Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Further to the preceding: authors / badgers
Longevity is an issue. And finite resources. Not just people living longer and therefore the burden on the NHS and the pensions mess but, to bring in a little self-interest, books.
Ian McEwan is 67. Think about this. If he keeps healthy, and he does look pretty fit, he’s going to write another 7 or 8 books, and they are all going to be published, because of his track record if nothing else, though I’d love there to be other reasons too and there may be, and all the books are going to get media space. At a time when the readership for the kind of ‘literary fiction’ he writes is not just precarious but diminishing, and mainstream publishers are cutting down their slots per year for this kind of work. (Slots per year: not many, and the authors with reputation have books in the queues for these slots. The question for many very good newish authors therefore becoming not how do I get published, but how do I jump the queue. Or do it otherwise.)
I’m 64 myself, same generation. Not only did my lot hog the grants for university, and all the available housing when it was just about affordable, and the jobs, and the travel to Palmyra in Syria (me above, sometime in the 70s, looking sorry for myself, how dared I) but the publishing lists too. (I haven't even mentioned class, race, gender. Do I need to?) And are still hogging.
So, yes, six books per author max. Or maybe cull us. It would free up a lot of space.