A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How Sammy Got Tired of Bullshit Questions (about Opal and Blookers)

Will you people stop asking me to comment on Opal Mehta and Visawitha-whatshername? And this Maddox book deal? Jesus! Every day someone wants me to weigh in on this crap—again! Isn’t there anything else going on right now? I’ve told you a hundred times that publishing is going the way of the entertainment biz--all gloss and no hope--but writers still seem shocked when the shit hits the fan and some white elephantine truth is revealed. Or when some “satiric” blogger gets a book deal offered by some idiot publisher who thinks more in terms of hit numbers than rationality.

I mean, it seems logical, doesn’t it? All those hits on so-and-so’s blog translates to sales numbers, won’t it? Said blogger has an audience, right? No, dumbfuck, blog numbers translate into sales about as well as Greek translates into Appalachian. You will get a wave of sub-idiots buying up the book, but then the second wave will never arrive. Why? Because site statistics are like any statistics—they can be manipulated to say what anyone wants them to say. Just because someone visits your blog on a regular basis doesn’t mean that person is going to buy a book. Most fans are fair-weather. When the content is free, it’s hilarious and ground-breaking and fabulous, but when cash is involved, the content is amusing, but not worth $15. Think I’m wrong? Ask Howard Stern what he thinks. Unfortunately, the bozo publishers who make these deals apparently don’t read entertainment news, because they haven’t figured out that publishing is part of the entertainment industry yet.

Or, in the case of Opal, just package what you think little kiddies want to read and watch the sales numbers go up. Make it slick and glossy, put some sex and drugs in it, give it a madcap adventure or a really depressing teen angst plot, and then watch it sell like Real World on MTV. Forget there are real kids out there who don’t give a fuck if Opal gets into Harvard, because they will barely graduate from high school. How about some science fiction or fantasy for those poor souls? Preferably with some alien sex, big titties, and a huge moral dilemma that faces mankind, which is never fully resolved without more alien sex and more big titties. None of these actual readers wants to spend money on a book about a dipshit who is still so immature that she doesn’t know how to balance work and play, especially when their lives are going to be nothing but work. Sounds like an editor reliving her childhood, not the escapist therapy the average reader needs to keep going.

Figure it out, why don’t you? Even you published still wannabe authors…figure it the fuck out! Getting published has never been about the writer. Oh, it has seemed to be, but it’s not. When a great book gets accidentally published, what are readers to assume? That it was packaged just like all the other glop out there? No. The assumption is that this book must have been one that was MEANT to be written by that gifted, talented person, someone that the literary muses felt they needed to bless and get out to the masses to influence generations upon generations of hungry readers.

Oh, what happy horseshit.

Do you even know what a real writer is? No, it is not someone who likes to write. Nor is it a professional or published writer necessarily. It sure as fuck isn’t a wannabe (new name coming soon). A real writer is someone who is born to put words on paper—his/her brain is wired that way. These people live in a special world none of us can possibly understand, where words represent the very soul of the universe, and their life’s blood flows in a rhythmical procession of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, to a beat all its own, one that is unique among all living creatures. A writer is someone who will always, no matter what, go back to the words, the language, and the story. Through thick and thin, devastation and jubilation, the writer knows that his best friends are the words that comfort, fight, depress, and rejuvenate him. When all else is gone, words remain. They rebuild; they construct. Some destroy. But there are always the words for these people. Yes, a writer is language’s fraternal twin, not just someone who writes because its fun or it makes him money or it is his job.

There are very few actual talented writers out there—those who are born to write. Some of them will never be published, which would appear to be tragic until you consider that these scribes are happy just scribing, publishing credits be damned.

On a final note: A real writer can make you laugh, can make you cry, and can make you read until your eyes bleed or fall out. Real writers can change the course of history, cause wars, make peace, end famines, and elect a new pope. Most importantly, a real writer can get laid through his words alone.

How do you stack up to that?

PS My advice to K.Viswa/Opal: If Oprah’s people call, don’t accept the invitation…


  • At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fuck that cunt Viswanathan. Our country does not need any more spoiled, unethical, aspiring investment banker rich kids.

    She didn't even write the fucking book, it was ghost written. I am willing to bet anything her parents fudged that arrangement to get her into Harvard.

    Fuck her!

  • At 4:08 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    I know I'm weighing in late on this topic, but I wanted to thank you, Sammy, for understanding the writer's heart. I won't deny that I want to be published someday, but that dream is borne from a desire to share a slice of my world--be it fiction or non--with others. Writing is what I do because I have no choice. I can make money doing anything, but I don't function purposefully unless I share words--even if it is just between me and paper, laptop, whatever.

  • At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Damn. You sure do know a lot about writers. Really an amazing feat considering you can't write worth shit yourself.
    Your Pal,


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