I Write, Therefore I Whine

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Toss up, a couple hundred pages of this woman's writing or a stint in Camp X-Ray? What was supposed to convince me that the modern publishing industry's focus on the bottom-line was mean, cruel, and capricious instead has me figuring that publishers don't do a half-bad job of giving readers what they want—if not need.

(via Metafilter)

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  1. Word, people. I read this article looking for snarky fun. Instead, it was whine whine whine. “What will we lose if writers like me stop writing? What are we losing now?” I dunno, we’ll lose some boring books? How do I know, she won’t tell us what’s she’s written.

    The article that follows is just as bad… “4. Read. Think. Enjoy and create culture. Encourage your friends, children, and politicians to do the same.” Strange, I do that already. It just happens I don’t read, think, enjoy and create culture that encourages whiney writing. It encourages writing with space battles! And unicorns!

  2. “It’s about what it will mean to you if the blunt force of commerce succeeds in silencing midlist authors like me.”

    One more reason to cheer the acvance of commerce.

  3. Hmmm…while I normally scoff mightily at the type of writing that Salon promotes as Serious Writing–and this is a good example of it–Reason may not be in the best-constructed domicile to throw stones after publishing Joli Jensen’s piece in this months’s issue. Not the best editorial choice.

  4. Deride her as you will, but she’s right on the money in her characterization of the decline of the nurturing publishing industry. Purists among you will no doubt applaud the cost efficiencies of corporate consolidation at the expense of the human touch, but it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of decent writers — myself included, thank you very much — got out of the writing business because we were more interested in telling provocative, controversial stories instead of churning out franchise novels, broad-appeal blockbusters, or gutter trash marketed to the lowest common denominator. “Michael Chabon isn’t one of those, Andrew.” No, he’s a terribly gifted writer. Not everyone who writes is terribly gifted. But if you can’t get to market because of something someone in marketing has to say, then how are you going to find out?

    Creative-destruction purists will say, “Hey, Andrew, you didn’t contribute beans to the free market when you were a writer. Because you are now a high-paid professional, you contribute productively to the free market. What’s your gripe?”

    No gripe. I can afford to do things I could never do as a writer, and I spend my days making other people rich. But I share that anonymous writer’s heartbreak. As do nearly all of the talented writers with whom I hung during my Chicago period (that would be the period of rampant publication).

    So, is the snarkiness in here because of her tone, which I’ll admit is a bit self-absorbed? Or is someone here — Jeff — trying to make an argument for the reduction of a vibrant (and economically inefficient) writing culture in favor of one that yields precisely the sorts of books that are comfortable for the bottom line?

    Thank goodness Poe self-published regularly. Otherwise his unpublishable tripe might not have troubled us.

  5. One of the best headlines for the blog yet–even though most of them tend to be amusing.

  6. “Although the author’s name and some identifying details have been changed, the facts, quotes, e-mails and tragedy depicted in this story are real.”

    Honestly, this sounds like parody. “The tragedy depicted in this story is real.” Sounds like SNL or Chappelle’s Show.

  7. Oh, Lenore, you’re so clever. Who could have anticipated such a question?

  8. Well it certainly makes book burning more efficient.

  9. Nevermore

  10. Andrew,

    Sorry, but the question has to be asked: could it be that your writing simply sucked?

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