Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Loneliness of the Midlist Author

Martine points to a whiny, occasionally-ludicrous Salon article (advertising goodness ahead) written by an anonymous ‘midlist author’ who seems to think the world owes her something. Martine also references the Salon letters page, where among others, Neil Pollack takes the author to task. Science fiction author Charlie Stross applies some hard numbers and frank reality to the discussion, and references a number of other people joining in on the ass-whooping. John Scalzi puts it best: “are authors as a class this disconnected to the real world?”

The author of the Salon piece is both naive and hasn’t studied her history. Everybody from Shakespeare to Dickens supplemented their income, and didn’t expect to be living solely off the avails of their ‘art’. The assumption that she should be able to and that everybody from her editor to the bookstores are out to get her, is deeply offensive. Just because you think yourself an artist doesn’t entitle you to anything.

To sum up the collective responses to this article: honey, shut up and get a job.

2 Responses to “The Loneliness of the Midlist Author”

  1. anacronyms

    Thanks for the cogent link-sorting and commentary.

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting information floating around. I read something like the Salon whine you pointed to (and it is INCREDIBLY whiny) and it’s discouraging. Then I read something like the Stross response, and it’s encouraging.

    I take heart from the words of Jerry Pournelle, who says that nearly anybody can make a living from writing if they’re willing to work hard enough at it.

  2. Peter

    I was reasonably sympathetic to Ms. Doe until I read her first book netted her a $150,000 advance and did a spit take.

    I suspect that that advance may have actually done her a disservice, a fluke that raised her financial expectations to an unrealistic level. If she had received a more modest advance, she might have less angst about her chosen profession and less disdain for her day job.

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