Monday, November 24, 2008

(Un)block that metaphor!

"We have turned off the spigot, but we have a very robust pipeline"--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt spokesman Josef Blumenfeld, explaining the company's rationale for ordering its editors to stop acquiring manuscripts.

No, Joe, what you have turned off is the water supply, rendering both the pipeline AND spigot irrelevant.

20 comments:

Wimpy anon said...

Metaphor, schmetaphor. This is scary news for Houghton Harcourt, no matter how they try to play it.

poemhome said...

What goes around, comes surround.

Anonymous said...

Well, there goes the ball game! They do have a substantial back list but this is sad news indeed for a worthy house - and for some excellent writers.

Anonymous said...

Not that I agree with HM's decision, but as far as I can see, their metaphor seems more apt than Roger's. As I see it, the water supply is creative writers, who can be discouraged, but not turned off.

Anonymous said...

And when the editors have finished copyediting the manuscripts they did acquire, you can fire them. Or maybe they can work in the warehouse shipping Tolkeins and Curious George.

Roger Sutton said...

Yeah but HMH is saying they don't want any more water, which is why I'm wondering what they plan to do with the pipes and spigot!

Anonymous said...

Roger, you are fiddling while Rome burns.

janeyolen said...

Turns out that it's the adult books that are being spigotted (that's like garroting only wetter!). The children's books are Business As Usual.

For what it's worth.

Jane

Elizabeth said...

Jane, how did you hear that? I'm glad, of course...although I also think it's typical that none of the press coverage mentioned that! Maybe no one asked...

Anonymous said...

Yes, The Children's Books are business as usual. Thank goodness that Harcourt is part of their Realm! Oh, I forgot Allyn Johnston is not! I hope it isn't a trickle down. LOL!

Let's all buy books for Christmas gifts! (I'm preaching to the choir!)

janeyolen said...

Elizabeth--am not allowed to say. Trust me. It's reliable info.

Jane

janeyolen said...

And several other authors who have spoken to their editors confirm the same.

So. . .

Jane

PS Which doesn't mean that shoe number three won't fall later in the year. Or in 2009.

Anonymous said...

And as a matter of fact, the PW article did say that editors could submit book proposals to the editorial board for possible acceptance - not too different from the conventional (pre-Riverdeep) practice.

Roger Sutton said...

I guess Josef Blumenfeld was not the only one who did not speak clearly! My point was not to correct the man's figurative language, it was to show that he used such to make the situation look less dire than it was and--as they so often do--his metaphor bit him in the ass. Language has a justice of its own.

I asked HMH yesterday to verify, refut or comment upon Jane's tip but no one has gotten back to me yet.

Anonymous said...

see today's NYT for up-to-date info

Lois Lowry said...

I hate it when it says "this post has been removed by the author." It moves my imagination into overdrive. Roger lost it, heaped obscenities on the public, then had second thoughts? Or he had inside information about HMH which he was going to reveal, until he was threatened with legal action?

Or he just looked at what he had written and decided it was boring?

Not likely, that last.

Roger Sutton said...

No, Lois--I was attempting to embed the link to the NYT article and it didn't work. Have you heard anything you can share with the world?

Roger Sutton said...

I did just talk with a Houghton honcho and their response to Jane's assertion was to say that they had no comment. A smart move, I think. Why HMH ever made this announcement to begin with is one of those publishing mysteries I will never understand.

Lois Lowry said...

I don't know nothing. I live in the back.

Roger Sutton said...

It's pretty fun to think of Lois Lowry as the Mrs. Danvers of 222 Berkeley Street.