This thing, this facetious essay in the form of a sporadically updated blog, this attention-seeking ploy, this addict of tricolon, is adapted and/or stolen from a humorous essay I published several years ago in an online literary magazine that seriously no one, not even me, gives any fucks about. Here's how it works: I talk about how hopeless the publishing is, how feckless, how miserable, how soul-sucking, how toady, how artless, how mercenary, how fucking useless, how Fascist, how t-shirttily leftish, how other kinds of shitty, but I do it with a smile in the form of a cute joke at the expense of the publishing industry or some dumbass writer who doesn't deserve his (it will usually be his) book deal or his attention, and together we can all feel better about ourselves because no matter how low we are, no matter what fuckups we commit, no matter how few people are reading our work, we are not of that world and de fucking facto, presto fucking chango, we are suddenly above it—because we can fucking laugh at it. And so now I get into character and this thing gets less gloomy, or it's still gloomy but superficially it's something else, something more phonily authentic:
The Truth About Writing and Publishing
I assume that anyone reading this is some kind of writer, failed, aspirant, obscure, all three. Like me, you work in the dark, receive little praise or attention, have a couple hundred Twitter followers, most of whom don't interact with you and wouldn't recognize your name. You work, maybe you get published sometimes, you share your publications in Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and all the other social media outlets, and for the same results but with less effort you could just be screaming your story into your pillow because no one gives a fuck about your work. You're probably not going to get famous on Twitter, on Facebook, on Wattpad. By probably I obviously mean definitely. You can have five or five thousand or seventy-nine-thousand-fourteen followers, but if you don't have an agent and a legitimate book deal you're still just a hack in the eyes of society. I can help you! The publishing industry is harder to break into than the safe in which Putin keeps the pee tapes, so take the advice of a veteran obscure writer with dozen of acceptances and many hundreds of rejections from agents, publishers, literary journals, and even The New fucking Yorker in his history.
Here is a quote from the essay from which I've adapted this whatever this is (and I will slip out of character long enough to tell you that it has only gotten worse in the years since I wrote this):
"The publishing world is complex. Good books are rejected every day. Terrible, pathetic, soul-crushing, brain-melting, ink-wasting, lifeless, artless, humorless, hopeless, just awful books are published every day. Small, independent publishers have no money. Major publishers (big, apparently dependent publishers) have money, but they only read manuscripts sent through a literary agent . . . . There are people out there, many of them, who will tell you the best way to get published is to submit, submit, submit. (After five thousand rejections the pain decreases.) There's merit in that philosophy, of course, but it's not extremely effective. There are easier ways. Take it from someone who knows (me). I have a master's degree in literature. That makes me an expert on books and everything pertaining to them. I am, by the way, always available to testify as an expert witness, for a reasonable fee. Incidentally, I'm also available to speak at your event. I do (that is, I would do, if someone asked me and offered money) graduations, anniversary parties, funerals, conferences, awards ceremonies, and general readings and book-signings. I don't have any books to sign*, but if you print out one of my old McSweeney's columns I'll be happy to sign that. I'm not a successful writer, but the one thing I've learned over the years about how to become a successful writer is that you have to whore yourself out at every opportunity. I also call BINGO and can get up early to appear on quirky, small-market morning news shows."
I'm not famous myself, because I have a fucking soul**, but I've studied the path to success, I can lead you there, and if you want to skip obscurity, rise straight to the top of the heap of shit that is book-stardom, follow the advice I'm about to throw at you.