Thursday, March 08, 2007

Money Again, and Life versus Literature

In a comment on my last post, David Isaak alerts us to the fact that he continues his theme of publishers' advances. Here is his latest thought-provoking post.

And in a Guardian profile playwright Martin Crimp touches on a continuing theme of this blog, his desire to separate his life from his work and a culture insistent on conflating the two:
...he finds being interviewed unsettling: he doesn't want to talk about his family ("People you're close to shouldn't be part of your public world"), his life in London, or indeed anything except his 20-odd plays and translations, least of all the personality behind them.


Steerforth said...

Interesting. It used to be the bestsellers that subsidised the backlist - now it's vice versa!

I'm not a publisher, but when I heard that TimeWarner paid Ricky Tomlinson £750,000 for his autobiography it was pretty obvious it would end in tears.

The sensible option would be to pay a small advance followed by a percentage of sales.

Elizabeth Baines said...

You would think so...

David Isaak said...

I'm with you folks. I'm no historian, but isn't that "let's share the income from the sales" how publishing always worked until recently?

Weren't advances just a way of keeping Fitzgerald supplied with the minimal operating quantities of gin until he could complete his next book? Weren't the in the nature of a loan to us impecunious types?