One of the strange things I've discovered since I made a bit of money is that some people who I don't even know hate me.
Why should that be do you think?
Why should there always be resentful individuals like you, mostly abject failures in life, who sit seething somewhere about how I'm a "multi-millionaire" and warning people never to "loose sight of Graham's primary motive...he wants to sell books - hence his repeated reference to the forthcoming 'Underworld'."
OF COURSE I WANT TO SELL BOOKS. I'm an author, you idiot. I want to sell books the way a carpenter wants to sell chairs or a painter wants to sell paintings, or a farmer wants to sell his crops. I bet even you get paid for whatever it is you do to earn your living. And what's wrong with that??
When I started out writing, as a foregn correspondent in Africa (a stringer, by the way, not on staff) I was broke all the time. I used to take horrendous physical risks to do my job and frequently put myself in harm's way in order to get a story. And I never made any money. I was always in debt, always struggling to get by.
To tell you the truth I was constantly broke and constantly, increasingly, worryingly,in debt throughout the 1970's, the 1980's and the first half of the 1990's. During the 1980's I wrote my first books but my financial position never changed.
By the end of the 80's I was researching "The Sign and The Seal" and although the advance I got for that was my best until then, the costs of researching it, with huge amounts of travel, and years of my time put 100 per cent into the book, were many times higher. When "The Sign and The Seal" was published in 1992, I had managed -- through re-mortgaging my house, borrowing to the limit on my credit cards (many of which I had acquired solely for this purpose), and numerous personal loans -- to run up a truly horrendous and apparently intractible debt. That debt swallowed up all of the first tranche of the advance I received for "Fingerprints of the Gods" and still left me heavily in the red when I began that book.
You may think my methods are slipshod -- I am always trying to improve though -- but I am a perfectionist when it comes to my books. I cut no corners in the research and travel for "Fingerprints of the Gods" and emerged from that book so deeply in debt that my family and I had to sell up our home altogether and move into rented accommodation. We were, I would say, only weeks away from bankruptcy when "Fingerprints of the Gods" became the number one bestseller in Britain and subsequently the number one bestseller in Japan, Italy and several other countries as well.
Still, it took us a while to pay off all the debts and for me to get used to a situation where I was lending the bank money rather than the other way round!
Now I'm writing "Underworld". I hope very much that it will sell and sell well. But that is not my "primary motive" for writing it any more than it has been for any of my other books. I'm passionately interested in what I write about, I love the process of writing and constructing books, and I'm reasonably good at what I do. These are the only reasons that I write. If I make some money in the process as well I see no harm in that. We live in a society that rewards hard work, enterprise, initiative, talent and risk-taking in all fields (certainly not just writing!). If you don't like that sort of society then why don't you go and live in North Korea?
And by the way, speaking of "Underworld" why don't you also try risking your life repeatedly at depths in excess of 100 feet, fighting huge currents that can sweep your regulator out of your mouth and your mask off your face, and surfacing in the middle of nowhere to find that your dive boat has vanished and you have a one mile swim to the shore.
That's what I've been doing for my living for the past three years while I've been researching this book.
But I'm not complaining. I think I'm incredibly lucky to be able to spend my time investigating big mysteries and I am grateful to everyone who has bought my books for helping me to do this.
Best wishes, Graham Hancock
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|A life of abject failure?||399||Eyeswideshut||13-Nov-00 08:56|
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