Below is the third installment of my interview with Ted Savas of Savas Beatie:
JW: Are there times when you have told prospective authors they're actually better off going with a larger publisher? If so, why?
TPS: Ironically, I initially told Gary Moore he should take his Playing with the Enemy manuscript to a larger house.
JW: I would love to hear that story!
TPS: It is hard to tell this quickly. Gary's first agent called me about the book and although it sounded interesting, it was not really what I was looking for, so I told him I was not interested. He offered to send the manuscript, and I told him not to. He did anyway. It sat unopened for two weeks on my credenza. When the agent called back, he said they had a new version and wanted to send it. I told him not to, but he did anyway. Finally, Gary himself called to tell me he had parted company with his agent. We had a long talk and hit it off right away. I told him the book was not what we normally do, and with a potential movie deal, he would probably be better off with a larger house. I think that resonated with him. He was not expecting such a flat-out honest response. He called back the next day and said my honesty was refreshing, he owned a few of our titles, and knew the quality we put out. He had several friends who had published with large houses, and he was not excited by the prospect of working with one.
JW: Why not?
TPS: He knows most large publishing companies do not welcome suggestions from first-time authors. He knew they would be difficult to work with on anything resembling an equal basis, and would likely remainder his book after a short time. He would be just another new author with a first book. A larger publisher has more muscle and can often penetrate the mass market better, but that is no guarantee that they will spend the time and money to do that, and they often don't because they have so many books to market.
JW: What convinced you to accept Playing with the Enemy?
TPS:I finally opened the manuscript and started reading it.
I read the first 50 pages and was absolutely hooked. I skimmed through the
rest, saw where it was going, and called Gary's
new agent back and contracted the book. To return to your other point if I may,
let me add that after working closely with Gary