Making Books

I had lunch yesterday with a writer in Portland who works with authors.

Davia is great. She thinks big. She tries to draw out the best from the author and what will most help the readers. It was easy to talk shop for two and a half hours over chicken kebabs. The conversation centered around three projects and each existed across the range of feasibility.

The first project was ill defined. There was no one sentence description. Neither of us could get a sense of what would fix the problem. We spent the most time talking about this one and made the least progress.

The second project was promising but it also existed in this fuzzy realm. This author could write any of several books but none of ideas reflected who they were. We later exchanged emails on a concept they all had in common. It felt like the right book, but it was the one that was going to take craft and care to write.

The third was already done. The topic was timely. Demand would only grow over time. The author had credibility. The only question was how fast could it be written.

Books are a strange amalgam of author, idea and zeitgeist. Three months from now all of these books could be in different places, better or worse. It makes the work infinitely interesting and equally frustrating at times.


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