Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mad Max Perkins Calls It A Day. Should I Care?

Mad Max Perkins has called it a day as far as his/her blog is concerned. Several other blogs, including M.J. Rose's and those anonymously written by two literary agents have commented on this and then readers of those blogs have left the predictable comments lamenting the loss of the wisdom and inside information Max contributed.

I disagree. Max's blog was one of those I would peruse while drinking my first mug of tea of the day, but I would hardly say I ever read anything there that was revelatory or useful to me as a writer.

My feelings about Max's blog echo those I have expressed about POD-DY MOUTH. Both were anonymous blogs from publishing insiders. They had different rationale's. PODDY's was to showcase what she considered to be self-published gems. Perkins' was to... Well, frankly I have no idea what he was writing his blog for. Catharsis? Max's blog hashed out some of the topics that are publishing perennials: too many books, not enough, the returns problem, etc. that I suppose are standard water cooler shop talk in publishing circles.

Maybe some of the issues he discussed were news to tyros who still enclose SASEs with their queries or who address their letters "Dear Editor." To me it was very old stuff.

POD-DY recently posted a series of links to Amazon listings of books written by agents or editors, saying there were too many of them (though I wonder if she was also repaying favors). I quite agree with her sentiments. What applies to mid-life memoirs by agents and editors applies equally well to the blogs most writers, editors and agents author. They tend to be obsessed with rehashing the same set of topics that are only of interest to people in publishing, again and again.

They are also timid. Even with the shield of anonymity, none of these bloggers rips a book, writer, his own company or a colleague for their actions or philosophy of doing business. In order to protect themselves from retaliatory strikes, they rarely mention anyone by name or give enough specifics to make the story meaningful to me. I'm not interested in publishing gossip, but if you aren't going to anchor things in specifics-journalism's five Ws-the result is a kind of generic, lukewarm pablum.

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