That's a horrible heading, isn't it? But there can be no doubting its veracity.
Take the rash of celeb biogs, for example. (I mean that literally - you can take them. I don't want 'em!) Then compare the pulling power of Kerry Katona with, say, Anthea Turner. Damaged childhood and drama-filled adulthood vs middle-class girl does quite well for herself. See what I mean? There's even a name for these unhappy goldmines ... 'misery memoirs'.
I started thinking about my own experiences in publishing. When my books first came out and were being publicised, this is what I got:
* 'You were made homeless when you were 7 months pregnant? Oh that's wonderful!'
* 'You wrote 2 books, while holding down 2 demanding jobs and raising 2 demanding children and living on a council estate and it nearly did you in? That's great - we can definitely use that!'
* 'You lived through a war? Fantastic! It was 20 years ago? Never mind, it's still useable.'
* 'You didn't have a dreadful childhood? Oh ... shame ...'
OK, I'm paraphrasing a bit, especially on that last one, but honestly, not a lot. And you have to bear in mind that this was about me, not my books. I've never written about those experiences!
Anyway, surely the lowest point in the commercialisation/exploitation of misery has to be the case of 18 year old Natascha Kampusch, who recently escaped after 8 years captivity in a tiny basement in Vienna.
No sooner had she stumbled, blinking and confused, back into the real world, than the literary vultures began circling, cackling their responses to the horror that was her life.
'Completely fascinating, extraordinary,' cackled one. 'The biggest misery memoir there's going to be,' said another, audibly salivating.
Just as well her interests are in the hands of a sensitive PR agent, Dietmar Ecker, then. Here's what he said.
'From a purely capitalist point of view, this woman is a goldmine.'
Excuse me. I think I'm going to be sick.