Stephen Burt's advice to authors

Stephen BurtOf course we’re very fortunate to have wonderful authors to work with at Columbia University Press but that might not be the case for all publishers.

Over at his always-interesting blog Close Calls with Nonsense, poet and critic Stephen Burt, author of The Forms of Youth:Twentieth-Century Poetry and Adolescence and Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry, offers some advice to authors interested in having a more harmonious relationship with their publisher.

The following are some examples of what authors should recited to themselves upon signing a contract with a publisher (you can read them all here):

I understand that those people may publish other books, from time to time, and may try to make some efforts to sell those books as well; I shall not regard myself as their only author. I shall not take up, unsolicited, more than half an hour per day of their time.

I will not try to design my own book cover, nor to lay out and decide on the graphic elements in my own promotional material. Should I forget myself and try to do so, I will not snap at actual designers should they attempt a redesign.

I understand that even though I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Garrison Keillor, I should not expect Oprah Winfrey to share my book with Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

I will never, ever, ever, check my Amazon ranking. By the way, what’s an “Amazon ranking”?

Leave a Reply