I was watching House Hunters the other day (aka the most addictive show ever) and I noticed some surprising similarities to publishing.
So many of the couples searching seem to have always had a dream home in mind. In nearly every episode the dream house includes an open floor plan “perfect for entertaining,” a man cave for the husband, and a kitchen with a huge island. And let’s not forget crown moldings, because we all know the world will simply stop turning if a home is lacking that vital detail.
One thing always happens by the end of the show: the dream home ALWAYS changes along the way. The prospective buyers quickly realize they’ll never get everything they want. Maybe it’s mean to say this, but it’s kind of my favorite part of the show–that moment when the couple realizes that the house they built up in their minds doesn’t exist. Because this is the part where they fall in love with the perfect house for them–even if it doesn’t have granite countertops, or a carpeted playroom (NEWSLFASH: YOU CAN ALWAYS LAY DOWN SOME CARPET OR INSTALL THE EVER-IMPORTANT GRANITE COUNTER, PEOPLE.)
The entire house hunting process really reminds me of publishing. Aspiring authors are always talking about their dream publishing house. Usually it’s whichever major house published those favorite childhood books, or one that works on a current best-seller.
I’ve learned a lot so far along the path to publication, but one thing that really sticks out is this: it’s all about finding the right home for the project, and usually we authors have no clue what that home is going to be until the offer comes. After all, we’re not searching for the publishing equivalent of a walk-in closet with enough space for our shoes and handbags (I doubt that’s a contract negotiation point even though IT TOTALLY SHOULD BE).
Especially if it were an exact replica of Mariah Carey’s famous closet!
Um…back to what I was saying.
So, we’re not looking for huge closets with pretty clothes. What we ARE looking for is the right editor, the one that believes in the work as much as the author and agent do. Once that happens, things tend to fall into place!