Another reminder that the market is sometimes bad for humans. Or writers (and probably readers), in this case.
According to the NYT, Tina Brown is hot on creating a new publishing imprint that will rush books to market just a few months — one to three for writing, another one or two for editing and production.
It’s a fabbo business idea. Books fail because people’s interest moves on too quickly, she argues. True enough. Who cares about Iraq these days? Or Lehman brothers. Or what happened yesterday… Polanski who?
But, c’mon. Damn. They’ll be short books, some 150 pages, and if you’re a beat writer, know your stuff, don’t mind working like a dog for a few months, it’s totally doable. Nobody’s going to expect prose that shimmers, and yeah, they’ll probably sell.
And this will increase the pressure on writers even more, to produce more, write faster, report less, edit less, fact-check less, write shittier sentences. We’ll get long, sometimes beautifully written academic tomes on one end of the market, and quick-turnaround jobbies by journalists and freelancers (thus further reducing the intellectual reputation of journalists) on the other, and the smart middle will be further hollowed out. More unintended consequences.
I’m going to go invest in some stock for anti-carpel tunnel products.