May 20, 2010
The world greets most new books with near if not utter indifference. We knew that going in, my husband and I, but we still want to write books–he does, anyway; I want to want to write them. I don’t know what I want, except not to have to work a steady job until my children are older and treat me with near if not utter indifference. Then I’ll really need some sort of sideline.
It does seem unfair, though, for your book to have defied the odds and actually been accepted by a publisher who is not yourself, only for it to dangle without fanfare for a month or two before dropping into the mist. That’s pretty much how it felt for me both times, though with a few enervating bumps from well-attended and/or well-received readings, easy to forget on the far more frequent occasions when I showed up someplace and it was just me, the mildly chagrined events planner, and some tumbleweeds.
But that’s not how you sell books nowadays, anyway. How you sell books nowadays is the Internet must seize you up of its own accord and carry the news of you crackling down fiberoptics and across the invisible wavelengths until a secret cabal of bloggers agrees to simultaneously post your link, whereupon revenue is mysteriously generated from the click-throughs. And who knows what will tempt the Internet to seize you up? By the time you’ve caught on that it’s knitting and vampires, the fickle beast has set its cap for whoopie pies and talking like a pirate.
Scott’s sixth book, On the Grid, just came out, and the mood around here has been somewhat less celebratory than we might have liked, though who’s to say it will not yet be seized? Many a crappy book has come to the fore; why shouldn’t a deserving one get its due? Hey, Internet! I’m talking to you! Infrastructure (the topic of Scott’s book) is the next mini-cupcake, the next pocket bike, the next plumping lipgloss, the next trucker’s hat, the next celebrity mishap. More forwardable than a gorilla-cuddling-a-baby-chick video, more relevant than Lady Gaga, and nobler in its purpose than sorry Tea Party antics. It’s elemental: water, electricity, excrement. Hear me, Internet! Click here! Pass it on!