From the Making Light blog. After quoting a review that takes the book industry to task for being run by accountants who are trying to get nothing but an instant profit, Patrick Neilsen Hayden, a practicing SF editor says:
Book publishing was never a heaven “run by editors”, and it is by no means today a hell “run by accountants.” If our “sole interest” was “instant profit,” not only would we never do any number of the things we actually do every day, we probably wouldn’t be in book publishing at all. Just thinking about what I did in the office yesterday, about a third of my time was devoted to putting together deals that will immediately put non-trivial sums of money into the hands of writers in exchange for books that we will publish months and years from now, realizing “profit” (if any) only after even more months and years have elapsed after that. In addition, I also spent over $2,000 on a piece of short fiction which will be given away for free on Tor.com, making us no immediate “profit” whatsoever. This was not an atypical day. And I’m quite certain this is true of my colleagues all over town. Betsy Mitchell and the other Del Rey people make long-term investments every day of the week; they are not slaves to “instant profit.” Ginjer Buchanan and Susan Allison at Ace are not “run by accountants.” The folks at Orbit US show every evidence of being in the business of “finding new talent, and developing that talent with the aim of building an author’s name”; if they were interested only in a “fast buck,” they’d be commodities traders.
Thanks to Dan for the link.