Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In the Author's Shoes

The easiest thing to do is to judge others, but amongst the most difficult is to judge them responsibly. A person who works as an editor should surely be more conscious of this fact than anybody else. For an editor is empowered — to pass a judgment on another person’s piece of work; to wield her pen as decisively as a sword. Unfortunately, more often than not, if something doesn’t fit into our expected parameters, we are quick to reject and castigate it.

We have new recruits in the editorial department. One of them, a young man with some experience of having worked in a large daily, apparently intelligent, looked at the first script he got and within minutes trashed it. He did it with so much conviction, for a moment even i started doubting the script, though i had cleared it myself. When we sat down to discuss it, his biggest grievance was that the author wasn’t saying anything new. Only when he was made to understand that the author didn’t mean to write anything new since his aim was to provide a general overview on the subject, did he change his opinion. To his credit, he did understand the difference between his expectation and the author’s motive.

The question to be asked here is — is it necessary for an author to fit into your parameter? Or should your parameter itself be expanded to at least empathise, if not justify the author’s stance?

No wonders, best editors are the ones who themselves grow and evolve with each script they edit. The young man, I hope, like others who are a part of Wisdom Tree, is on course to be one of them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Publishing Grooms

A friend who is a publishing industry veteran recently shared an interesting incident. Almost thirty years back, his parents were looking for a bride for him. The prospective families, for obvious reasons, inquired about his profession. When they were told that he was in book business, all of them seemed to develop cold feet. Apparently, kitaaban da kam ( book business in Punjabi) was looked down upon as unprofitable and of low stature.

Around 2001, when i got into publishing, hardly anyone i met, knew the difference between publishing and printing. They thought a publisher takes money from authors and prints the book for them. Partly, Indian publishers could be held responsible for this perception as a lot of them were doing just that. So whenever i shared with anyone that i was into publishing, more often than not, what i got to see was a blank and unimpressed face.

Come 2008. The world seems to have changed, or is it Indian publishing that has! Publishing is now one of the most happening professions and Indian publishing is up there on the global scene. It has money, stature and job satisfaction. Being on priority in the marriage mandi may just be the bonus.