Fun with Gorok and Wulf
I had the sudden urge to look at some of the chapters, particularly Wulf's journal entries. Of course, I had the usual writerly reaction of looking at those passages and shrieking in distress "Oh my God! That needs more dialogue... Speed that up... More detail there..." Sigh.
The Infamous Salon Article
If you read blogs by writers or editors, you've probably heard of the infamous Salon article by an anonymous "midlist" author
. (If you're not a paying Salon member, you can sign up for a temporary membership and watch an ad in order to see it. But at least the ad is about the environment, so if you're one of those "I hate advertising, it's evil and capitalistic" people, you can watch an ad about the environment without feeling too bad.) By the way, I put "midlist" in quotation marks because she got a $150,000 advance on her first book. Many of the midlist authors who read that ended up rolling on the floor laughing, or shooting steam out of their ears.
The responses to the article (there are pages of them, starting from here
) are fascinating reading. They were not easy on her. They had good reason to vent, too. Some found her whiny, others found her naive, still others found her all of the above. A few took those posters to task and accused them of being hateful and vitriolic, but I think they were missing the point of what was being said. The points authors were making include: 1) many busy, authors work hard at it and I wish they could make a $75,000 advance, let alone $150,000; 2) Being an author with a day job is not unusual, nor is it a sign of failure; 3) It's naive to think you will make a $150,000 advance on everything you sell, especially if the first book didn't sell well; 4) Writers write. To make money in the field, you have to learn to become more prolific; 5) People want to read good stories. Sure, maybe the article writer has a better writing style than most of the authors on the best-seller list, but... is she telling a compelling story?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying publishing is perfect. Far from it. But the Salon article is not really a story about the Evils of Publishing. If you want to read about publishing, look for sites and blogs owned by writers and editors (such as the Making Light
blog, which has a bit on the Salon article). You'll learn a lot more there. Oh, and there are some comments on it on scalzi.com