Posts Tagged ‘tao lin’

Author Sells Royalties, Fights Troll

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

A few weeks ago, Tao Lin, poet, novelist, short story writer, and editor at 3:AM Magazine, moved into the futures business – offering to sell, for two thousand dollars each, six ten percent stakes in the royalties of his as yet unfinished second novel, due to be published next year by independent Brooklyn press Melville House. A full article about the venture can be found here, care of Publishers Weekly.

Interesting, I thought, and kind of smart. After all, if David Bowie can do it, why not Tao Lin? Make some money, get some publicity, and build an audience. A few days after I found out about the offer I went to check out Lin’s blog, Reader of Depressing Books, but I was too late. The offer had been closed. No matter — I probably wouldn’t have shelled out the cash anyway. Instead, I found myself drawn into some of the other posts, in particular one about how Lin had been flamed on the internet (by what he calls “a shit talking entity”) and so he was inviting his blog readers to chime in about what a good and honest person he is.

I’m intrigued. What is it that people are saying that could be so bad that he feels he has to mount such a public defense? Then I remember that I have heard about Lin before – on Gawker, no less – when I was directed, by a link, to this article from the Seattle based alt weekly The Stranger, in which Lin charts the various levels of writing greatness. I remember reading that piece and thinking — hmm, there are not many people I know who could compare Anne Tyler to a $9.98 Petco Gerbil and get away with it. I remember also thinking, there’s someone who is very clear-eyed about how this whole publishing world works.

So I hang out at Lin’s blog a little more and read more posts, and the comments left in response to those posts, and I deduce a few things. The first is that Lin has quite the following, and many of his acolytes leave comments that seem to be written in his own style. Ergo, Lin is already influencing people. Ergo, he must be original to some degree, and have things to say that others respond to. So what exactly is his style? (more…)