It was announced yesterday that Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak will be paid 7.5 million dollars for a book that explores the details of their complicated, untraditional relationship.
Seven Point Five MILLION dollars.
Yes, publishing gives big advances to celebrity authors who are likely to sell well, and Kaling’s first memoir did well and to be honest, was maybe my favourite of the comedy memoirs that came out in the past few years – certainly the best since Bossypants. B.J. Novak has also published books, and they’ve been well-received if less commercially marketed. AND Mindy has another upcoming memoir, Why Not Me?, that I am very excited to read. They’re kind of legit book people, actually.
But what kills me here is that part of a publishing advance is in exchange for the writing, which is often alone, painful, and full of doubt. I could be wrong, but it seems as though the two of them can write this book by just opening a bottle of wine for each chapter, yelling and arguing with each other, and having an editorial assistant take meticulous notes. They can rehash all the same arguments they probably have all the time anyway, but this time for cash!
I’m actually quite interested in this book, especially because I want to see whether they see themselves the way I (we?) see them, which is as two people who both seem most interested in the other when the other isn’t interested – with mitigating oh-your-success-is-very-attractive factors. I’m also interested in why they chose to do this in book form, instead of writing the anti-rom-com.
But I’m impressed that they’re doing what everyone in this business is trying to do – get paid to hang out together. May we all have friend-relationship-colleague things that are complicated enough to warrant an entire book to explore them. If Lainey were writing this, she would wonder whether they would have sex on or off the clock, since you know that’s a topic that will come up in the book. I say both.
Attached - Mindy and B.J. out in New York together in April.