In an effort to distract myself from my ongoing Kindle Scout campaign–which has gotten off to a slow start, which is what I get for starting it on a beautiful weekend in autumn—I sentenced myself to an afternoon of knitting and watching old movies. But because my life is basically a series of goofy coincidences, the movie that came on was about a writer: Beloved Infidel, with Gregory Peck in the role of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Deborah Kerr as Sheila Graham. I did read The Great Gatsby, but other than that, must confess I don’t know much about him. But I watched with great interest the scene where F. Scott goes to the mailbox, and there is a slim letter from his literary agent—which we writers know is never good news. Good news comes in bulging envelopes, and sure enough, a scene follows with F. Scott going on a terrific bender, getting crazy drunk, beating up and trying to shoot poor Sheila Graham, almost killing her.
It made me groan, because this is the way literary novelists were expected to act, once upon a day. For one thing, they had to be male, of course, because no mere female could write Serious Literature. And they had to be drinkers, because they were tortured and sensitive souls who could not bear the travails and disappointments of the real world without some kind of anesthetic. Oh, please. If good old F. Scott were alive and writing today, in this literary climate, he would be perpetually drunk and probably dead of alcohol poisoning before his Kindle Scout campaign reached its 30th day. At least back then in the 1940s and 1950s, a serious novelist had a chance of getting noticed and read.
It’s day three, and I’m already losing faith in this Kindle Scout competition. I’ve had decent click-through numbers, (KS will not tell you how many actual nominations you’ve gotten); but think it might all be rigged in favor of bad genre writing. If you go to my page (just to be obnoxious, https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2FG91Y0LS2F58), you’ll see that you’re asked to nominate three authors in all. I have no problem with that. However, KS conveniently runs a banner across the bottom of my page, listing all of the “Hot and Trending” books, as a not-so-subtle suggestion that you vote these guys up. But these guys don’t need your nominations, because they’re already “Hot and Trending!” The more I look at this, the more I think I’ll be publishing Wives of the Saints myself next month. But we’ll continue along, and see what happens…if nothing else, I should get a few good blog posts out of this!