The 12 Reasons My Book Deal Collapsed

by Gordon Haber


You should see the other guy


  1. Because they were trying to anticipate what the reviewers would say and have me rewrite the book accordingly, which, I can tell you as a fiction writer and a book reviewer, is a waste of time.
  2. Because they wanted me to make changes to satisfy the marketing people.
  3. Because I was repeatedly asked, “Why do so many people die in this book?”
  4. Because I’d then have to repeatedly reply, “It’s about the apocalypse.”
  5. Because the editor didn’t understand that his role was to help me write my book, not the book that he would have written if he had come up with my premise.
  6. Because the editor’s comments about the book became increasingly confusing, even about changes that I had made directly due to his comments on a previous draft.
  7. Because they told me that the book was sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic, believing, I suppose, that a bigoted character means advocating for bigotry.
  8. Because I made a specific verbal agreement with the head of the company that he rescinded without hesitation or regret.
  9. Because when I called him out on it he suggested that I was naïve about business, and in a way he was right, as I hadn’t realized that he was the sort of person from whom you need everything in writing.
  10. Because although it is understandable when business folks try to protect their investment, success in literary fiction is ultimately a matter of taste and guesswork and not a matter of trying to anticipate the desires of the marketplace.
  11. Because they threatened to drop the book unless I made it into the book that the editor thought it should be even after the head of the company and I had agreed that it should be the book that I thought it should be (see #8).
  12. Because they had threatened to drop the book before, and they were doing it now, which meant that they would do it again, and I’d had enough.