Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rejecting C.S. Lewis: Contemporary Publishing Advice

Dear Mr. Lewis,

Thank you for your recent manuscript submission, Miracles: A Preliminary Study. I'm afraid that in its current state it does not suit our publishing needs. But we might be interested if you could implement the following changes:
  • The text is too dense. Add some bulleted lists.
  • Paragraphs and sentences are too long. Shorten them considerably.
  • Too many cultural literacy references (current readers want simple, how-to oriented tips; they don't want to think!).
  • Ideas are too intricately connected from one chapter to another, as though you were building a broad, integrated argument.
  • Make each chapter a self-contained, uplifting pat on the back.
The title does not lend itself well to current market trends. It needs more pizzazz. I suggest something along the lines of Be the Miracle! A Simple Guide to Fulfillment, Your Best Miracle Today, or Five Steps to a Miracle-Driven Life.

Also, is there a way you might tone down the religious aspects of your manuscript in order to appeal to a broader market? And have you thought about spin-offs and merchandising? You have enough text for several books, maybe a trilogy or a cycle. With the latter you might continue writing until the series becomes unprofitable.

Merchandising could include T-shirts, bracelets, gift books of quotations from your work, a day-by-day calendar, Bible covers, figurines, holiday ornaments, baseball caps, Miracle Oven Mitts®, etc. Give it some thought!

Finally, in skimming over your other manuscript, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I see some small potential. Have you considered removing the Aslan character? He's quite imposing. Or instead of a lion make him a panda, hippopotamus, or koala (our market research indicates that these animals are tracking well in focus groups).


A. Christian


Adel Thalos said...

Excellent parody!! Thank you.

Martin LaBar said...

Ouch. Sounds all too true.