Friday, November 14, 2008

Sarah Silverman conquers the economy

Yesterday the New York Observer reported the acquisition of a book of essays by Sarah Silverman.

Early in the day they said:
Sarah Silverman is writing a book, several sources confirm. Publishers have been fighting over it all morning and afternoon, with Trident Media Group founder Daniel Strone overseeing the proceedings and no doubt smiling broadly as the pot climbs past $2.5 million.

One of Mr. Strone's other clients, meanwhile, ex-Microsoft sponsor Jerry Seinfeld, has a book on the market this week that is said to have driven at least two publishers crazy enough to submit bids in the $7 million to $8 million dollar range.

And later...
The auction for comedian Sarah Silverman's book has ended, with HarperCollins emerging victorious after submitting a house bid in the neighborhood of $2.5 million dollars..

Meanwhile, a Tina Fey book recently sold for $6 million.

There's a lot to say about the this and that of mega mill advances for celebs, but if you (like me) momentarily felt this news flash like a fork to the spleen, let's remember two things.

First, all three of these celebs are genuine writers, not some barely literate pro football oaf and two well-packaged pop princesses. This is not book money being sucked up by Paris Hilton gassing on about her four minutes in jail. These are three people who love words and have the talent and skill to use them masterfully.

Second, we're contantly told by our agents that book deals are about one thing and one thing only: what the market will bear. And this is proof that the market will bear a hell of a lot. I'm not saying, Hey, Tina got six mill, so can we!; I'm saying that in the present whirling maelstrom of craptacular dysfunction that is the American economy, Sarah Silverman got exactly the same advance she would have gotten six months ago. I think this is a good indication of faith in the recovery of the market. The dire predictions we're hearing are not unfounded, but there is good reason to be optimistic, or at least remain calm.

The publishing industry is still here and will remain. Yes, there will be some bloodletting, but the dust will settle, and writers with talent, tenacity, and a cool head prevailing will survive just fine.

And in case this pep talk hasn't cheered you up, here's Sarah's disection of the word cancer. ("Wordplay can be fun!")


Colleen Thompson said...

Sarah Silverman... $2.5 mill, for a book of essays that will probably contain some pre-adolescent ruminations on poop or something.

I'd begrudge her the money less if I got her sense of humor. At all. But hopefully, enough people do that the book will sell.

Now Tina Fey, I'm happy for. Her book I might read.

Joni Rodgers said...

I really hope Sarah's book will contain more of her political and social satire a la "Jesus is Magic" instead of the inane stuff that's on her show. (To be fair, I haven't seen that much of her show, but the few minutes I've seen were a turn-off.) I've been a fan of Tina's writing since "Mean Girls", which I thought was a really good script.


To subscribe to BtO, click "Subcribe to: Posts" at the bottom of the page and then "Subscribe to this feed."

Want to borrow a cup of content? Feel free to share our link or a brief quote with your friends. But please e-mail for permission to reprint or repost our work elsewhere, and always add an attribution and a link back to our site.

We welcome your feedback. Feel free to post comments. PR and outreach from publishers and published authors should be sent to:

Boxing the Octopus: all content copyright 2008 Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers all rights reserved.

We welcome payola in the form of pies, cakes, neatly folded laundry and free books!

In accordance with FTC regulations, we're required to inform readers that we receive books from publishers, authors, and PR folk for review. We'd like to receive money via an offshore bank account, but that hasn't happened yet. When my dad was in radio back in the '50s, a local baker used to sneak over in the dead of night and fill the back seat of his car with bread and pastries. We would NOT object to this. Please review our review policy here. And let us know if we should leave the car outside the garage tonight.

Peace, love, and statutory compliance ~