Thursday, August 11, 2005

Publishing fiasco?

The Finnish news told yesterday of a new author and her first novel. The author was Heli Koivula (or actually Heli Koivula-Kruger). She's an athlete and quite a good looking babe (in the big picture at the presidential party). Now she has written a novel and a big publishing house is publishing it.

Nothing wrong with that. It's great Heli makes her debut in the harsh world of publishing.

But. Something makes me wonder. She says in the interview that she wrote the novel last Fall and that she sat on the manuscript for quite a long time. And that there were several publishers interested in the book. I heard earlier today from a reliable source that the publishing decision was made in Summer when they don't usually make publishing decisions - it must've been quite a race between various publishers! The book is already coming out this year - so much for sitting on the ms for a long time!

This is extraordinary and quite telling, too: the Finnish publishers are in it only for the money. They know at the publishing house that they are laughed upon ("Look at them! They publish a book by a celebrity! And she's a blonde athlete!"), but they still know that they sell more books than they lose their credit amongst literati and critics. It's cold cash talking. They even might think that they can sell the books to some raincoat men who fantasize about Heli Koivula and the novel. (Which is, by the way, about lesbian love affair. Which is actually great and quite brave for a woman of her stature.)

Seriously, I've been reluctant to admit that the Finnish publishers have given up their noble efforts to keep up the high standard of publishing and just aim for the fast buck (or euro actually). But now I join the ranks of the unsatisfied intellectuals. What's most bugging is how easily Heli Koivula got her book out. I bet she doesn't even know some folks have to wait for years to get their books published. Some never get. Maybe it's because they have bad books, but that's not the point. I don't think the decision to publish Koivula's novel was based on literary merits. I just don't. And I don't think those who made the decision think it either. They know what they did. Shame on you, people!


pHinn said...

It seems in Finland that when you're a celebrity of any sort -- musician, model, athlete, TV personality, or whoever spends their time on the covers of the gossip magazine 7 Päivää -- you automatically get your book out on a major publisher.

Juri said...

I've always thought that this is a cliché, but it seems to be the norm or at least coming to be. There are of course exceptions - Jasmin Mäntylä hasn't written a book. There was an actor who did a mystery novel (based on Mika Waltari's Palmu series) and it was published by a pretty small press and not a big one. The hockey player Jari Kurri's ex-wife said in an interview that she's written poetry - yet there's no collection of that (thank God!). (But then again - hockey player's ex-wife? That would be a bit deep...) And there are lots of Miss Finlands and other celeb babes who don't have books to their name. Helena Lindgren has written only her memoirs, which is pretty much okay to me. (Memoirs are always okay, novels and poetry aren't.)