Your Non-Negotiables

Where do you draw the line?IMG_2820 CU

by Andy Scheer

The acquisitions editor asked me, as a literary agent, for a conference call.

She said her publication board really liked the nonfiction project, but also had concerns. Would the author be willing to make multiple changes?

What kind of changes, I said. Can you list them?

Let’s set up a phone call, she said.

Turns out, my client’s project encroached on uncomfortable territory. The denomination had not taken a stand on this point of potential controversy, and my client’s manuscript would make a de-facto declaration they weren’t prepared to take.

I hadn’t expected this. My client came from much the same church tradition. She had supported this view with Scripture. And it underscored her key message. Still, my client agreed to hear the editor’s concerns.

The editor found herself in a awkward spot. She really like the manuscript. She agreed with my client. But she had to respect her employer’s position.

The call didn’t take long. I backed my client’s stand not to compromise her message.

To her, the project was more than just a manuscript. She’d been living it daily for decades – and had been writing it for nearly that long.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]Only this house expressed interest. Now we had to tell them no.[/cryout-pullquote]

Of all the traditional publishers who’d seen the proposal, only this house expressed interest. Now we had to tell them no.

Afterward, my client and I talked for nearly an hour. She’ll update her proposal, including fresh stats and comments from people to whom her blog had ministered, people from categories of readers she’d not originally included. The next I researched some other publishers.

I knew many readers needed my client’s message – unfettered.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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