Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: NYC Publishing & Noir

From: Patrick King (
Date: 13 Mar 2010

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    A friend, who's worked for years in publishing once told me the secret was to figure out what the next big thing was before anyone else did and write that book, which explains Dan Brown and JK Rowling. Beyond that... well... Who knows? It's the $6,000,000 question.


    There in lies the rub. You can spend a buck on a lottery ticket, or you can spend three years of your life writing a book you calculate "everybody" is going to love.

    I doubt that that was the method Brown or Rowling used to break the mind barrier, anymore than it was the method of Ian Fleming, Grace Metslious, Margaret Mitchell, or Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    These writers wrote what amused and interested them, and were fortunate to be published in such a way as to attract a very large audience. They aimed at their own inner core and found something that resonated with many. I doubt anyone who has aimed at the audience in a calculating manner has ever hit that kind of payday. I've read lots of books that come from that cold, professional attitude and they don't resonate. Many people may buy them searching for more Harry or more Bond or more Scarlett, but those characters aren't there and though the books sell, they fail. Ultimately, a novel is a work of art however crudely executed. If one's writing to make millions, the lottery ticket is probably going to be less disappointing.

    Patrick King


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