Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why You Really Don't Want To Get Published (part 3)

...because you will need to pay $@$#@% self-employment taxes on your measly pitiful flea-bitten advance! D'oh!


INTERN has been having somewhat of a Venerable McPulitzer-induced spiritual crisis and has been spending a lot of time lying in the dark listening to Vampire Roommate's vampire music over iTunes. Elements of said spiritual crisis are fairly stock in nature and boil down to "What is the meaning of Art, really?" and also a feeling of general overwhelmed-ment at the sheer volume of manuscripts in the world versus books actually published (aptly expressed by the Fugees as "too many MCs not enough mics").

Techie Boyfriend has promised to commence work immediately on a time-travel device that will allow INTERN to travel back to a simpler time when monks spent entire days writing a single letter of the alphabet and every book that existed was an object to be treasured and revered by generations.

Over the weekend, INTERN went to a story-telling party organized by some friends, where the most unlikely-looking people set their beer on the carpet, shuffled to the front of the living room and told a story. It was the most enchanting and wonderful thing INTERN has experienced in a long time. So enchanting INTERN is thinking maybe that time-travel device should skip the monks and take her back to a strictly oral culture.

In any event, INTERN is drinking lots of strong tea and expects to be back (and with 80% less angst) in a day or two.


  1. unless you are published by a super small press. then you won't get advances. no taxes! yay!

  2. Sorry about the spiritual crisis, INTERN.


  3. Has THE INTERN ever worked for a literary Agency, or just for the actual publishers? One wonders if one would be so depressed about there being few books published if one saw more of the unagented bottom-feeder manuscripts that come in before they are ever deemed worthy of going to a publisher. I definitely find it far more difficult to deal with the fact that I read dozens of agency slush, most with intriguing queries, followed up with mediocre or actively bad manuscripts.

    INTERN should take heart in the blog transforming the story telling into a meta-universal flowering of regiving!

  4. INTERN... behold -

    Life is fair... It breaks everyone's heart!

    Haste yee back ;-)

  5. poor writers. it's a wonder how any make a living!

    my spiritual crisis is slightly different, fellow INTERN--so many good books get published, but not enough people read them!

  6. When all is said and done, a writer's journey is the only meaningful reward. Any money is fleeting wages. The approval of audiences is fickle at best, rarely enduring. The surviving legacy of something larger than the self that's of the self, that's the journey's end. Meanwhile, enjoy the journey for all it's worth. Everything else is just fairy floss and cotton lint gathering.

  7. "Fleeting wages," however fleeting they may be, allow you to write for a living. When you're working more than 9-to-5, that is a sweet and full fair siren song, indeed.

    I understand the inclination to optimism, but economics is greedy and likes to meddle with anything he can.

  8. This was sweet and from the heart and I feel for you.

    Drag techie bf to bed and snuggle.

  9. In my experience, book publishing continues to be a highly oral culture. We editors swear a lot when we're not curled up in the corner, sucking our thumbs.

  10. I'd rather live in a time when everyone is literate and creative, myself.

    Books may have been worth more, then, but no one read them.

    Now everyone reads and writes and we have an embarrassment of riches and can afford to be picky. Or not, as one chooses.

    Look at the big picture, O Intern, and let it warm your heart.

  11. John Jack - very well said. I thought sure that was a quote straight from Hemingway. If he didn't say it, he should've.

    And to Intern - what gets me is even with all the books being published, there's no time to read as many as I'd like. I mark a great passage in a book and know I'll never return to it. I don't even go back and read all the journal entries I poured my life into during high school and college.

    What saves me is the knowing (or at least hope) that in the afterlife we can all kick back and catch up. After all, we're eternal, and that's plenty of time to read everyone's books and journals.

    Yikes - that's not so reassuring after all, considering what I wrote about my teachers.

    But really, this is the factory, the sensory world, the grist for the mill, and later on we can wander through the Library of Alexandria with Plato and Shakespeare setting down their beers and regaling us with the stories they wish they'd left.