Fleming on writing

Thomas Fleming has this interesting observation on ebooks:

One of the dirty secrets of the publishing world is how many good books get (and have gotten) mutilated over the last twenty five years, as costs of paper and labor drove book prices out of sight. Writers are told bluntly, coldly, that fifty or a hundred or even two hundred pages have to come out of a manuscript so the book can be published at a saleable price. This is a painful process, which leaves many writers bleeding psychologically for a long time. E-books will put an end to this barbarism. I can't wait to see them go mainstream.

He has some advice for Newt Gingrich:

Generally speaking, I think using real people in fiction should be done sparingly.

And he has this caution for ACW and other authors:

One day, [my agent] decided I should get to know some publishers. He set up a lunch with Alfred Knopf and George Brockway of W.W. Norton. Toward the end of the lunch, Malcolm turned to Reynolds, Knopf and Brockway and said, "I bet the three of you have a 100 years of experience in the publishing world, which do you think is more necessary for a writer, talent or luck?" In unison, in a bellowing chorus that almost blew all the dishes off the table, they exclaimed, "Luck." "See, I told you," Malcolm said to me. It's a moment I never forgot.

Here's the whole article.