The U.S. government filed a lawsuit Tuesday against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, alleging he violated nondisclosure agreements by publishing a memoir without giving the government an opportunity to review it first.
Snowden, rightly, is using the lawsuit as an opportunity to sell his book:
The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide. This is the book the government does not want you to read: (link corrected) https://t.co/JS1AJ6QlXg— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 17, 2019
However, I wish someone would tell Snowden about IndieBound and the importance of selling books through independent bookstores. Given that Amazon is working with ICE and other law enforcement agencies on facial recognition and other Orwellian technologies, you'd think Snowden would be pulling for indie booksellers.
This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations. Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.
In other book news, the literary world is having fun kicking around a Medium post by Heather Demetrios titled "How To Lose A Third Of A Million Dollars Without Really Trying." In the post, Demetrios talks about her inexperience with the business of books and how her naivety led her to squander the experience of being published.
A lot of the comments about Demetrios feel a little like sour grapes to me — the business really is confusing for new writers, and a lot of agents are very good at getting big advances but very bad at being good human beings.
A good response to Demetrios's post is Chuck Wendig's "How To Be A Professional Author And Not Die Screaming And Starving In A Lightless Abyss". Wendig offers plenty of tips and compassion for Demetrios while frankly explaining how the industry works.
Sometimes I wish that some genre publisher would stop giving out six-figure advances and instead hire a fleet of novelists on a fixed, middle-class salary with benefits. The process of requiring every author to be a social media whiz, a self-marketer, and an expert at working freelance is not the most welcoming atmosphere for creative types. Imagine what a working-class literary workforce could produce if they didn't have all those pressures forcing them to keep hustling.