Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tired

I'm tired of defending the literary industry. I'm tired of Opal Mehta, and James Frey, and Nick Sylvester, and Jayson Blair, and Stephen Glass, and Jared Paul Stern and everyone else who forces the public to look at us and say, "What the hell is wrong with you guys? Don't you have a shred of integrity?"

I'm tired of trying to figure out why allegedly plagiarizing gets you on the Today Show (and a spot in the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top 100), rockets your book up the charts, gets you notices everywhere from USA Today to the New York Times, and causes more people to talk about your book than someone who just won the freaking Pulitzer. And I hate how more people are buying these books after learning the authors might be a fraud. Do you really need to spend $25 to sate your curiosity? On one hand, perhaps publishing is to blame. Maybe we've taken the Alfred E. Newman "What me worry?" route too long, and we need to look in the mirror. But as a young author and editor who works my ass off every day, takes pride in the books I edit and the books I write, I feel shouldn't have to face these questions with my back to the wall.

"It's an isolated incident," I used to say. Now about six isolated incidents later, I've come to the realization that maybe we should police ourselves better. Maybe we get away with too much. But one thing's for certain, one thing I try to show in my novel THE MARK, is that there are those of us who are young, and ambitious, and true of heart. Who think there's more to life than the fucking gossip pages, who could care less who Wilmer Vaderrama is sleeping with and whether Britney is pregnant again and rightfully have contempt for people who do care. Who think that even if Jared Paul Stern was set up, he still represents everything that's reprehensible about journalism. There are some of us who are tired of this and want to bring back some credibility to an industry built on that foundation, but finds that right as they're looking to move in the foundation is crumbling. Sometimes shit happens, but if our hearts are in the right place that's what matters. But there are others whose hearts don't quite line up in the margin, and the rest of us have to justify them.

And I'm sick of it.

5 Comments:

Blogger S. W. Vaughn said...

There now. :-) Not all of us rushed out to buy Frey's novel after he was outed, or that Vishnu chick's. (gah...as if!) There still exists the occasional modicum of common sense out here -- though it is regrettably difficult to come by.

What's your novel called, and when in 2007 will it be out? I'm interested... I'm all for getting into the game as early as possible, and you're certainly here early!

Pleased to meetcha, Sauron -- er, Jason. :-)

5:30 PM  
Blogger S. W. Vaughn said...

Scratch that "what's your novel called" -- I just went back and read your post again. Don't mind me, there's too much blood in my caffeine stream today.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Sorry if I got a little hot under the collar. Since I work in publishing and honestly love the biz, I tend to take stuff like this a little too personally.

My book, THE MARK, is tentatively slated for July '07. The next books in the series are scheduled for January '08, then July '08. I antitipcate fully funding my neighborhood Dunkin Donuts with all the XL coffees I plan to buy.

5:38 PM  
Blogger S. W. Vaughn said...

Totally understood. :-) I get that way too, though I'm only on the writing-and-reading end of things.

BTW, I visited your website and I'm completely interested in your novels. I love the character descriptions you put up. It's very unique and intriguing. I even blogged about it! I'll be in line when The Mark hits stores, so you can grab yourself an extra XL with the royalties. :-)

Isn't Dunkin Donuts the absolute best for coffee? I adore their hazelnut.

9:13 AM  
Blogger alex said...

"Perhaps publishing is to blame?"

Well yeah...you can't really blame the readers.

That said - the level of cynical marketing that seems to have gone into setting up that book is pretty astounding. I didn't think that kind of stuff really happened in book publishing - the stakes don't seem high enough for it - but I guess I was wrong.

11:29 AM  

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