RARA-AVIS: Not completely off subject, after all...

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 26 Feb 2009

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    John wrote:

    > apples and oranges

    And sour grapes.

    But hey, if Griffin's book sells gazillions, it may make some publisher enough dough to take a risk on a crime novelist or two who hasn't quite delivered on his promise yet.

    Publishing has always been -- and probably always will be -- a high risk way of making money. I don't think them making some bucks on a relatively sure thing occasionally is quite the moral and ethical catastrophe some writers think it is, since any decent publisher takes plenty of gambles along the way. We may not particularly care for these prefab celebrity books, but they do cut publishers a certain amount of financial slack when they hit (and I'm not even sure La Griffins book is a sure thing, though Lord knows, the lady is popular.).

    I mean, how many of us here haven't gone for what seems like a slam dunk? How many years would a business that only takes risks last?

    There's no law saying all writers, regardless of talent or their own high opinion of themselves (or low opinion of the reading public) must be published by Random House or Ballantine or whomever. Of course, those who don't like the big bad publishers playing it safe can always try (or return to) self-publishing.

    PublishAmerica is waiting. Now there's a real long shot for all you he- men gamblers ...

    But, like I said, a book by a working stand-up comedian (ie: someone who works with words all day long and presumably understands how they work) might at least be a better read than one by some whiny, steroid- jacked mush-mouthed jock or some barely literate celebrity plumber or some vapid actress or politician who can barely read a gum wrapper.

    And Griffin's jaundiced and disdainful insider/outsider view of the excesses of celebrity and stardom and the shallowness of Hollywood
    (which, to her credit, she'll quickly concede to being part of, my sister-in-law tells me) isn't that far a stretch from that of Chandler or any of a slew of other self-loathing Hollywood-based crime writers, proof once again of how the cynical/skeptical hard-boiled world view has eventually become a mainstream cultural perspective. We love celebrities/we hate them. Which might be why she's popular, and why publishers thought they could sell a few of her books.

    And you never know. Some celebrities can actually write.

    Kevin Burton Smith www.thrillingdetective.com

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