|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.