Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Books That Matter

By Addie Byrne

David R. Godine, Publisher, prides itself on publishing books that matter for people who care. So...what makes a book matter? And why should anyone care?

Having interned for a few months now at this publishing house, I’m beginning to get a real appreciation for why books matter. Books don’t just happen. In today’s world of blog posts, online status updates and tweets, it is oh-so-easy to lose an appreciation for the written word. After all, everyone can write! But not everyone can write books: there is a lot that goes into them. First comes the idea; some poor, suffering author has a thought in their head that they feel the world needs to know about. That’s the easy part. The hard part is being disciplined and persistent enough to turn one puny little thought into an entire book. Fighting through the self-doubt, the distractions, and the writer’s block, these long suffering authors come out on the other end with a manuscript, and you can be sure that they think it matters.

The next question is: does anyone else think it matters?  The author’s challenge now is to find someone who agrees with them; they must find someone who you’ve managed to reach, simply with letters on a page, who trusts your idea, and who thinks that more people need to read what you’ve written. This is surely one of the most difficult tasks for an author, but just as difficult for the publisher. Even a small publishing house, such as this one, picks so few of the manuscripts it receives. One must rely on a trained eye, good judgment, and at the end of the day, a solid intuition while choosing books. And that’s just the beginning. Then comes the extensive editing and publishing process. Endless emails are exchanged, meetings are held, and many water cooler discussions are had in an attempt to make a manuscript into a book. What does the book look like? What size should it be? What color cover, and what design? What kind of paper? What font? A whole team of people comes together to do work on the book. Together, with the author, they take these letters on pages and make them into something great, something beautiful…something that matters.

Now it’s ready for people who care. Why should anyone care about books? Because reading is fun! More than television, or movies, or video games, books engage a reader’s imagination, providing clues to create a whole world in the reader’s head. People should care because reading makes you smarter in so many ways. It expands your vocabulary. It teaches you about the world, be it real or imaginary. It introduces new lines of thought and challenges old ideas in your head. Reading, in almost everyway, expands upon your self. People should care because reading a book about the Holocaust can allow you to experience, if just for a moment, the fear and terror of the time. Reading a book about a young man’s coming of age in Africa lets you learn about a life completely different from your own. Reading of the death of a child can make you feel in ways you weren’t necessarily sure you could. People should care because books aren’t just books; they are experiences, they are feelings, they are moments of time trapped on a page, forever there to read. And that’s why we are people that care.

No comments:

Post a Comment