3.25.2004

Writing for the Money, I mean, Love of It; or Best-Selling Mystery Writer Tells All!

A "Jane Austen Doe" has written on the travails of publishing over at Salon.

The Nielsen Haydens respond (as do a number of others). Responses elsewhere, at least those I thought most worth taking time to read, include Charles Stross, James D. Macdonald, Nick Mamatas, John Scalzi. The general response appears to be the same.

A different take, as Gabe Chouinard points out over at the main site, is the Author's Guild's report on the midlist, which we discussed here. But if you're interested in writing only for the genre, balance that against what Patrick Nielsen Hayden has to say, which had an almost wholly different tenor from Gordon Van Gelder's assessment a year earlier when he was still in the book business. In England, Zadie Smith shares slightly similar concerns as Jane Austen Doe's although Smith's insta-presto-fame was met with success.

Among the moments of melodrama, Doe's best argument appears to be her worry "Is my career as a writer over?" because the publishers paid her more than the public thought the books were worth. The money may not be her primary concern. She may be wondering if she can simply get the next book published due to the misfortune of the public's response. After all, two-time Philip K. Dick finalist, Ann Tonsor Zeddies, has had to change her name a few times in order to get published. Even MacDonald acknowledged a variable public response due to which publisher put out his book (or was it the format?).

What do you think?

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