Richard Charkin, when he was with Macmillan, had a blog upon which he had this to say about me:
I don't think anyone hates Gerard and certainly no-one that I know of minds his publishing names etc. Actually nonbody gives a damn about him. The question is why does he bother?
To which I said: Why he bothers is that books have become "product," merely another means to make nothing but money...not art, not truth, not beauty, nothing worth anything but money. Books themselves don't matter a whit, how much money they generate is all. With the right packaging, enough endorsements, a fair amount of expensive hype and a modicum of proof-reading, any piece of unreadable drivel can make some short-term money. That's the publishing industry's stock in trade. It's the same as the salami industry. There are truly great salamis out there that nobody's ever going to get to eat 'cause you don't see 'em advertised on the telly. The Audio Book of Ginny Good is a greater literary experience than everything Macmillan has published in the last twenty years combined but nobody's ever gonna listen to it 'cause nobody can make any money off it 'cause it's free. That's anathema. G.
Well, I think Gerard is wrong. The publishing industry is full of people who care about books. He wants to believe the opposite simply because his proposals haven't been accepted as widely as he'd have liked. There are always two explanations of failure. One is that you need to try harder or get better. The other is that the world is conspiring against you. The latter is better for the ego. The former is probably the more likely.
I can't seem to get your comment thing to work, but here's what I tried to say: "Well, I suppose you could read the book or listen to the audio and decide for yourself which explanation, if either, is true...neither of which you will do 'cause you like things to be as you perceive them to be, not as they are. Prove me wrong. I dare you. Heh. G."
Update, October, 2006
...I wonder when it will dawn on Gerard that it may not be a media conspiracy which is blocking his success but that readers aren't that interested in buying his book.
I've made myself up a new art form...The Occasional Exquisite E-mail Press Release. I'm gonna publish them on my website from time to time and send 'em to sundry people on the list of 20,000 agents, editors and publishers, movie agents, studios and producers, media guys, publicists, bloggers, book award guys and "creative" writing teachers I've come up with over the last four years who constitute the modern-day equivalent of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. Ha! That whole idea makes me happy. You've reprinted an early version of the first one, and for that I thank you, but here's the salient point to which you might want to pay closer attention. G.
"When you write a great work of timeless literature and get it published the way you want it published, whether it makes money or not is superfluous. What's even more superfluous is the sickeningly synthetic, book-doctored schlock and pretentious claptrap that wins awards and gets itself on "bestseller" lists. Keeping people stupid slaves can't be a very rewarding way to make a living. Can it? Nah. The geniuses who run the media and entertainment industries will understand that one of these days. Or not. G."
Gerard, I thought the purpose of writing was for people to read what is written. 24 copies is nothing really to be proud of. And while best seller lists are definitely not the only or the most important criterion of success being on them is not a sign of failure either.
The purpose of writing is to write something WORTH reading. The silly fluff that people BUY because of the hype it gets isn't worth reading or writing. All it does is make money. Big whoop. With enough hype, a recipe for Yorkshire pudding will sell a billion copies; without any hype great works of literature will go unread. If selling silly fluff is what you want to devote your energy to, knock yourself out. I prefer to devote mine to writing great literature whether it sells or not...read my stuff and see what I mean. I dare you. The proof is in the pudding. Heh. G.