Chapter 12
Editorial Woes

HOW WOULD you feel if, on applying for a responsible position, you were given a test with questions like this:

You are an editor forced to turn down a scholarly book which you think is a good piece of work but which will not sell. Which one of the following statements would best inform the author of your decision without discouraging him?
A. You'll probably think me grossly mercenary when I tell you that, good though I think it is, I must turn down your book because it would have very little commercial success.
B. You are obviously unfamiliar with the requirements of the publishing business -- through no fault of your own. The point is that your book would have a very limited sale, and therefore we cannot accept it.
C. Having read your book with great care, I must admit that it is a creditable effort. However, we doubt that it would have a great enough sale to justify our publishing it.
D. We feel that your book is an important contribution in its field. But, since so few readers are interested in that field, we find that we cannot fit the book into our publishing program.

You cannot, of course, ask your examiner what he meant by "would best inform the author of your decision

-165-

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