A first-time novelist excitedly told me the deal: The big Christian publisher will print and distribute his Christian novel if:
1. The author pays to have it published.
2. The author pays a publicist to promote the book.
So as not to rain on his parade, I didn't say, "That's called subsidy publishing, and it's just like self-publishing except that the publisher owns the rights to your book and you have no creative control over the product."
What I said was, That's okay, I guess.
That'll clear the decks so I can work on my next book! said the author.
I said, You'll be pretty busy marketing that first novel.
He said, The publicist is supposed to do that.
I said, The publicist will arrange some things, but the person the publicist wants appearing at bookstores all over the country and on radio shows and at speaking engagements is you.
He said, Dang! Then why do I have to shell out for a publicist?
I said, Because your publisher said so, I guess.
Behold thee the winner of the April 2008 Artificial Difficulty Award.