Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The X Factor?

It occurred to me today, that sending your precious work to a publisher is akin to being in front of the panel on the X factor. They have so many people to sift through, many of whom can't sing for toffee; indeed many are too embarrassing to watch they are so bad.
The sad thing is most of them think they really are good!

It must be the same with writing, as we all think our stories are wonderful pieces of prose or poetry, or we wouldn't submit them to an agent or publisher. The awful truth is that most unpublished writers have only their family and friends opinion about their work. They are bound to be kind and supportive about any work presented by a very proud writer, even if it's really bad. Which is just the same as angry relatives yelling at Simon Cowell et al, because they won't put through their totally tone deaf, screeching little darling.

So the work gets sent to a publisher or agent who sends it back, wishing them well elsewhere, and the writer thinks, Never mind, all the best authors have loads of rejection letters, and gaily sets about getting another presentation together to send to the next on the list. How long will it take to realise, if ever, that they don't have a scrap of talent, or if they do they need to take a course.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a soft option to attempt to make a living from the craft that you love, it is damned hard work. So please, if you are one of those people who think you have a book in you, (one isn't enough though, unless you're famous for something like kicking a ball about or getting your kit off in Big Brother), but haven't got the foggiest idea how to write it, either get some help, or in the words of my idol Stephen King, do yourself a favour and – forgeddaboudit!!

It might be a good idea if agents and publishers had more than the one standard rejection letter on their comps to print off. The, 'it's not for us etc.', letter, and a special one for total illiterates telling them to seek help or forget it, and take up something nice like knitting. Still, maybe I'd get one of those, who knows?!!

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