Sunday, July 17, 2005

Goodbye, Mad Max

Mad Max Perkins, who writes the blog BookAngst 101, an insider’s look at the publishing industry, penned his last entry today. It is a solemn, reflective goodbye, but one with a crucial element missing: his identity.

Mad Max has been writing the blog for less than a year. He’s an editor, he says, for a major publishing company (and thus, the reason for his pseudonym, after Max Perkins, after the famed Scribner's editor of authors such as Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.) Mad Max has used his knowledge of the publishing industry to enlighten readers about the world of making books.

About a week ago, he hinted that he would reveal his true identity before his departure. He challenged readers to guess his name and laid out a series of clues. One clue was the costume he wore to a panel at the recent BEA conference. He came dressed in a Merlin-like costume, complete with pointed wizard hat, long gray beard and flowing robes. That costume was significant, he said.

Then Max directed people to the cover of the Rolling Stones album with Mick Jagger wearing a pointy wizard hat. He acknowledged he was British and then ….

“But here's one more chance, dear people! Instead of telling you my identity, I'll give you one last try at figuring it out for yourselves.

Step One: Look at the picture (above) taken at BEA--notice the fellow in the pointy hat?

Step Two: Now look at this album cover. Notice, again, the fellow in the pointy hat...”

Well, I couldn’t figure it out. I don’t think anyone else did either, according to the comments on the site. And now Mad Max is saying goodbye. It’s hard to determine if he’s leaving because he’s tired, because his site is no longer as popular as it once was, or if he feels he’s run out of things to say. It’s probably a combination of the three.

So goodbye, Max. I have enjoyed learning about the inside of the publishing industry. Your posts about the stuggles and travails of authors have been particuarly enlightening. People who are trying to break into the publishing world are searching for any hint or clue they can find on how to make it, and your writings illuminated a field that many find inscrutable.

No comments: