Wednesday, July 25, 2007

how to lose friends and alienate people (OR what NOT to do if you're a first-time author)

So, there's a magazine that EVERY AUTHOR IN THE WORLD wants to have their first novel excerpted. I won't write its name here. We'll call it Pizza (since pizza is ostensibly something else every author in the world wants).

Our faithful and much-dogged publicists have been pitching every imaginable book we have to Pizza Magazine, hoping that ONE of these days we would get lucky. Out of nowhere, Pizza finally says yes--to a most unexpected project!! They want to take first serial of this itsy-bitsy tiny first-time book whose title we, at my company, have privately punned into "The Book That Was Never Bought" since those were our high hopes for it.

But Pizza Magazine saw gold. They would be excerpting 2,000 words in their November issue!!! And what with Pizza's incredibly well-read intellectually curious readership, the author is suddenly going to be catapolted to the forefront of American highbrow culture.

The next day, we get a call from one of the world's leading newspapers, whose chief book reviewer we had approached for an unlikely blurb for The Book That Was Never Bought. "I suppose I could blurb, if you'd like," she said. "But you know, since Pizza Magazine is excerpting and all.... Would you rather I blurbed, or whipped up a little article and featured it as the weekend magazine cover in September?"

Hallelujah!! Robert the Publisher took us out for beers and calamari.

Luckily, the well-read publisher's assistant happens to have a very literary girlfriend. "It's funny," she said to him last night. "Doesn't Pizza Magazine normally only pick up unpublished excerpts? And this time they're willing to take the excerpt that was featured in last month's Tiny Free Literary Magazine. You guys must have really got lucky."

"Excuse me?" said the publisher's assistant.

That's right--the author chose to take the EXACT SAME EXCERPT and send it to an utterly unprofitable but nonetheless oft-read literary magazine. When we confirmed the Pizza Magazine deal, he LIED TO OUR FACES and told us nothing had ever been printed before.

Like Pizza wasn't going to find out...? The Tiny Free Literary Magazine editor, who used to be editor-in-chief at Pizza's Parisian counterpart, is best buddies with Pizza's editor-in-chief. And she's the kind of person who LOVES to place phone calls.

So to the author: thanks a lot, asshole. You nearly got our entire company blacklisted at Pizza for the rest of eternity. Thank god for vigilant girlfriends; hopefully we can smooth this over.

And yeah, I don't know why we didn't expect something like this from you, since you've been nothing but an uncooperative nightmare since day one (thirty changes per page on the page proofs, which you choose to submit the day we go to press?!? Classy.). So shame on us, not you. Besides, you just fucked over the rest of your own career. Until your dying day, you'll be able to say, "I was an author who was almost contracted to publish in Pizza Magazine!! But instead, I chose to be an asshole and lie to my own publisher about which materials are available for first serial."



angelle said...

wow. that is really really not good.

moonrat said...

no s**t. ugh.

Rose said...

Where is the complaint section on this blog? You are in desperate need of one.

So I said to myself, "Self...why do I need a complaint section?"

Well. Some of us are on 2 week business trips out west and cannot afford to lug around the lengthy Harry Potter. And some of us were, until this week, faithful blog readers. And some of us had THE DEATH IN HARRY POTTER RUINED BY YOU.

moonrat said...

uh oh.

Space Alien said...

This sounds like the work of the asshole Chariot man. Is it true?

And if so, is he retarded?

moonrat said...

nope, a different retarded author. sigh. so many retarded authors.

Bernard S. Jansen said...

I sense unresolved anger in this post. It's subtle, but I am very sensitive.