on Anne R. Allen:
Once upon a time
Publishing used to be a leisurely enterprise. Authors could submit their work directly to the “slush” pile. Editorial assistants would carefully sift through the submissions looking for book that could be turned into solid commercial properties. Submissions were sent in hard copy, and editors’ offices were piled high with manuscripts. We had to lug three or four submissions home to read on our spare time. Editing was done in right on the manuscript, usually in red pencil. Time consuming but effective.
In years past, agents would take on projects because they loved them and would work with authors until they were ready for submission to publishers. Editors would often send an editorial letter to authors before they actually acquired their books, making suggestions how to make them acceptable. Publishers supported new writers with publicity, author tours, sometimes even advertising. The rule was that it was only on their third or fourth book that their fortunes would hit their stride.
It was all about the author’s talent and the books themselves.