About a publishing experience gone bad... (I think)
I think it is commonly understood that, when a publisher takes on a new book, there was something about that book they felt that they could work with. But what about elements in the book that don't fit what they normally publish?
After months, or maybe even years - if it is the first novel - your book is finally finished and it says exactly what you are trying to get across. Then the process begins to get that masterpiece in front of the audience who wants to read it. And for a debut novel, don't we all still believe that we have to have a publisher behind the book? We read the small print for hundreds of publishers trying to find just the right one, and if we think our book might be a fit for a publisher, we submit. It's a tough out there.
This process alone might take months, and even years, while we work on the next book, and the next...you get the picture.
And then, out of the blue, the miracle happens - the full manuscript is requested by a publisher. You rush back to their website to remind yourself what they are all about, and while reading through their requirements, warmth floods through you. This is really going to happen, you tell yourself over and over, finally, your book fits a publisher's list who is willing to publish it.
What are they really doing to your book?
The wrong publisher, just like the wrong editor, can do a lot of damage to your book. If the submission guidelines on their website state that: they will only accept 'a touch of romance', but that, if they like it, they will publish it, believe them, because they are serious.
What that means is that, if your book contains more than a touch of say, romance, be sure that they will cut it out.
* Be sure to read publisher's/editor's websites and guidelines carefully.
* Pay careful attention to the edit.
If you don't, your book might end up on the shelves devoid of the emotions (or whatever element is close to your heart) you took a long time to get just right. Your book might become something totally different.
If they are only interested in a little romance, how much of the emotional content in the book is going to survive? According to Dictionary.com, the definition of passionate is as two people find each other and fall in love. In a romance novel, all the other elements, like the paranormal, speculative elements, the murder mystery, the crime drama, whatever, are all secondary to the romance. So, if the wrong kind of publisher cuts out the romance elements, what is left? A soul-less story that doesn't engage the reader on an emotional level.
It is up to the author how much he or she is willing to sacrifice to get that first book out in print.