Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Asshackery: A Good ol' Publishing Industry Rant

Well, Snooki done got herself a book deal and proclaims that she's only read two books in her life. When I saw that, I figured it was some low-level indie press trying to get some cheap publicity, but then I saw the deal was with Simon & Schuster, one of the major corporate publishers. CBS owns S&S and I don't even know if that's connected to Snooki, since I don't have a television, but this is the line in the sand over which I give no more weight to publishers' claims that they are vanguards of the written word, steeped in literary tradition, and embracing a role as the gatekeeper of quality and taste. And, incidentally, charging at least five times more for an e-book than most authors would. So that's done.
Me can do this!

I have never relished anyone's pending doom but the hubris and arrogance of plenty of people in publishing--from shareholders who demand ever-higher dividends to the agents who don't reply at all to query letters--has guaranteed I will shed not a single tear when the Manhattan offices are full of cobwebs and left-behind slush piles. I've known some wonderful people in the business, and I've always been treated fairly (though I certainly made some bad decisions), but it's a world in which I can no longer relate on any level. Even the simple joy of good books seems to be lost in the numbers game.

Coincidentally, I just discovered the world of Tucker Max, who takes asshackery to its extremes. I actually read a couple of his entries, frat-boy misogyny gone celebrity to the point of sociopathy. The piece I read on him actually had some great points about book marketing, namely give lots of stuff away for free. I'm not going to link to his site because I can't support him, but hey, at least there's finally a book out there for guys who don't like to read. At least Max has the presence of mind to realize the price he is willing to pay for fame and wealth.

All this makes me feel much better about my life. I told the Left-Handed Puppeteer this morning, "Sure, I'd love to sell more books, but I am damned lucky to have a chance to meet even one reader and make a little bonus income, because without the digital age it could very well be close to zero." And if these two are the modern examples of literary success, I am happy to take an alternate path where it's a little quieter and just maybe somebody can think beneath the noise.

But, Mr. Asshackery has inspired me to start putting up a lot more free stuff. I just won't give venereal diseases to any midgets in the process.



author Christa Polkinhorn said...

LOL. No, I have to spell it out: Laughing Out Loud. Perhaps the title could be:
Snooki Booki or The Spooki Life of Snooki.
Okay, enough.

Neal Hock said...

Despite knowing it's not, I'm still hoping this is a joke (Snooki getting a book deal).


pippirose said...

Good grief! What is this world coming to?
(Now I sound like my grandparents!)Haha...
*Real* writers, *real* artists...remain in the "starving" category, while hacks and no-talents make it big!


can't be can anyone get through 12 years of school and only read 2 books. has to be a joke! and if true, i think i will give her a miss.