Today I am presenting three projects to the editorial board (known internally as the acquisitions committee). The group is made up of people from various departments in the company. This is just one step in the long journey to publication.
What happens at this meeting?
Each editor acquires for specific lines: Llewellyn (divided by subjects, such as tarot, magic, self-help, etc), Midnight Ink, and Flux. Editors present projects that fall into their Â imprint, or subject area.
In preparation for the meeting, an editor reviews the proposal (made up of various submissions materials, such as a cover letter, annotated table of contents, author questionnaire, and either the full manuscript or sample chapters). If the editor thinks it is a good fit, he or she fills out a project analysis, including things like comparative titles, strengths, weaknesses, possibilities. We include how the project is similar to other items that sell well, and how it is different enough to fill a need.
Before the meeting, all the committee members are given copies of the editor’s project report and the submissions materials. They read the sometimes alarmingly large pile of papers, making notes of comments or questions to pose to the editor.
At the meeting, the editor makes a brief presentation (brief because the members would already have reviewed the material) and the discussion begins! Sometimes decisions are obvious and easy. Sometimes an editor thinks the decision will be easy and is surprised when it isn’t. When you gather a group of smart, talented, and experienced publishing professionals in a room, you can never be sure what will happen.
There are more steps that happen before a final decision is made, but this is one of the initial steps.
And so, this morning, I am off to such a meeting. I’ve been doing this long enough to harbor no real expectations. I’ll just have to wait and see!