Are you ready for your closeup Miss Dickinson?

was watching an interview on TV, I think it was the ruler of Time Warner Book Group (Kirshbaum? I can't remember.) He was rattling about how he loved authors who go out and sell their own stuff. He said they put all their authors through some kind of media training so they'll be better interviewees and be charming on TV. I was wondering how you feel about this. How would you react to an author who was more introverted, reclusive, who refused to do readings and make appearances?I

Well, I think you'll be very happy at AuthorHouse cause that's about the only "publisher" who'll be interested in your work.

If you write non-fiction, you have to be willing to do the dog and pony show. You may not have to leave your house; radio interviews can be done by phone, as can newspaper interviews. To refuse to do those is a deal-breaker. Besides, the likelihood of a publisher signing a non fiction book for an author without established platform is very low.

If you write fiction and you refuse to give readings, I won't sign you. Most publishers expect, and indeed include in their contract with you, that you'll be part of the promotion process.

Yes there are authors who don't do this: Anne Tyler, Thomas Pynchon, JD Salinger, JT Leroy. I can probably think of ten others if you give me an hour. They are the exception, the very very RARE exception. And most of them were writing long before the huge media maw opened in the 90's.

If you want to be a recluse, write poems.


someone paranoid said...

Is Miss Snark confirming the existence of JT Leroy? I knew Denis Cooper wasn't behind this.

Miss Snark said...


Bridget Medora said...

What do the promotional requirements (or expectations, anyway) look like for YA authors?

E. Dashwood said...

So you're saying that reclusive JD Salinger (although his reclusiveness is really a kind of bizarro world platform)couldn't publish Catcher as a first-time author today?

Even Howard Hughes did telephone near his weird ending, and in connection with a book, no less, when he called some reporters to debunk a fraudulent autobiography.

Random Walk Writer said...

In some genres (romance comes to mind, but is not the only one), most novels are written by people of one sex. So a novelist may take a pseudonym of the opposite sex if he (or she) desires to write in that genre. Obviously, personal appearances are out in that case. So what's an author to do who swims against the tide? Stick to blogs and e-mail interviews?

Peter L. Winkler said...

John Twelve Hawks.