Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (Part 2)

This entry is part 2 of 27 in the series Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Literary Business

Some people who claim to know a thing or two about the business will tell you there is no money in literary publishing. Don’t tell that to all the small presses out there. True, they are not raking it in like the big houses, but theirs is a specialty market. Like all specialty markets, profit is found in building deep relationships with customers. Those customers are readers of course, but also authors and booksellers and reviews. There is an entire underbelly of academic customers in that specialty business as well. The money is there, only the scale is lacking.

I write this little bit to dispel the notion that a literary writer must be some half-shaved lunatic living in a drafty garret, scratching out verse on a bit of butcher’s paper they managed to save. Don’t cry your eyes out for the literary author, they’re doing well enough on their own.

How do I know?

I was one of those literary authors crying their eyes out because I wasn’t making it. I’d written two books, both awful, plodding things with high falutin’ prose and chock-a-block with symbols and intertextuality. Deconstructivist crap. You name it. I’d written stories in the same vein, and of course lots of poetry.

Of all that lot, the poetry was probably the most interesting. While I’m not putting it on display here, I still like to think I have a bit of lyrical talent. Of course, a lot of writers think that about themselves too. They put together a few fancy words and suddenly they’re John Donne. So, to be honest, the poems probably suck too though I’ll never fully admit it.

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