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The Dark Side of the Book Deal

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Be careful what you wish for. From the NY Observer....

  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I don't see anything in there where it was actually the book deal that ruined anyone's life.
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Agree...seems like a lot of melodrama for the sake of art.

    But I can understand the pressure and expectation of wanting to produce something great.....not wasting the opportunity.
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Weird... I just read that this morning, 21. I agree, nothing groundbreaking. It sounded, though, like being locked in a room with a topic for a long period can be a tortuous experience.

    Just seemed like a few things happen... People leave editing or writing jobs with structure and then find themselves married to a topic that they have to live with 24 hours a day for an extended period of time. And mentally it screws with them. Also, when you hear of someone getting a six-figure advance, it probably isn't as good as it sounds. After you are taxed for 37 percent of it, and you spend as much as a few years working on the book, you might end up living off $40K a year, or less. Most of the writers quoted in that story were in NYC. You can live on $40K in NYC, and even be happy, but it isn't the high life.
  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I think it's especially hard for newspaper people. You write your story or your column, and poof, it appears in the paper. You write a book, it sits somewhere for weeks, months, maybe a year before it reaches the public. For sure it sits in your editor's office for an eternity, while you rethink every semi-colon ('should I have used a dash? A period? I wonder if it's too late...'). You have months to convince yourself the whole thing really sucks, you're a failure, you're embarrassing yourself.

    And meanwhile, all the people you couldn't wait to tell about your book deal--your cousins, the staff at Starbucks, the guy at the newspaper stand, your annoying neighbor--won't stop asking, 'So how's the book coming??'
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Wasn't this the basic topic of the Chevy Chase movie Funny Farm?
  7. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Here in my tiny household, we look at it this way:

    I can sit in the coffee shop every day staring at a blank laptop screen, paralyzed by self-loathing and existential dread; or I can sit in the coffee shop every day staring at a blank laptop screen, paralyzed by self-loathing and existential dread and a book deal.

    At least with the book deal I break even on the cost of the coffee.
  8. I empathized with the authors who felt they were stuck with their subjects for 10 years. I felt that way with those same three pictures of Mr. Englander staring at me through all four pages of this story.

    Thank God that's over.
  9. I feel sorry for those boneheads who blew their lottery winnings and are on food stamps now!!!! That's pathetic.
  10. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Never tell anyone -- aside from those who need to know -- that you're doing a book.
  11. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I've always dreamed that I'd someday write a book...

    after reading that, I think I'll find a less depressing side-project. . . like going to mortuary school
  12. no, it's a blast

    do it
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