Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: James Franco

This week, two publishing deals made big news, each for very different reasons.

Early this week, in an interview with Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler revealed he’d declined a six-figure deal from a major publisher. Instead, he will publish his books independently, on Kindle.

On the other end of the spectrum, Amanda Hocking scored a seven-figure deal with Saint Martin’s Press. Hocking made a well-recognized name for herself by publishing low-priced Kindle-exclusive novellas and novels. Recently, she’s mostly known for having sold more than one hundred thousand books in January, which isn’t surprising given that she published eleven books since, like, April of last year.

I’m sure many of them were in a trunk somewhere, and she didn’t write them all in eight months.

Actually, considering their quality, I’m not sure of that.

This particular pair of writers has created a total binary in terms of discussion with regard to so-called “self-publishing.” It’s an easy black and white to paint.

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Completing the MBA homework I needed those laddering interviews for made me think a lot about attention. How we get it and to whom we give it, and why. Every once in a while, I’ll make disparaging comments about some author or other–usually Stephenie Meyer or Sarah Palin. Lately, James Franco.

I make those remarks, of course, because I’m jealous. It’s the frustration of a still-emerging writer scared shitless of never making it, for whatever ‘it’ means. The fear of a newb that all the fancy education and writing learning and multiple novels will never get the attention I’ve always thought they deserve.

And of course they don’t. Because nothing really deserves attention. Attention has to be earned.

Which, I think, is where a lot of the frustration with Meyer and Palin and Franco comes in. As a writer, I don’t get the fascination, the quality people find, but maybe I’m approaching it with the wrong idea. Do Meyer’s and Palin’s readers go to those women’s books seeking depth of thought and lucidity of prose?

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