Garrison Keillor Says The Publishing Industry is Cooked

Well-written, fun piece about going to a swanky industry party in Tribeca; feeling the end.

"I ran into my daughter's favorite author, Mary Pope Osborne, in New York the other night, whose Magic Tree House books I've read to the child at night, and a moment later, Scott Turow, who writes legal thrillers that keep people awake all night, and David Remnick, the biographer of Obama.

Bang bang bang, one heavyweight after another. Erica Jong, Jeffrey Toobin, Judy Blume. It was a rooftop party in Tribeca that I got invited to via a well-connected pal, wall-to-wall authors and agents and editors and elegant young women in little black dresses, standing, white wine in hand, looking out across the Hudson at the lights of Hoboken and Jersey City, eating shrimp and scallops and spanikopita on toothpicks, all talking at once the way New Yorkers do."

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There's just as much merit in being a pessimist as an optimist. It took a lot of dead dinosaurs to launch a man to the moon.
Aren't we lucky to live in "interesting times?"
I'm a little late to the game--both in responding to Keillor's piece and in becoming a writer--but here goes anyway.

First off, Keillor seems more than a little disingenuous, acting as though he were just folks at a swank party. He got invited because of a well-connected pal. Really? He's written "a couple or books" himself? Please.

Self publishing may be part of the problem with our modern world--it is, as Keillor suggests, the way around the gate keepers. But the publishers and editors--the gate keepers have given up being gate keepers, by which I mean finding and nurturing interesting writing. They gave up being people who first of all love books, to become people who first of all love profits. Who knows whether, if they had continued actually promoting writers who did something of their own, if they encouraged and helped writers, if they actually trusted writers, yes, who knows whether self-publishing would be making such incursions?

And Keillor and the star writers? Well, it's complicated, and they're only human. Being invited to a penthouse party with the stars is probably too enticing to resist. I'd almost certainly succumb if it were offered. After all you can be your plain, genuine self among your fellow celebrities. And the price of admission is so small, one hardly notices. In fact most of the celebs subscribed to the success formula from the very beginning: write what sells.

Write what sells has always been a part of things. But there was also write what's good, what's interesting, what's you. That was, of course, back when publishers actually loved books, and Keillor was dancing through the corn waving his big check.
excellent post.
Yes, nice. :)


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