Books, the written word, would seem to be works of art.
A novel can make you angry over the fictional injustice. It can make you cry over the sorrows of fictional people.
But in the end, the process of taking those lovely words from the author's pen to your eyes is nothing more than an ordinary business.
You have only to read Linda Zecher's piece in the New York Times to understand this.
Today, she is the head of HMH, the publishing entity that remained after Barry O'Callaghan took his little Riverdeep publishing concern and swallowed up a few big whales like Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt, which went on to collapse under a pile of debt.
Ms. Zecher is a smart woman, but she was never a literary agent or an acquisitions editor. She did not arise from the educational publishing department at Pearson and then move through the industry as she climbed the ranks.
She started her work life as a scientist.
Like so many executives, she bounced around and climbed the corporate ladder, touching down for a time in software-related industries. Not a single blockbuster textbook to her credit in all that.
Publishing requires selling of product to succeed. Like any other business, the executives are crunching sales numbers in their corner offices, and it makes no difference if the product is textbooks or software or reams of paper. Profit and loss is profit and loss.
So when your literary agent submits your beautifully crafted novel to a publisher and it's rejected, keep in mind that your artistry is not coming into question.
It is whether or not the executives believe there is a market for your product, if they can make a profit from its sale.
Publishing is just another business.