NOT BEING ALONE, IN NEW YORK CITY

Writing can be such an isolating process in itself, that when a battle begins with your own publisher, and whether you think you’re totally in the right or not, very often you can certainly come to believe you’re entirely alone; that ‘Barton Fink’ syndrome, struggling against the faceless brutality of big corporations. The exposure and humiliation, the threat to your needed name and profile, can make it ten times worse than in other professions. It’s extremely important then that writers sometimes talk to each other about it, and share the load. I heard from a lawyer friend yesterday, that a writer chum of his went through a similar experience with his own New York publisher, and it ‘nearly killed him’. I don’t know if love was in the frame too, but perhaps it’s par for the course in big, bad America. He fought back by joining the US Writer’s Guild, and also got back the rights to his book. Bravo. I was told last year, by the head of a major UK and world publisher, that publishing is ‘increasingly ruthless’, and also that there are very many examples of extremely disillusioned authors out there. It is inevitable that some of the sour grapes are about the natural failure of work, yet that does not excuse glaring bad practice, or mistreatment, the raw cynicism I think my own story exposes, and the internal ‘political’ terror inside New York businesses too, so isn’t it time we began to listen to and help one another? DCD

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