Are You Dysfunctional Enough to Be a Bestselling Author?

If you’ve got a tale with a twist–no matter how twisted–Narcissus wants you!
Narcissus Publishing Group is conducting a global search for fresh voices with fresh stories to enthrall the reading public. Let’s face it: Incest is over. Rape is dead. Divorce, depression, drinking, drugs, suicide, sex with aliens–they’ve been done.

That’s right, ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Sure, you could go on Jenny Jones and get your 15 minutes of fame that way. They’ll even throw in a cheap hotel room and dinner for two at Planet Hollywood. But why spill your guts for free on TV when you could cut a seven-figure book deal instead? (And–practically guaranteed–a TV movie-of the-week, with Valerie Bertinelli or Tony Danza starring as you!)

We’ll let you in on a little trade secret: Most “authors” nowadays can’t write either. That’s why Narcissus offers a large, gifted stable of co-authors for you to choose from. Most of these bright, capable underachievers are from two-parent suburban families with nothing more than a little dysthymia or a piddling anxiety disorder to show for it–not the big stuff that makes publishers drool over their mahi-mahi.

Sheldon F. A graduate of Brandeis University, Sheldon hails from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He is the co-author of 37 works of nonfiction–all of which snagged advances in the high-six-figure to seven-figure range. (Sheldon’s own memoir, Bald Like Me, is available on the Web at www.sheldon.baldnet.) Sheldon’s pet topics are rare disfiguring diseases and bestiality. “I’ve always been a sucker for a good shaggy dog story,” he says.

Marlene S. For years, Marlene, who is also a practicing sex therapist, specialized in incest. “It was my true calling,” she reflects wistfully. But times have changed and now that incest is drying up, Marlene is open to exploring new areas of psychic pain and perversion. Although she used to snub her nose at channeling, she’s now willing to entertain proposals from God and other discarnate entities. “I’d be a schmuck not to,” Marlene muses from her home in Parsippany, New Jersey. “When you collaborate with spirits, you get to keep the entire advance.”

Cameron K. III Despite his impressive vita–Choate, Harvard (magna cum laude), Oxford (Rhodes scholar), graduate degrees in religion and literature from Stanford and Yale, as well as the National Book Award for his first novel, Subtle Graces–Cameron has been unable to sell his subsequent 17 novels. “You think Henry James would have gotten two cents in today’s market?” shrugs Cameron’s agent, Esther Bernstein. That’s why he’s turned to violence. “But we won’t even consider a serial killer with fewer than fifteen murders under his belt,” Bernstein warns. “Less than that and it’s just dull, dull, dull.”

This quiz will tell you if you’re headed for Oprah and a hefty advance–or if you should hang on to that day job.

1.Why do you want to write a memoir?
a) I have great teeth and the camera worships me.
b) I want to make friends with my shadow, speak my truth, heal my childhood wounds–and get paid for it!
c) I want to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

2.What’s your physical condition?
a) Dead, but available by e-mail.
b) Suffering from a terminal disease that was on last year’s best-seller list.
c) Excellent, except for the occasional bout of toe cheese.

3.Where do you currently reside?
a) Death row.
b) A Vietnamese pig farm in Arkansas with my mother and father, who also happen to be my aunt and uncle.
c) The Upper West Side.

4.Which story do you think has the makings of a blockbuster?
a) The wrenching tale of a youth whose fiancée dies tragically in a slaughterhouse and ends up on some thoughtless stranger’s dinner plate.
b) The heartfelt story of young woman who is molested by her Girl Scout troop leader, has a near-death experience while swimming with the dolphins, then gets a voice mail message from God instructing her to hold out for a three-book deal.
c) The erotic awakening of a sensitive young man from Baton Rouge who discovers during his freshman year at Yale that he’s a heterosexual.

SCORING: Give yourself 100 points for every “a” answer; 50 points for every “b” answer; 0 points for every “c” answer.

300-400 points: $1-3 million advance, advertising in People and Vanity Fair, 50-city book tour, guest appearances on Oprah and Good Morning, America.

100-300 points: Advance in the high four figures, advertising in Utne Reader, five-city bus tour of the Upper Midwest, guest appearance on Good Morning, Fargo!

0-100 points: A handwritten rejection letter from the editorial director of Narcissus praising your extraordinary literary gifts, which, unfortunately, “do not meet the needs of today’s competitive market.”

BONUS QUESTION. For an extra 100 points, match the blurb with the blurbmeister.
a) Deepak Chopra
b) Loni Anderson
c) Harold Brodkey

1) “This book changed my life.”
2) “This book changed my life!”

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.