Paperback Writer, Before and After
The Beatles got it, well, right....
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear,
And I need a job,
So I want to be a paperback writer,
If you really like it you can have the rights.
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it you can send it here,
But I need a break,
And I want to be a paperback writer,
Back when the Beatles recorded this song in 1966, I can't say that I had dreams of becoming a paperback writer. I was hoping, rather, to write hardbound books, which would later find a bigger audience as a paperback, with a cheaper price and maybe a more alluring cover. This happened, ironically, with my first novel, and the cover of its paperback, which effectively (or at least for a long time) put a damper on my career as a literary novelist. The cover was nothing if not sleazy, and a misrepresentation of its characters and story, what the book was all about, what I intended readers to take away from the narrative. But selling is selling, novels as commodities, junk food that goes down fast, and hopefully, doesn't kill you in the process.
So here we are a few years later, and I can't say how excited I am to have paperback versions of my novels available on Amazon, Books-a-Million and IndieBound. They're in the catalogs of bookstores and libraries, so they can be ordered by interested readers. They're good-sized as larger paperbacks and priced reasonably. I owe this to Amazon and its powerful authoring tools. Just because every novel isn't a huge bestseller, making publishers rich and happy, doesn't mean they shouldn't have a life, maybe in the here and now, maybe later at another time, for another generation of readers.