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Death of a Saleswriter
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Over the years I've noticed that some writers seem to take great pains to style themselves men or women of business and there's a certain amount of chatter on the web about how writing for publication is just a business. A writer's main job is salesmanship and if you're not expending most of your effort on selling then you're practically nothing but...oh dear, how artist.

Mind you, I am not talking about those of us, who in different ways, try to market our work so that we can continue to get published. (Hey -- would I criticize myself?) Nor would I argue that salesmanship isn't a big part (unfortunately) of being an author today. What annoys me is when I hear writers who sound like they would rather not admit they are writers. Who insist that their books are nothing more than product.

I can understand how serious professional writers might fear being grouped with those feckless aesthetes -- call them Artistes -- who brag about their finer sensibilities and whine that the world isn't good enough to recognize their genius.

However I'm not so sure this whole writing is a just business and the most important part is salesmanship thing doesn't have a little something to do with the common notion that commerce is the adult world while art is the realm of children. It's OK for us to imagine stuff when we're kids, but when we grow up we have to put away our crayons and buckle down to the hard money-making realities of the real world.

I don't buy the common notion. Commerce isn't reality in the sense that, say, gravity is. It's a human invention, although it pretty much ignores the human condition. Art's a lot more interesting. Well, never mind art. Just spinning a yarn is more interesting, to me, than making a buck.

Besides, no matter how business-like the approach, no matter how much salesmanship is undertaken, the vast majority of authors never hit the bestseller lists. They never become well known and wealthy from their artistic efforts.

You don't get to be Arthur Miller by becoming Willy Lohman.

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