CopyKaavya: advice for teen writers with big book deals


By Carmen Comment

In the First Post, Nicholas Clee asks one of many questions that are swirling around Kaavya Viswanathan and the recall of her book: why did she garner such a huge advance, and why take such a risk? “The answer is the book industry is in thrall to the new,” says Clee. “The increasing domination of a handful of giant publishers and retailers has led to a concentration on titles that will sell in big quantities; many of those titles, particularly in fiction, are the works of young and glamorous authors.” And so, he concludes, the book industry is becoming ever closer to the movies, and a cycle where “future flops are inevitable, providing us cynics with a reliable supply of sour satisfactions.”

But for those who really want to take the time to learn the craft and not be tempted – or turned away – by the aftermath of CopyKaavya, John Scalzi has this to say along with 10 pieces of advice: “You’ve got the time to do it. Take it.” (That way, Ron notes, you’re less likely to face withering skepticism from the likes of Nick Antosca, who wants to know “why a supposedly literate, intelligent student at the world’s preeminent university would write a novel that barely even pretended not to be garbage.” But then, Antosca managed to fight off the literary agents who wanted him to lighten up his writing while he was at Yale, and is about to publish his first novel later this year.)