Friday, October 03, 2008

Writers, beware!

A word of caution from Anita Desai ('One Rip Van Winkle Sleep And...' in Outlook):

Now that worldly success has been made acceptable and popular, something to be courted, it can too easily follow that the publisher will demand books that earn back those advances and justify the expenditure on publicity and distribution, and slowly, but surely, turn the writer into a good financial bet just as one actor may prove to be such a treasure and another may not. The pressures exerted on both the publisher and the writer today simply did not exist 40 or 50 years ago. But there is no free lunch and the writer soon learns that if he wishes to earn, he must learn to please. An insidious pressure, this, not one that encourages freedom or fearlessness.


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