You delivered them one of the best-selling fantasy novels of the decade and your small-brained publishing company has the gall to question your creative integrity? These spineless bean-counters and unimaginative squares think they have the authority to drag you into their big glass conference room and sit you in front of everyone from accounting and distribution and marketing, and then your cowardly editor who’s never written so much as a paragraph has the nerve to say they all love the sequel you wrote, that it was worth the eight-year wait, that fans will adore it, and that they only have one single question about the entire airtight manuscript: “Can you help us wrap our heads around the names of the new family of dragon-hunters from the west introduced in this volume, characters who are prominently featured throughout and are named Swiffer Sweeper Dry, Swiffer WetJet, and Swiffer Duster Heavy Duty?” You roll your eyes and moan and say that, like all the other fan-favorite names in the book including Grumslug, Thorain, and Gwendowyre, these new names emerged from the depths of your unparalleled imagination. You tell these uncreative bores that the mind of a writer is a mysterious place they, non-writers, could never dream of understanding. Your editor says, “That’s fantastic and you know we all have immense respect for you and your work, but these names in particular feel like paid product placement, and we wanted to know if you’d arranged some kind of deal with Procter & Gamble to mention these products in exchange for a payment made directly to you?” You stand and pound your big fist on the table three times, the way King Swiffer Sweeper Pet Heavy Duty does on his long oak table in chapter ninety-eight. “How dare you cast these ugly allegations at me,” you bark at those mice, all of them staring into the floor, petrified. “How dare you bland, orthodox rubes put me on trial in your kangaroo court for the alleged crime of using my imagination. Commerce disgusts me, and each morning as I sit down to write I batten the hatches to keep such nastiness at bay. My creativity is pure and it is sacred and it is as foreign and inexplicable to you milksop yokels as King Lear to a roach. I am an artist pulling wine from thin air for the benefit of you rapacious, predatory, covetous leeches. I am ashamed to know any of you, and you sicken me to no end. My novel will be published as-is.”
You turn and exit the conference room, take the long elevator ride down, step out of the building onto Broadway, and bump against a man in Procter & Gamble baseball cap. He slides a check for seven million dollars into your pocket as you disappear into the crowd while your immense brain stumbles into a vision for the third book, of a family of serpent-slayers from the east, a family led by the mighty Queen Febreze.