Apparently I'm not charging enough: "The publisher is the pimp. The bookstore is the corner. The reader is the john. And the writer is the ho." -- Brian Keene
I've already heard that I might be a necrophiliac: "...there are other things for people to do, other ways for them to be occupied, other ways for them to be imaginatively engaged, that are I think probably far more compelling than the novel. So I think the novel's day has come and gone, really." -- Philip Roth
Possibly I live in the wrong country: "The British are reading -- and we're not." -- Kevin Nance and Mike Thomas
And I could be working for clueless morons: "And publishers! What do they know? They never find the really good stuff, do they? There must be an alternative." --Gerry McGovern
Well, at least I have this e-mail from a very unhappy reviewer informing me that I don't write science fiction.* Whew. After reading that one, I was worried.
I do read stuff like this every day, and it bothers me. No, I don't think we should be all starry-eyed about publishing, or act like cheerleaders when the home team is trailing four touchdowns and a field goal. I like facing that ultimate back-stabber, reality.
We'll all agree that this is not an industry for the faint of heart. Just the other day I told a bunch of eighth graders that the average professional novelist earns less than $4,000.00 a year. I completely floored them, too, but unless you're someone like La Nora you can't go around acting like this gig is nothing but non-stop two million dollar advances and instant number one spots on the NYT.
I also realize that things in the industry are so troubling right now that if Dr. Sue set up a booth at the BEA she'd probably rake in a few hundred thou. I get depressed, too, but I don't want to mope about it.
I love books. I love to write them, and I love to read them. I want to be a book tyrant. I want to make readers out of non-readers. I want to motivate and inspire. I want writers -- the backbone of this industry -- to sell and keep selling. I got this far by chasing down what I wanted, I know other writers can do the same.
I guess what I'm saying is yes, it's all true, but books are too important. Even if everyone else is ready to give up, we writers can't. We've got to fight for what we love.
*Maybe someone should tell these people.