Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Give Struggling Authors a Chance - Ideas Special Report

Give Struggling Authors a Chance - Ideas Special Report: "William Faulkner's first novel, Soldier's Pay barely sold when it was released in 1926. Neither did Saul Bellow's in 1944, Kurt Vonnegut's in 1952, Cormac McCarthy's in 1965, or David Foster Wallace's in 1987. All of these books garnered tepid reviews and bare-minimum sales. Ever since Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1828 debut sold so poorly that the author burned the remaining copies out of embarrassment, flopped first novels have been an American tradition.

Publishers have typically taken the long view, expending great effort and bushels of money to keep struggling authors writing away for years, banking on the hope of eventual literary success. It is to this dedication that we owe America's status as one of the great literary pillars of the world. Now, that dedication is faltering, and with it, the future of the great American novel. But it's not too late to save the novel."


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