Archive for June 3rd, 2010


There are lots of reasons why we writers can mentally lose it. Why we despair. Why we throw our keyboards/ laptops/ typewriters against the wall and storm off to drink ourselves into an unholy stupor. Why we give up editing and polishing our manuscripts until they shine and say to hell with slaving over query letters and prostrating ourselves before agents and publishers.

Dante larger

Today, I have my own special reason to to chuck my literary ambition and let myself go mentally bottoms-up. The urge started the moment I finished reading articles in the New York Times about yet another writer who got yet another multi-million dollar book advance for a novel that, at 397 unpolished, unedited manuscript pages, was only half finished but was still hot enough to start a bare knuckle bidding war among salivating publishers AND get $1.75 million for movie rights.

What is said precious manuscript about?

You guessed it.

VAMPIRES.

Of course the book is about vampires. What were you expecting — something like To Kill a Mockingbird?

Michelangelo use

And you want to know what’s even funnier? What makes me want to laugh myself to puking death? The agent of the author, who has a “literary pedigreee from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop” and a PEN/Hemingway Award for a short-story collection, submitted his vampire book to Hollywood under a pseudonym. Why, may you ask? Because this agent didn’t want Hollywood to typecast the author as the type who didn’t have “vast commercial potential.”

That’s right, folks. Apparently a PEN/Hemingway award is the kiss of death for writers in Hollywood. Hell, such awards and a serious literary curriculum vitae didn’t seem to amount to a hill of beans even among the New York publishers, who went bonkers for the author’s new take on vampires and to hell with his elegant syntax.

In all honesty, I give kudos to the author Justin Cronin, whose book The Passage is being hailed as the upcoming bestseller of the year. Really truly, good for him. Sounds like he deserves all the money and success coming his way.

But you know that I speak for the rest of us peon writers when I say, WHY CAN’T THAT HAPPEN TO ME JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE?

And that’s my rant for today. Thanks for reading it.

You hear that, fancy-schmancy New York publishers? SOMEONE is reading my stuff.