the state of things


The Bookseller

by Douglas Lindsay - 15:49 on 04 March 2010

One of the headlines in today's on-line edition of the Bookseller: Stop Press: Frank Blair Memoirs Out In September.


You read that and you think, who in the name of God is Frank Blair, and why is someone publishing his memoir? Then you realise that frank is an adjective rather than someone's name, and you click on the link and there he is, the Demon of Downing Street - well, actually, a demon of Downing Street, because there have been, and currently are, others - in all the smug smugness of his completely smug smuggity smug smug smuggery. A quick scan of the article and one is reminded of the fact that it's estimated that Blair received an advance of somewhere in the region of £5-6million for the memoirs of his brother, Frank. In how many different ways is that outrageously wrong?


Well, it won't stop the ex-PM getting his loot, but one can only hope that the stupid book sells about three copies; within a month is available for £1 from bargain bookshops; and that the offending publisher - Hutchinson - do not make back a penny of what they paid him.


That's the depressing thing about reading The Bookseller. I get the Bookseller because I'm nominally part of the publishing business. I like to keep in touch. Every morning I put on a shirt and tie and a clean pair of underpants and sit at a desk reading that day's publishing news, so that I have ten minutes when I can feel like a real publishing executive. Ten minutes later, weighed down by all the latest god-awful publishing news, I retreat to my author's reserve, and try to fight my way through that day's depression and all-encompassing feeling of hopelessness and utter dejection brought on by reading the Bookseller.


Rarely does one read a piece on a forthcoming book release or new signing without feeling despair for the business and the very fabric of society itself. But then, you don't have to read the Bookseller at £4/week. Just look at the bestseller lists, of vampires and celebrities and film tie-ins and celebrity vampires and celebrity film tie-ins and vampire tie-ins and tied up vampire celebrities.


Horribly depressing. And that's without even looking at the Misery Memoirs...


To the vodka cabinet, chaps, not a moment to lose!


Coming soon: The Barney Thomson Vampire Diaries: Why Barney and Cheryl Split (Film tie-in) Hardback £14.99 from Long Midnight Publishing (978-0-9561466-9-4)


I wonder if it works to put film tie-in on a book, even if there's no film?

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