Nightstand

Confronting Tao Lin's Publisher, Part One

Comments

1
interesting
2
nobody cares bro
3
these bros care: http://htmlgiant.com/snippet/68281/#disq…
4
What happened?! Did he get back to you? The idea that a publisher would -- put perfectly in your own words, Christopher -- "publish a work and then spend ... energy undermining the writer's confidence in the worthiness of that very work" is insane. And needed this unveiling. And I'm dying for Part Two to find out. (And I think Tao Lin deserves all the attention The Stranger has given him.)
5
Why did you jump in the middle? Is there a backstory that makes what you did less presumptuous and meddle-y?
6
@ 5 -- Nah, I'm just presumptuous and meddle-y. In my defense, I get paid to be.
7
Chris, do you a financial stake in the profits of Tao Lin's "Richard Yates"? It was widely reported, as you know, that Tao sold 60% of the "shares" of the novel to six investors (unnamed) who are getting 60% of the profits of the book from Tao, who pays them out of his share of the royalties, paperback and foreign sales, movie deals, etc.

There's a rumor around town that you are one of the six investors and thus your column is a totally unethical attempt to complain about the lack of money that you expected to get and are not getting.

If so, your bosses should fire your ass immediately, as it is the first rule of journalism that a writer shouldn't use his public platform to make money for himself on the side.

If this is not true, can you find out who the investors are? Are they unhappy with Dennis Johnson?

Furthermore, while you say he is not offering his support, that's true just about of every author I've known: they complain no end about their publishers not being supportive. So this is business as usual in New York trade publishing, a big yawn, and not worthy of one column, much less two. (Maybe you will answer this in your next column.)

So what exactly has been the consequence of Johnson not "supporting" the book? It has sold very well, is (I think) optioned for a movie, and it has appeared in translation in many foreign countries. What effect on the novel -- and in fattening your own wallet on the proceeds -- are you complaining about?

Finally, when authors are not happy with their publishers, they go to their agents to do something. Why don't you leave this Tao's agent instead of making this public? I'm sure Tao has a smart Manhattan literary agent who will do what every author does when they're unhappy with their publisher: take their next book somewhere else.

Certainly Tao has the clout to do this. If he is as unhappy with Melville House as you claim, he will get his agent to take his new work to a different publisher, one which will get him more money and more support.

You're doing a good writer a disservice by making him look like a whiner about his publisher. Are you some kind of secret enemy of Tao Lin? Are you jealous?

If you're not an unethical moneygrubber, what's your motive?
8

OK, so, Chris, there never was a part two, was there? And you never answered my questions.

I think this column shows why you are an irresponsible writer and the Stranger needs to get rid of you ASAP.

As I wrote in my last comment six weeks ago, "Finally, when authors are not happy with their publishers, they go to their agents to do something. Why don't you leave this Tao's agent instead of making this public? I'm sure Tao has a smart Manhattan literary agent who will do what every author does when they're unhappy with their publisher: take their next book somewhere else."

That's obviously what Tao did. I had no inside knowledge that Tao would have Bill Clegg at William Morris as his agent or get a 5-figure advance for Vintage for his next novel, but I was not surprised at the recent reports in the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, New York Observer, etc.

Why don't you at least admit that this column was thoughtless and a big mistake that reflected badly not on Dennis Johnson, a great small press publisher, or on Tao Lin, an accomplished writer, but on you -- a talentless, out-of-the-loop guy who thinks because he's got a book column he can say anything that comes to his small brain.

You're an idiot.