On first becoming a published author

Via Macmillan New Writers’ blog, a post from one of their number, Michael Stephen Fuchs, on his blog Dispatch from the Razor’s Edge, about the lack of happiness, riches and sex arising from publishing your first novel. Or, as Michael writes in his post header: "The following piece was sorta kinda commissioned by someone at Salon.com, which subsequently decided they had much more important things to run in December. No other organ has rushed to publish it – no one wants to hear the truth, man! – so here it is (in the usual place). "

Here’s an excerpt:

"I have friends who think I must be rich after being published on a recognizable imprint. Bwahahaha! With the arrival of my first royalty check, I learned that ten years of writing had netted me the same amount as two weeks of doing computer shit for an investment bank. (And, yes, my book actually did pretty well – by the modest standards of first novels.) The fact of the matter is that the world is drowning in fiction (most of it awful, admittedly). And it is a very vain thing indeed to think the world needs your book – much less that they’ll pay you gazillions for it.

As far as I’m aware, I have not, up until this very moment, gone out on a date with one single woman as a result of being a published author. Not one."

A list of lists for the holidays

The Internet is full of people who love categorising items into groups, and also provides easy ways to achieve that goal. List mania is at its highest before holiday seasons: summer and winter. I find so much on the Internet in the usual run of things and bookmark them all away for the aforementioned upcoming holidays when I might have time to read them. So the lists, for me, are gilding the lily. Enough said, here’s a bit of meta-listing (a post of links to lists) just in case you have the odd spare moment in the next week or two:

Easing in gently, here’s a short list: Susan Hill’s two best books of the year (one fiction, one non-fiction).

Here’s a collaborative list: favourite TV shows of the year (previous year’s lists are linked) at the Organ Grinder (Guardian).

January Magazine’s editors have chosen their favourites from thousands of books: fiction, non-fiction, crime fiction, children’s books and "art & culture". Congratulations to Linda Richards for a magnificent, and no doubt exhausting, achievement in putting all this together.

After that lot, you will be relieved to see a list of one: Uriah Robinson’s non-fiction book of the year. Looks like a good one to me.

Back to the Guardian, this one is top 10 DVDs to give this Christmas. I daren’t even look at it as I still haven’t watched any of the sets I impulsively bought after a blog discussion on the topic about a year ago.

David Montgomery of Crime Fiction Dossier is asking a range of authors and others to nominate three favourite books. The recommendations are collected at this link — all I can write is "help"!

Books with a Christmas theme are being featured currently on Euro Crime blog in the series "It’s Christmas Crime", aggregated here so you can see the list of short reviews and Yule-themed covers. 

Last but most definitely not least is CrimeFic Reader’s excellent "books for Christmas 2007" series that has been running on It’s a Crime! for a month or so. Here is the aggregate link from which you can see the whole set of recommendations (so far) by an impressive range of authors, nominating some tantalising books.