The New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reveals why he wishes reporters (and editors) would stop writing books. Keller revealed his attitude in a piece titled, “Let’s Ban Books, or at Least Stop Writing Them” that ran in the newspaper’s online magazine.
He cites that these would-be authors who take time off of their day job to pen a novel, memoir, or other work of non-fiction often leave behind problems in the wake of their absence. From Keller needing to find a replacement reporter or editor to cover the writer’s duties, to the feelings – often of jealousy or resentment – that grow among the colleagues that writer leaves behind, there’s a wide variety of issues that crop up every time someone asks to go.
But more than that, Keller says that he looks back over his own experiences as an author tangoing with the publishing industry. He genuinely wants to impart his hard-learned wisdom that sometimes writing a book does not turn out to be the life-changing event these aspiring authors think that it will be. Instead the process can result in financial difficulty, not only when the writer takes time off of work, but if the book isn't a success they will have to pay back the publisher's advance — much like Keller is still doing himself!
However, Keller fully admits that working at The New York Times does not necessarily dissuade writers, “The Times covers books, reviews books, ranks books and publishes books. We are total enablers.”
So aspiring authors, we want to know what you think. Will Keller's advice affect whether or not you want to pursue getting your story published?