And yet, for the business to sustain itself–and this is why your jobs
are so incredibly stressful and demanding–you’ve got to be able to do
exactly that: take chances on writers, and stick by writers, who won’t necessarily become bankable brands (if they ever
do) within three months, or even three books. With the fate of your
kids’ college educations on the line, you’ve got to be able to say to
those people above you–the ones who talk to the suits above them,
at Viacom and NewsCorp and Time-Warner and Bertelsmann and so on–that
sometimes real money must be invested now on "product" that won’t
really come to market for five years. CEOs–and even shareholders–in
pharmaceutical companies understand this. Why not in our industry?
But when profitable, blockbuster novelists are few and far between, and midlist authors are, unfortunately, way too common, is "Mad Max Perkins" indulging in wishful thinking?