Author Terrill Lee Lankford ruminates on the publishing biz over at Ed Gorman’s blog…and, as usual, he has lots of interesting things to say. Among them:
A LOT of mid-listers are going the name-change route because of the weird practice in many bookstores of ordering the same amount of an author’s next book as they SOLD of said author’s LAST book: not ordered, but actually sold. Since there are almost always returns – especially in a business that rewards you for NOT selling the merchandise – this is a law of diminishing results where the end number would almost always be zero if allowed to play out to the end. I know of many writers who are having to assume secret identities to hide from these old numbers. This is no longer a growth business for a certain kind of writer – mostly the new ones who have not had the time to establish themselves. I can easily see a time, in the not-too-distant future, where a writer’s career will have to consist of a string of two-book deals, all under different names to avoid the dreaded computer numbers.
I know a few of those authors, too, and it’s a strange predicament to be in. In fact, a friend of mine was told by his editor that they’d be glad to publish another book in his mid-list series of detective novels, but not under his name… his name was dead. I thought that was a bizarre thing to say until yesterday, when I picked up James Reasoner’s blog post about an author who, back in the early 60s, wrote about the same detective, Mark Wonder, under two different names. But I doubt it was the for the same reasons my friend’s publisher wanted him to do it.
Of course, no discussion of the publishing business would be complete without mentioning Ben Affleck’s scrotum. Lankford has the latest reports from the field:
And Applegate is not the first Hollywood star to witness his racy humor, director Kevin Smith had to endure Affleck’s favorite prank – resting his scrotum on the back of the movie maker’s neck during breaks on the set of movie flop Jersey Girl.
Ben’s scrotum has a two-book deal with Bantam.