Money, Honey

Hello again from Sarah Graves, who has to keep looking at the photograph on the left in order to stay in any kind of halfway decent mood whatsoever. Because first of all, over the weekend a certain publisher who shall remain nameless but whose initials are RH and who is also my publisher made a deal for a first book by a 26-year-old woman, Lena Dunham, who writes a popular TV series. The publisher agreed on a price of $3.75 million, or about $9500 per page, and will need to sell along the lines of half a million copies to earn out.

Never mind the millions, I’m still stuck at being envious of someone who’s 26 years old. Although I do wonder what it feels like to write for a rate of approximately $38 per word, and which words could theybe, exactly? The ones to the formula that grows hair, cures cancer, and repairs global warming? How scary is it, trying to write these oh-so-expensive words? And — when does she get paid for them? Given the recent spate of lawsuits trying to recover advance money paid to other writers who

Eastport dooryard in autumn

for whatever reason didn’t show up with the stuff, I assume there’s a little cash up front — say, maybe a quarter million? — and the rest at various milestones later. Like, a year after publication, then a year after publication in Urdu, then a year after hell freezes over… It used to be that publishers didn’t come after you so much for advances for things that didn’t work out, but nowadays they do, so she shouldn’t spend it all right away, is all I am saying.

Um. Well, but not all all. In other news, The World came to Eastport yesterday, and my goodness but we were all agog. The World, in case you missed it on account of being in shock over that $3.75 mill for, basically, the memoirs of a person who has lived slightly over a quarter-century, is a Great Big Cruise Ship with a difference: it’s condos. You buy an apartment, anything from a $600K studio to a couple of million for three bedrooms. Which right there stops me: spare bedrooms? I get on a ship, sail far, far away…But I can’t say sorry, the place is too small for Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Chaz to come and visit with their

toy poodles, Poopsie and Tinkle? No way; I’ve lived in Maine long enough to know that part of luxury is being able to say that we’ll just have to have our visit at a restaurant, next time this tub makes port. Also: the condo fees on The World start at around $20K per month. Which last time I looked was a little less than Maine’s per capita yearly income of about $25K, but hey, who’s counting? We did sell them several hundred pounds of fresh lobster and lobster meat, so that was good, and the idea that local musicians should go downtown and play on the street for tips somehow didn’t get any traction (don’t get me going on that one!) so all in all it was a decent day.The opportunities for satire were endless, though, and I think Eastporters deserve lots of credit for not pursuing any of them. Like, say, dressing up in hobo costumes while playing those musical instruments…







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7 Responses to Money, Honey

  1. Joan Emerson says:

    Well, I suppose the fact that I had to go and look it up to find out something about who this obviously world-famous dilettante-of-the-moment might be in the first place tells you that I’m not at all likely to be one of those publisher-is-hoping-for hordes of folks waiting with baited breath for this book to hit the shelves of my local [well, quasi-local since its about fifty miles away] Barnes and Noble. That’s an awful lot of money for a young woman whose major claim to fame, as far as I can figure, is some cable show I have never seen, have never wished to see, and know absolutely nothing about. But, hey, whatever . . . .

    A cruise ship consisting of condos? Okay, let’s put this in its proper [for me] perspective . . . my husband has had, for many years, a lovely sailboat . . . complete with a galley so I can move my never-empty coffee pot from my kitchen to his boat for the day . . . and obviously loves he to sail. Me, it’s down the Dramamine, curl up in a little ball in some corner, and pray for the sailing event to be done with. A condo on a cruise ship? Not in this lifetime, not even if the amount of green stuff [choke-choke-gasp . . . half a million dollars???!!!] was a price tag that didn’t cause heart palpitations . . . .

    Obviously, there are more than a few people wandering around the planet who desperately require a reality check and for whom the things-you-really-need-to-be-concerned-about radar is in dire need of serious adjustment.

  2. Deanna says:

    Does not sound like the book for me either, or the condo, or even knowing the people who write books like this or live in condos like that!!! I’m an old New Englander!!! Dee

  3. F. R. Pamp says:

    Sarah, I share your distaste for the overpaid (Ms. Dunham can’t hit big league pitching, after all) and the overwealthy cruise-ship condo owners. Fortunately, I can deal with these minor irritants because I just got back from walking my dogs at the big leash-free park, where we interacted with half a dozen cheerful, friendly Goldens. Several of them know I am always good for a pat and a skritch, and my Scottie was even polite. I am therefore well able to remember that love of money is an illness, too much money is bad for you, and rich people, the studies say, are often less happy than the rest of us.

  4. John Clark says:

    I’m beginning to think there should be a huge blinking sign about 75 miles above the United States warning intelligent life forms that “The Rules of Logic and Order DO NOT Function Beyond This Point.” This is a great example of why competent writers think about going postal on a regular basis. Then on the other hand there’s the unpublished news item about the dead fish in the road message given to a certain republican senator from Piscataquis County by his neighbors last week to let him know his campaign is in serious trouble, so there are a tiny few signs of cosmic justice.

  5. Sarah,
    You do realize you have all the elements of a great little murder mystery here, right? The overpaid author buys one of those seagoing condos, visits Maine, gets into an altercation with a musician welcoming the ship (conveniently in disguise because it is Halloween) and shortly thereafter ends up dead, preferably in some nicely gruesome manner. I’m sure one of our Maine Crime Writers sleuths could take on the case!

  6. Sarah Graves says:

    You know what’s also funny? How transgressive it seems to talk this way about money. I’m way too well-trained!

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