Well, not really. But he thinks Americana would have been, had he tried to sell it today. He speaks with the WSJ about Point Omega:
It’s tougher to be a young writer today than when I was a young writer. I don’t think my first novel would have been published today as I submitted it. I don’t think an editor would have read 50 pages of it. It was very overdone and shaggy, but two young editors saw something that seemed worth pursuing and eventually we all did some work on the book and it was published. I don’t think publishers have that kind of tolerance these days, and I guess possibly as a result, more writers go to writing class now than then. I think first, fiction, and second, novels, are much more refined in terms of language, but they may tend to be too well behaved, almost in response to the narrower market.
4 thoughts on “Don DeLillo’s Novel Rejected!”
Re “two young editors saw something that seemed worth pursuing”: today those two young editors are to be found working at an indie press. So while it’s probably true that Americana wouldn’t have been published by any of the big houses, it would still likely have been published, but by an indie instead. Which is why indies are the future of literary fiction – they still take chances.
True enough, Pete. So, really, the editorial and publishing infrastructure is there (albeit on a smaller scale)–it’s just the advances that have vanished.
This kind of makes me want to keep a running list of risk-taking books and/or authors signed by big houses. I wonder if we’d be able to find a pattern.
I love when DeLillo posits that big press novels of today “may tend to be too well behaved.” What a great way to describe works that are too neat and too craft-y, that lack meaningful messiness.
Agreed. Today’s market is cut-throat, and if you don’t have an almost perfect manuscript…well…don’t bother.