Monday, September 19, 2011
Valerie Frankel to Bestsellers--Drop Dead!
Ed here: I know this probably sounds bogus but I've rarely had dreams of great success as a writer. Making a living at it was my goal. As for jealousy, sure, every once in awhile I wince when I see the success of somebody I consider to be an atrocious writer but I let it go as quickly as I can. What's the point? I'm posting this link to the Valerie Frankel piece not because I agree with it or even enjoyed it all that much but because I admire its frenetic candor.
Author to Bestsellers: Drop Dead
Sep 18, 2011 8:53 PM EDT
Valerie Frankel has enjoyed a long career as a writer, but after two dozen books with modest sales, she explains why she’s come to hate New York Times bestselling debut novelists—except Snooki.
When I set out to write a memoir called It’s Hard Not to Hate You, about embracing toxic emotions and giving myself permission to be an unrepentant rageholic, I knew I had to include a chapter on professional jealousy. Nothing flared my freudeschaden—taking misery in another person’s joy—like New York Times bestselling debut novelists.
The rich. The thin. The beautiful. I’ve got no problem with them. If the world’s wealthiest, hottest woman walked into my office and asked for a cup of coffee, I’d get it. But if she said, “Guess what? My first novel just hit the New York Times bestsellers list!”?
Hate. She could get her coffee in hell.
My first novel was published (with a whimper) in 1991. I’ve written two dozen books since. Most landed with a thud, but some did well enough to eke out another contract. Critically, I’ve earned stellar—and horrific—reviews. I’ve won an award, and been nominated for others. My books have been translated into dozens of languages. And yet, I’m as anonymous an author as Gertrude M. Sneedermann. Who? Never heard of her?
I’ve never made it—“it” being, as any author could tell you, The New York Times bestseller list. When I started out, I fantasized about striking it big. I still do. Dreams of literary stardom didn’t die or fade away. They limped along, dragging tirelessly, like a zombie.
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I've experienced the same envy, but after much soul-searching realized that most best-selling authors write better than I do, even if I excel at one or two elements. Many qualities go into a good story and these authors draw on many skills. These successful authors also are more worldly than I am, and have social skills that add to their success.
Well said, Richard. Ditto or me. Ed
There is little correlation between literary quality and commercial success. I defy anyone to argue that writers from Jackie Susanne and Harold Robbins to their contemporary counterparts demonstrate the least bit of literary panache.
Author J. Neil Schulman once wrote, "There is no such thing as an accidental bestseller."
I suspect Ms. Frankel's lack of sucess with her novels may be due to inadequate promotional efforts on the part of her publishers.
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