Kind to Your Neighbors - You never
know what they might say about you!
Warren Adler E-Sheet 19
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The Endurable Title
It never ceases to amaze me how
The War of the
Roses has endured in the popular psyche for nearly 24 years. A recent example is the program "Prime Time" hosted by
Diane Sawyer which recently ran a couple of segments entitled "The Real War of the Roses" which recounted the divorce of a "real" Mr. And Mrs. Rose in Florida.
While I am happy for the title's notoriety, and its impending March republication in connection with the book's sequel
The Children of the
Roses, I must acknowledge the power of the movie version which plays somewhere in the world almost daily and has done so for nearly a quarter of a century.
The experience suggests a cautionary tale for authors who are lucky enough to sell their books to the movies.
Never let them change the title. It is the kiss of death for an author, especially if the movie is a hit.
It is bad enough for a movie of a book to be heavily changed and distorted, but even worse for the title to be eliminated.
The True e-Book Story
Since most of my novels are converted to all e-book formats (and available as paper books as well) I am naturally interested in every little wrinkle as to its future viability.
The general press has not been kind when it reports on the future of e-books.
Barnes and Noble has ceased selling them and a number of other high profile companies have either abandoned them for the time being or severely curtailed their operations in that category. Some erstwhile media types have actually written them off comparing them to the hula hoop and the Model T.
As an early cheerleader for e-books, I am far from discouraged. My project was always based on a very long term view.
E-Book Update: Retailers sold a
total of 660,991 eBooks in the first
half of 2003, a 40% increase over the
same period in 2002, during which time
471,995 units were sold. Publishers did
equally well. They sold a total of
620,277 eBooks in the first half of
2003, a 60% increase over the same
period of 2002, during which time
388,589 units were sold.
Considering that the copyrights for my work will last 75 years beyond my lifetime, I figure my project has a predictable lifespan of, God willing, nearly a hundred years, spanning at least five generations. Putting it another way, my books will never go out of print for at least 100 years.
Of course, this does not mean that they will be read. Such optimism can only provoke ridicule and dismissal. I take comfort in the bedrock truth that
no one can predict the future. But it is comforting to know that the possibility exists that eyeballs yet to be created will have the opportunity to scan my humble stories describing life in our troubled times.
I used to be flabbergasted that other authors of my output hadn't followed my path. When I look behind me I find, arguably, few authors in my wake. And
yet, every time I visit a library, public and private and see paper books growing moldy on miles of shelves, I get the feeling that I am observing a cemetery where endless gravestones stretch out to infinity with the possibility of disinterment practically nil.
While I don't believe in reincarnation, I do believe in possibility of life extension for authors. There is, after all, many recorded incidences of old books and works of art being rediscovered. Am I not allowed my private fantasies?
That said, I take comfort in the research and conclusions of my friend
Dr. Harold Henke, a scholar, researcher and shrewd observer and predictor of technological trends. His website is
Here is what Dr. Henke has to say.
"Growth rates are very high in every category of publishing and sales of eBooks and eDocuments. If I were to equate this to stock market, the eBook industry is a microcap industry with growth rates that exceed the publishing industry growth rates.
"If you have been invested in the market this year, you know that the small/mid cap indexes have far outperformed the SP 500.
"Very simply put, this is the fastest growing segment in publishing. Publishers and authors and agents will be playing catch-up in a few years. I know this has been said before, but we are now gathering data which accurately proves this point.
"eBook sales are not limited to traditional retailers whether brick and mortar or online. My recent survey for the OEBF gathered input from many publishers and retailers who are not included in similar surveys nor top ten lists.
"I think this is an important point, the distribution and sales of eBooks are not like paper books. The barriers to entry are small and companies continue to pop up to publish or sell
"This is a rising tide which is lifting the eBook industry. This is really key, too many people, especially in the press, are focused on how business is done today and continue to interview the same people again and again but there are many companies sprouting up, who
many note have the publishing or sales numbers today that come close to business as done today but eventually, these retailers, publishers, and even author-publishers will have enough market share that they will be part of future press stories on the real eBook industry."
Cheers for you
Dr. Henke. From your mouth to God's ears.
Be Kind to Neighbors
So I'm sitting in my house in
Jackson Hole this summer and a writer named
Neal Pollack calls me and says he has been assigned by
Gentlemen's Quarterly to do a story on Dick
While I'm not a close friend of
Dick and Lynn Cheney, I have known them since their earlier days in Washington when Dick was the Congressman from Wyoming and Lynn was a writer for The Washingtonian. Having lived in Washington for thirty years where my wife Sunny was editor of
Dossier, a life-style magazine that we owned, we were acquainted with all the important figures of our time, up to the end of the Reagan administration.
It was a time when partisan politics was put aside after-hours and bitter political enemies forged warm, enduring and life-time friendships. Alas, those times are gone forever.
Since Dick and Lynn are quite visible and accessible residents of
Hole and the Vice President's plane sits in clear view not far from my house, I suppose
Neal thought this qualified me as a source.
Nevertheless as a fellow writer and former journalist I consented, although with some deep second-thoughts. In the spirit of the old west, I did not want my fellow townspeople Dick or Lynn to be trashed by a non-Wyoming hired gun.
Thankfully, I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Here is my part in Neal's story.
Looking for Dick
Pollack, Neal. Gentleman's Quarterly, October, 2003: p.257
One Monday in late July, I traveled to
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the Cheneys have had a house since 1993. During the summer, I'd been told; it's easy to spot the vice president eating at the town's most renowned restaurant, the Snake River Grill. Lynne Cheney has done book signings at the local independent bookstore, and
Dick Cheney uses Jackson Hole as a base for hunting or fishing trips. "It's become a joke among him and his friends," says one Jackson Hole resident. "What undisclosed location in Nebraska are we going to hunt in this weekend?"
Jackson Hole is, to say the least, a casual place when it comes to wealth and celebrity.
Brian Siegfried edits jhzone.com, an independent Web site that covers the town. He told me, "Cheney's here, but we say, 'Big deal, I saw
Bob Dylan yesterday.' Cheney would get a bigger reaction landing at LaGuardia than at Jackson Hole Airport."
Immediately upon arriving, I went to the house of the novelist
Warren Adler, whose books include The War of the
Roses, Random Hearts and a short-story collection called
Jackson Hole: Uneasy
Eden. Before moving to Wyoming, Adler and his wife, Sunny, published a society magazine called
Washington Dossier. He said he's known Cheney for forty years: "Before he was VP, he'd go to a lot of dinner parties, or I'd see him at the country club having dinner with his father. They were part of the scene. He never had dinner at my house, but he'd have dinner across the street."
The Cheneys were just plain old Wyoming citizens of the town, Adler said. He still sometimes sees Lynne on the street or at the airport. Before September 11, he saw Dick shopping at Albertson's Food & Drug.
"When they say 'an undisclosed location,' here it is," he said. "I can see his airplane from my house."
Adler took me for a drive around his neighborhood. A common theme in his conversation was that sleepy little Jackson Hole, the last self-styled outpost of the Old West, was being
"Aspenized." The drive provided plenty of evidence. His neighbors include
Senator Jay Rockefeller; James
Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank; and perhaps most impressive, the actor
Lyle Waggoner. We drove past a home where, through a bay window, we saw an elderly man pondering at a desk. Outside, an American flag flew. It seemed to hang over his head.
"That's a buddy of mine," Adler said. "He was an advance man for
Adler lives on a fancy country club spread with a gorgeous man-made trout-stocked pond out back. Blue herons from
Harrison Ford's private preserve steal his fish, and he gets visits from elk. The Grand Tetons loom across the horizon behind the house; the Snake River slithers nearby. It's a setting beyond idyllic. But it's not even the town's fanciest country club. That would be the
Teton Pines, where, everyone in the town knows, the Cheneys live, in a house valued at $2.9 million. Adler gave me easy directions and sent me off in search of
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