To be fair, I’m generally sympathetic to the point of view presented by the New York Observer’s Gillian Reagan about why a big book deal can prove to be a curse. In fact, a few drinks in my belly and I’ll start ranting and listing examples of all the mega-auction deals that went nowhere and how careers are better off getting started with healthy, if not outsized, advances. And it’s also important to point out that, say, a six figure advance really translates into less than half when taxes and agency commissions are factored in. And the comments made by Leah McLaren, Nathan Englander, Rachel Sklar and Anna Holmes are generally interesting and entertaining. But then I read the words of 25 year old aspiring writer Brendan Sullivan (left, with Planned TV Arts publicist Peter Horan) and my sympathy kind of goes away:
Writing has ruined my life and cost me many, many girlfriends. I have thrown away several careers and one college degree to spend my time working in bars, D.J.’ing in bars and drinking my rejection letters away. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, and I’ve made many of them since I started…I also abandoned my agent with words harsher than those I’ve saved for lost loves.”
Hmm, maybe some of those “27 jobs” Sullivan’s had since moving from Kenyon College in Ohio will actually, I don’t know, give him real ideas to write about instead of what he learned in school?