Through Publishers' Eyes

The Pitch to the Publisher event organised by The Writers’ Collective of Manitoba at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg was a loud reminder that publishers are the middleman.

Writers need someone to take them to the Promised Land of readers.  Publishers are the necessary means of transport.  It is a land with falling demographics, since YouTube has more hits than book reviews and other literary articles. 
Writers are romantics.  They write fiction and non-fiction.  Publishers bind and market books. They do it to make a living.  They are not non-profit organisations.  

This was quite evident on 31 May, when representatives from Turnstone Press, Great Plains Publications and J. Gord Shillingford Publications listened to about ten writers pitch their work.  Maybe we should say, the seeds for intended book projects.

The public was there at the Carol Shields Auditorium because the Millennium Library is like an open university.  There are all kinds of classes for people who visit the library.

The dominant question after every pitch was ‘who are your readers’?  Another question was the genre.  Is this fantasy or science fiction?  My apologies, I don’t know the difference.

Publishers asked the same questions because they are the middleman.  They sell books according to aisles.  The grocery store has the detergent aisle, yoghurt, cat food, poultry etc.  Your local bookstore also has fiction, non-fiction, travel, biographies, Canadian writers, Manitoba writers, the list goes on.
What the ten writers took home that Saturday afternoon was a loud reminder that they should write for the publisher, if they want to see their names on book covers. 

The book market comes in gift boxes of different sizes.  If it cannot be boxed, it cannot be published.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.



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