Well, they do. But most books don’t earn that kind of money because the publishing industry is not about “getting more money for the same work.”
For a lot of them, a book is their passion, their life. So I think some writers, for a good reason, will take what the best-selling author has to say to be the basis for their writing. For example, David Sedaris told me once that he wrote four or five volumes of his book and the best-selling editor was in the middle of reading them and asked, “Where’s the next one?’ He didn’t realize he was the one. You read the stories and start writing your own story, and that’s the best part.
(I was listening to the radio this week and a story ran about a group of kids and authors who were talking about how they’d have loved not to work at bookstores. If you asked them what did they love, they all said, “Not working at the bookstore.”)
(For me, the big book publishing companies have a much broader view.)
Did you know you’d have to work for someone?
If you do an awful job on a book, you get hired, right?
So what if you’re one of the biggest names in the country?
(My reaction was kind of like I had a job offer as the top dog. My brain went, “So I’m going to have to have to do this anyway because I’m really the most talented at working at a place called Barnes and Noble because I’ve got that kind of power to get it done and to push books out.”)
How do you think a book editor is different from a publisher?
Well, I think the book editor’s job is not all that different from the publisher’s.
And the editor that runs a publisher, though, is doing much less of the heavy lifting—not being responsible for marketing, not having booksellers as far out of the way as a real bookseller, not having a whole lot of control over the production. They are a publisher in their own right, doing a book on the publisher’s schedule, so it’s like, there’s a certain level of control and we are more of a team and a team is kind of important to us than a partnership where I kind of have a lot of say in what’s happening. I think that we’ll be able to do really, really well because our team,
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