The book deals with the work of Erle Stanley Gardner, and the fact that he was called “The World’s Bestselling Writer” on the cover made me curious, because I’d never heard of the man. The fact that I don’t read a lot of crime detective stories doesn’t help, neither does it help that these were stories and books that my grandparents enjoyed. The book itself was written in 1980, and I strongly suspect that the author lost the Bestselling Writer crown to one blond-haired female writer who writes, amongst other things, about a boy wizard. But we’ll leave that for statisticians to bicker over.
Perry Mason, I’d heard of the stories about him, but also only as something the generation of my grandparents and parents enjoyed.
What then, in this day of the internet and computers, can be learned from a writer who learned to write in seriousness almost 100 years ago, and whose writerly biography is so peppered with implied sexism (merely reflecting the day and age of course, but FFS, was there any purpose for women, in real life and fiction, other than to bring the tea or to be rescued?) that I almost gave up reading several times, were it not that the book is quite pricey for an ebook, and the people who recommended it are people I respect.
Anyway. Putting aside the fact that women didn’t exist back then, the book goes on to reveal a most interesting lifestyle with meticulous detail to fact and study. Also with incredible work ethic and how he went about using the latest technology to achieve his incredible output.
It was an interesting and inspiring read.
I didn’t learn anything major that I didn’t already know–watching people with this kind of inventory this make a killing on Amazon–but I found the book inspiring, because it illustrates so well how a dedicated work ethic pays off big time. Many writers wait around for the muse to strike, whittling away time while they could be writing something. Anything, really. Many writers revise endlessly, and quite possibly revise the death out a story.
As I’ve come to realise, as a writer, you’re not selling stories. You’re selling your ability to produce more stories.