright, biographer, publisher, poet, novelist, short story writer and editor.

Born to a Quaker family on the fringes of London, Lucas began work at the age of sixteen, apprenticed to a bookseller. After that he turned to journalism, and worked on a local paper in Brighton and then on a London evening paper. He was commissioned to write a biography of Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet. This led to further commissions, including the editing of the works of Charles Lamb.

Lucas joined the staff of the humorous magazine Punch in 1904, and remained there for the rest of his life. He was a prolific writer, most celebrated for his short essays, but he also produced verses, novels and plays.

From 1908 to 1924 Lucas combined his work as a writer with that of publisher's reader for Methuen and Co. In 1924 he was appointed chairman of the company.

Francis Spufford

Francis Spufford FRSL (born 1964) is an English author and teacher of writing.

George Meredith

George Meredith, OM (12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909) was an English novelist and poet of the Victorian era. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times.

Geraldine Jewsbury

Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury (22 August 1812 – 23 September 1880) was an English novelist, book reviewer and figure in London literary life, best known for popular novels such as Zoe: the History of Two Lives and reviews for the literary periodical the Athenaeum. Jewsbury never married, but enjoyed intimate friendships, notably with Jane Carlyle, wife of the essayist Thomas Carlyle. Jewsbury's romantic feelings for her and the complexity of their relations are reflected in Jewsbury's writings. She also wrote encouraging other women to reach their full potential.

Henry Stenning

Henry James Stenning, known in print as H. J. Stenning and also known as Harry Stenning (1889–1971) was an English socialist and translator.

Jeanne MacKenzie

Daisy Jeanne MacKenzie (known as Jeanne, pronounced Jean, 30 January 1922 – 16 October 1986) was an English author of non-fiction. She was the first wife of the campaigning journalist Norman MacKenzie.

Julia Strachey

Julia Strachey (August 14, 1901 – 1979) was an English writer, born in Allahabad, India, where her father, Oliver Strachey, the elder brother of Lytton Strachey, was a civil servant. Her mother, Ruby, was of Swiss-German origin. For most of Julia's life she lived in England, where she worked as a model at Poiret, as a photographer and as a publisher's reader, before she embarked upon a career in novel-writing. She is perhaps best remembered for her work Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, a book originally published by the Hogarth Press and recently reprinted by Persephone Books.

Kellow Chesney

Kellow Chesney (3 March 1914 – July 2004) was a journalist, publisher's reader, editor and writer. His most notable book is The Victorian Underworld, first published in 1970. The writer William Gibson has stated that his depiction of the criminal society in Neuromancer (1984) was strongly influenced by this popular work. "I literally had The Victorian Underworld on my desk constantly, throughout the writing of Neuromancer, and for years after."-William Gibson

Mark Budz

Mark Budz is an American science fiction writer. Budz was born on November 1, 1960, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, into a family that traveled prodigiously. In the late 1980s, Budz moved to Oregon to become a full-time writer. Although he began by writing short stories, his novels such as Clade and Crache have been nominated for major awards.

Saul David (producer)

Saul David (June 27, 1921 – June 7, 1996) was an American book editor and film producer.

Scott Baker (writer)

Scott Baker (born 1947 in Chicago) is an American science fiction, fantasy, and horror writer. (Though his middle initial is M., he should not be confused with the horror writer who publishes under the name Scott M. Baker.) Baker grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, but more recently a bastion of evangelical fundamentalism and political conservativism, resistance to which has been one of the dominant influences on his life and writing. After graduating from New College in Florida, co-owning a leather shop in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and then dropping out of the doctoral program at the UC Irvine, he spent a number of years as a hippy, camping near Tassajarra Zen Center in the Los Padres National Forest and passing much of the rest of his time in various bars. Forced to the realization that he was not having enough fun as a would-be hedonist to justify the lifestyle, he decided to become a full-time writer. On the way there he became what may be the only person to hold a Masters of Arts degree in Speculative Fiction (Goddard College). After 20 years in Paris, where he worked as a publisher's reader for several French publishers and, less artistically, as a financial translator for French brokerage houses, he now lives in Pacific Grove, California. His first novel, Symbiote's Crown (l'Idiot-roi) received the French "Prix Apollo" award. This novel was science fiction. He won a World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction in 1985 for Still Life with Scorpion, and has been nominated for the award three other times. Baker was co-author of the screenplay for the French film LITAN, which won the "Prix de la Critique" (Critic's Prize) at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in 1982, and has worked on a number of other French films. He wrote some of the websites for WHO KILLED EVAN CHANG?, the web tie-in for Steven Spielberg’s film, AI (Warner Brothers, 2001). He has been a judge for the World Fantasy Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. Now in semi-retirement, he devotes most of his time to playing tennis, at which he is tenacious but not particularly gifted.

Stephen Watson Fullom

Stephen Watson Fullom (1818 – 1872) was a journalist, author of several books, and a publisher's reader.

The Inheritors (Conrad and Ford novel)

The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story (1901) is a quasi-science fiction novel on which Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad collaborated. It looks at society's mental evolution and what is gained and lost in the process. Written before the first World War, its themes of corruption and the effect of the 20th Century on British aristocracy appeared to predict history. It was first published in London by William Heinemann and later the same year in New York by McClure, Phillips & Co.

In the novel, the metaphor of the "fourth dimension" is used to explain a societal shift from a generation of people who have traditional values of interdependence, being overtaken by a modern generation who believe in expediency, callously using political power to bring down the old order. Its narrator is an aspiring writer who himself makes a similar transition at a personal level only to feel he has lost everything.

The Unclassed

The Unclassed is a novel by the English author George Gissing. It was written during 1883 but revised, at the publisher's insistence, in February 1884 and shortly before publication.It tells the story of a young, educated man, Osmond Waymark, who survives by teaching. He answers a magazine advertisement, placed by Julian Casti – a half-Italian who had felt himself to be rejected by society – for companionship and the two strike up a serious and deep friendship.

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