By January 13, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Quickly: Penguin Memoir, Obama Bucks, Abusive Blurbs, All Work and No Play

Tom Tomorrow tackles the memory crisis (“This Modern World,” Salon).

A bunch of publishing types speculate on how much money Barack Obama will earn for his memoirs (“How Much Will Obama Get for His Memoirs?New York). Funny, funny, funny:

Larry Kirshbaum, agent and former CEO, Time Warner Books:

“With Dow 9,000 as a base, if it’s at 15,000 or below, it’s a disaster given inflation and he’ll get in the $5 million range. For every 1,000 points above 15,000, he gets another million. So at 20,000 he’s at $10 million, at 25,000 he’s at $15 million and so on. 28,000, for $18 million, should be very doable. It would require 15% compound growth annually. In more normal times, we would expect a savvy investment manager to return 15% per year, so a good President should do the same.”

Chris Rovzar notes that “There are only ten writers that you can be compared to in blurbs or publicity materials” (“The Top Ten Most Abusively Blurbed Authors,” New York). I’d estimate that number at 20, but I agree with the basic premise: publishers use the same names over and over and over again. Especially:

4. Hunter S. Thompson: If you are a crazy writer who did something adventurous, and your publicist couldn’t even get through the book but sensed it would be transgressive, you are a Hunter. If your publicist could get through it, you are more like a Jack Kerouac.

A really, truly, positively unnecessary book has been published (“Stephen King fan publishes Shining’s Jack Torrance’s novel,” by Alison Flood, Guardian):

But the hotel’s grisly past and unquiet ghosts have their way with him, and his wife Wendy eventually finds that the manuscript he has been working on actually only contains the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, typed over and over again.

Now New York artist Phil Buehler, who describes himself as “a big fan of Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King”, has self-published a book credited to Torrance, repeating the phrase throughout but formatting each page differently, using the words to create different shapes from zigzags to spirals.

Actually, it’s kind of neat-looking, and would indeed make the right gift for a certain kind of obsessive–but why not make your own?

I wonder if the original is still floating around out there.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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