August 15, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
A story broke in the UK about a 93-year-old woman who sold her first novel and received pots of money. Turns out she didn’t, because it was a vanity press (which, like most vanity presses, prefers to be called a ‘self-publisher’). Finally, the truth is coming out, but of course the corrections won’t get half the press attention as the erroneous story, because ‘nice old lady brings out self-published book and wants to help her friends avoid care homes’ isn’t half as newsworthy as ‘first novel earns pots of money and encourages the delusions of anyone who thinks self-publishing is the route to riches.’
(There are plenty of sensible reasons to self-publish, but fame and fortune are not two of them.)
Anyway, I’m not reading books lately, which is partly because I seem to have picked up a work ethic somewhere and have been working on the novel as well as a couple of freelance projects. I also haven’t been commuting as much these days, and I tend to do a lot of reading on the bus. This means that it’s halfway through the month and I’ve only read one book – Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, which seems to be nominated for/winning awards in every possible genre. I liked it more intellectually than I loved it, if that makes sense, but then at heart it’s a police procedural, and those simply don’t thrill me.
Meanwhile, I gave up on Midnight’s Children. I feel ashamed to ditch the Booker of Booker of Bookers or whatever it is, but I slogged halfway in and I just couldn’t face getting out the hard way.