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!")

2 comments:

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.

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