Publishing 101: Infantilization & You, Plus Some Curse Words and Some Thoughts About Valentine's Day, May it Rot In Hell
That'd be a pretty funny scene, actually--get Mamet or LaBute to write the boardroom brainstorming, all those mean muthas laughing themselves to tears as they visualize the thousands and thousands of thoughtless and/or befuddled husbands and boyfriends spending the night on the couch, or on the porch, or in the hospital, for having forgotten the Godivas and the roses...
For the finale, though, we'll have to fire the artsy writer and bring in somebody who can really deliver the big ol' can of whoopass... The Wachowski Brothers, say (sorry, Mr. Mamet)--and instead of Da Govna, let's cast Keanu, who appears outta nowhere, steps up on the boardroom table, and says,
and blows them all away. Just make sure he incinerates the place after the blood-bath--can't afford for even one copy of that Valentine's Day memo to survive...
Over at Buzz, Balls & Hype MJ has likewise decided, enough of these damn Valentines--she's dropped the rose pedals and has come out with pistols blazin':
By "us" she means authors:
"Authors probably have less control over their own careers than any group of professionals but it takes us years to understand that. Long past the time it would have benefited us to know it. Most of us go into the dark the minute our agents negotiate our first sale and stay there the rest of our careers. So we don't find out when our book has been all but abandoned pre-publication. Or that there was poor sell in. Or that the coop's been scrapped. We're somehow not entitled to be told what is about to happen and get prepared. The non-communication is more than emotionally scarring, it is unfair to us professionally. It infantalizes us."
All of which is, sadly, true. ALL YOU NEWBIES OUT THERE, LISTEN UP: You, and your agent on your behalf, need to be pressing for answers from Day One. Yes, there are periods of intense contact and then long periods of quiet, and some of this quiet is inevitable. But once you're within, say, six months of pub, it's time to begin pressing your case in a serious way. [Details, you say? Ahh, yes--but I'm tired, so I invite you to read back issues of BookAngst 101, and/or Buzz Balls & Hype, or Publishers Lunch, or Paperback Writer, or talk to any writer who's been published anytime in the last 30 years, cuz sure as shootin' that writer's got tales to tell.]
But there's probably no business for which the old saw "if I knew then what I know now" is more apt. Doesn't matter whether you got $25k or $250k, Newbie: NOBODY's safe, so get yer schoolin' started NOW.
There's more I wanna say about MJ's post, but it's late and I'm so damn tired, doncha know? So maybe I'll come back another time and explain why, sometimes, we "motherfuckers" (no, she didn't really say that)--"editors, publishers, publicists"--can't (or won't) tell the truth... And for sure I'll offer my humble opinion as to why the editor MJ mentions, the one who refused to let an author correspond directly with a helpful sales rep is
"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."
PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]
"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."
PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]
"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."
- Return of the Returns
- Say You Want A Revolution? End the Returns "Subsi...
- BUY THIS BOOK! A Guided Tour of an Approach to Ma...
- The Curse of the Cardigan: Some Thoughts on Editor...
- A Dumb A** Notion
- Publishing 101: Infantilization & You, Plus Some ...
- Simon Says: Don't Say "Too Many Books"
- "Too Many Books": Shots Across the Bow, Vol. IV
- Apocrypha: the Final (or First?) Word on the Craft...
- SHOTS ACROSS THE BOW
- Bowshots, Pt. 2: Beyond 'A New Yorker's Map of th...
- Across the Bow, Pt.1: RETAIL
- Bowshots, Pt. 3: Costco Redux
- "Publish" as a Verb: Books on the Half-Shell, Par...
- The Half-Life of Shelf-Life
- Stop the presses! Labor unrest threatens blogosphe...
- ▼ February (16)