Confessions of a Semi-Successful Author

Today, on Salon [subscription or ad-viewing required], the travails of the mid-list author in contemporary publishing:

If you don’t want to hear about the noir underside of publishing — if you’re a writer longing for a literary career, or a reader who’s happier not knowing that producing and marketing a book these days involves about as much moral purity as producing and marketing a pair of Nikes — I suggest you stop reading now.

If, on the other hand, you want a sobering view of the publishing industry’s focus on the bottom line, go read the full article. I’m left even more convinced that many writers — and not just those writing for a scholarly audience — would be well-served by a move back toward a gift-economy model of publishing.

2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Semi-Successful Author

  1. Another response–flawed but entertaining–to that inflammatory whine over at Salon.

    I have to believe Salon published that article for the sake of attention. She’s not really mad at publishing–she’s mad at all of us for not buying her books in Grisham numbers. If we did, she wouldn’t have these problems with her publishers, and, aside from the fraudulent publicist adventure, you’d get no complaints from her.

    Chaucer and Shakespeare complained about their publishers’ focus on the bottom line. It’s bad, it needs an overhaul, but where does Ms. X get the idea it has ever been different? From her lottery-ticket wins of $150K and $80K advances? Sober up, Jane. That $150K could have been fifteen $10K advances instead, for books like KF’s and others’ that we, the public, deserve a chance to see. You win; we lose.

    What does this woman tell us that we didn’t know–except that you can get mind-boggling advances and still feel underpaid?

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