My books, money, value, the somber truth

I read an article on Slate today on writing and money, and it compels me to respond. The point of the article is the fact that so few writers actually make any money at their writing. Just about all writers are supported by doing something else, like teaching, and yet...

The political novel: 3

At the time I started writing my first gay political novel, I had only been out for 24 months, and I was steeping in the literature of gay political theory. The weekend that Charles Howard was murdered (July 7, 1984)—he was the man on whom Bernie Mallett of Ceremonies...

The political novel: 2

Even though I didn’t have many extended, free-wheeling conversations with friends about the military’s rules against my serving (I served anyway), still the fact that what I was doing sexually was a crime occupied me deeply. A novel about me during the sixties in...

The political novel: 1

Writers write about political subjects all the time—Henry James wrote about the place of women in late nineteenth century England, and Charles Dickens wrote about the legal system and the poor in the nineteenth century, William Faulkner wrote about black people in the...

The Kindle and freedom of choice

The direction we should be going toward is toward freedom. We need to remember this at every step, so that when somebody takes us in the wrong direction, we will know it immediately.   In the contemporary world—the one outside my window—I am free to walk down the...

Living in the long tail (2)

The “long tail,” as it applies to the book industry, is described as a graph of the sales of books. If there are twenty-two books for sale, the one with the most sales would be on the left, with a tall bar. And then, stretching out to the right, each of the other...

Living in the long tail

Last week, Ewan Morrison, writing in The Guardian, asked, “Are books dead?” and “Can authors survive?” He was writing in the context of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and his belief that the “publishing industry is in terminal decline.” It is an interesting...