Publishers Marketplace 'automat' section has a story lifted out of Newsweek mag about David Balducci. The guy has writted 16 best-sellers . . and get this. . . according to Newsweek, hardly any critic thinks Balducci's books are good.

So it occured to me--if you were a big publishing house, could you literately take a manuscript out of the slush pile (and assuming it had just average talent) groom and preen that script/writer into a mega hit?

Personally, I'm thinking of Clive Cussler. I read all of his novels, I'll admit it. And I walk away dissatisfied every time. All of his plots have vast potential. But his slam-bang style of writing is just so sterile. No color. No true sensations. Just wham-bang, and go to the next impossible feat.

But I wonder: did Cussler's Raise the Titanic hit the right editors's desk on the right day, at the right time, with the editor in the right mood? Did the book make the author? Or did the publisher make the author?

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Yes, luck is in this also.
Oh, Jesus! Jack, about buying lotto tickets to be rich--you're absolutely right! But I really don't think most writers want to be rich. Really, I do! I think most want to make a living at it--enough to pay the bills and be able to work on the craft full time. And that wouldn't take too much money. Or at least, not for me.
I agree that most true writers don't necessarily want to be rich ... but they would take the money.

The people who want to be rich are those readers--and sometimes just TV and movie viewers--who wake up one day and say, "I can write a story as good as ... whatever. I'll just write it and make my millions." And when the the publishers don't call or send checks, they say the market isn't fair, they don't want my story because I don't have a name, and those best-seller guy don't know how to write.

I remember when I first started to publish, I had a person who barely knew me come up and say: I've got great ideas, all of them best sellers, you write the story and we'll split the money. I would be surprised if most who write on a regular basis don't have a comparable story.
I.J.---You said you were a mid-list author. That's good, in my opinion. It's in the mid-listings where you see more variety in styles and techniques. I think the big-time best sellers follow a formula, and that formual kinda dries up creativity.
You may be right B.R. but I wish that would make me feel better when I open royalty statements.

Also: You don't get no respect. :)


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