A Quick Chat with Harvey Thomlinson

Q: To what extent do you, as a publisher, work with the author on developing his/her work?

These days most things are done through agents. The author usually sends their material to an agent and the agent will help develop that work. After several drafts, the agents will then contact us and pitch the material for publishing.

Q: How important is community in getting published?

I think the United States community is very important. I can’t tell you for certain since I am mainly based in Hong Kong and the UK. Here it seems that going to graduate school or some other type of literary community is very important. Where I’m from, however, we get a lot of writers who have no formal education in writing. They just decide to write something and then they bring it to us.

Q: It must be very difficult to pick who to publish from so many great authors, how do you choose who gets published and who doesn’t?

It really depends on what type of press you are and what type of author you’re looking at. A lot of presses now specialize in certain types or genres so that helps narrow down the selection. It is very hard work though since there are so many good authors out there.

Q: What is the hardest part of being a publisher?

Distribution, definitely distribution. The biggest hurdle is actually getting bookstores to put your book on their shelves. Reviewing and publishing a book is pretty easy once its written, but then getting it into the stores is very difficult.

Q: Is it any easier to distribute now that e-books have become so popular?

We do publish e-books but most people still go to the bookstores to look at books. They’ll look at the book in the store and then if they like it they will go online and buy it electronically, so its still very important to get the book distributed out there.