Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Modern World Besieged

Imagine J.D. Salinger getting turned down because he’s uncomfortable doing promotion.

Imagine Mary Shelly getting rejected from agent after agent because Frankenstein is too unlike what’s on the market.

Imagine Virginia and Leonard Woolf creating their own e-pub platform to support their nutty books.

Imagine The Great Gatsby getting buried in the Kindle Rankings shuffle, leaving Fitzgerald to drink off the disappointment. The book bloggers seemed enthusiastic, so why didn’t it take off?

Imagine Arthur Miller having to settle for whatever actors he could find on Craigslist.

Imagine a web forum as robust as the Oulipo.

Imagine if Maxwell Perkins blogged. Imagine if his publisher ordered him to blog, to tweet and run Facebook, even if he needed the hours to work with Wolfe at the blackboard.

Imagine Roald Dahl targeted for writing YA that’s too dark and depressing.

Imagine the Library of Alexandria with a cloud drive. It’s another world, ugly and gorgeous.


  1. That's both the good and evil of our modern publishing world. Sifting through the detritus, the gatekeepers demand more while providing less, and yet we always have the option of publishing ourselves and bypassing the whole thing. Nicely done.

  2. I'm sure Hemingway would be a big facebook user if he were alive today. Posting pics from fishing trips all the time. The occasional album of absinthe sessions.

  3. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There are more options and fewer chances.

  4. I think they would have embraced the new paradigm… especially if they remembered what it was like before, when publishers paid their writers a living wage.

  5. Imagine Gertrude Stein or James Joyce having to do a ten question on line interview to explain their work (and their home life as well).

  6. I think Danni summed it up more choices fewer chances.

  7. Insightful, John, and very interesting.

  8. Danni summed it up very nicely. More options, fewer chances.


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