Monday, December 27, 2010

Out of the Hay Stack

One of the great promises of the vanity press industry is that it gives good books that were rejected by traditional publishing a chance. If I remember correctly, that is the argument Thomas Nelson used when they began the WestBow Press vanity press. I think it’s a valid argument, but finding those books is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

As I looked through the books published by one vanity press, I noticed book after book that were inferior. One book was about why we should all be obeying the traffic laws. By not doing so, we’re endangering people’s lives. I can’t disagree with that, but it’s hardly a book I would expect to sell. Several of the books were novels with titles that did nothing to encourage me to read the books. In one book, the author attempted to defend Samson against the attacks of theologians of our day. Essentially, she wanted to say that all the stuff that Samson did wrong was by God’s will. She’s so far off on what she had to say that I don’t think it’s worth the effort to state an objection.

But I know there are some good books out there. There reason I know this is because I keep hearing stories of editors liking some of the manuscripts they’ve been sent, only to have the manuscript rejected by the committee. Not everything out there is written by someone who is angered by something their pastor said or who wants thinks some commonsense thing they’ve thought of is particularly profound. Can I just say that if you discover that it is important for parents to spend more time with kids, don’t write a book about it. Trust me, we get it. Sadly, there isn’t a easy way to find those books. Maybe we should try harder to do that.