Friday, April 17, 2009

The Militant Writer

I've been following Mary Walters blog the Militant Writer.

Mary is a literary writer who has vented her frustration on the "Agent/Publisher" road block that so many of us 'wannabes' have mashed into again and again.

The replies include me "can I link to this?" to flames "grow up" and two "Rock Star Agent Bloggers" Blandsford and Reid.

My heart goes out to her, the trolls have smelled blood and they are coming in droves. Good God! I'm so glad I'm a nobody. I don't think I have the guts to do what she did.

I think of this as "The Absolution Method" (after a writer on Authonomy.com) in the tradition of 'there is no such thing as bad publicity," light the forest on fire and see who comes. It worked for Abs (as s/he is known) s/he is number 8 in the charts.

Hopefully no one will notice me.

This little exchange came from the blog. I see this as completely verifying Mary's point. This is her 'checkmate' moment:

“Nathan, have you or any other agents with whom you meet in those dark alleys, do you think, ever turned down a work of great literary merit JUST BECAUSE you knew it would not attract an advance?”

Nathan answers: "Of course I have. I have to do this all the time."

"But a question for you: what good would it do me or the author to take on books I can’t sell?"

The crux of the problem. The "chicken or the egg" paradox that we all want to know the answer to. Where did the literary mid-list market go?

Is it because no one reads it, or because no one publishes it?

I think that it is because no one publishes it. But that is just my opionion as a reader. After all, who am I? I give $200 or more of Barnes & Noble gift certificates every Christmas. I have $300 worth of Amazon.com charges on my Visa card.

What do I buy mostly? Mainstream novels. When I can't find those? I buy Romances.

3 comments:

Ms Kitty said...

Yes, I know it's tacky to comment on your own blog.

This is her point exactly and I quote Nathan without remorse. (Though I hope he won't notice me.)

“Nathan, have you or any other agents with whom you meet in those dark alleys, do you think, ever turned down a work of great literary merit JUST BECAUSE you knew it would not attract an advance?”

Nathan answers: "Of course I have. I have to do this all the time."

"But a question for you: what good would it do me or the author to take on books I can’t sell?"

The crux of the problem. The "chicken or the egg" paradox that we all want to know the answer to.

Where did the literary mid-list market go? Is is because no one reads it, or because no one publishes it?

Mynahnni said...

Charming Halloween background :)

In belated response, I only found Ms. Walter's blog this evening. It was nice to read your input here as well.

I think the problem is that both points of view have merit and the truth is, that publication, assuming one is blessed with storytelling finesse, comes down to equal parts perseverance and luck.

One can break all the "rules" and come out successfully and by contrast, follow all the "rules" and fail miserably.

Writing is the most difficult of arts, because one has to open the cover to view the landscape, admire the tapestry, hear the symphony.

Personally, I blame Hemmingway for the demise of rich prose style once found in true literary fiction.

Blessings~

Ms Kitty said...

Thank you, I love the backgrounds out there and I tend to switch them often.

This is an old post - Mary weathered the storm very well. I'm glad to see that people are still reading about the flame-fest. I hope that we can learn from this and go forward.