Ever Tried to get…. Published??!!??

Aside from being written by the same odd bloke, on the same computer, at the same address, in the same room on the same table, this page is completely different to the rest of the site. I don’t suppose it can be that different, then. Can it?

Like many, many, (many) millions of other inhabitants of this wonderful Solar System of ours (some bits aren’t that wonderful, but we won’t go there) I think I can write. You know, stories and books and things.

Unfortunately……….there are not many others who think so. I blame them, of course; but whoever’s fault it works out to be, I think everybody would agree that this is not helpful to an aspiring author. It’s not even useful for say, a train driver, if nobody else thinks you can drive a train. I did try that once, but they wouldn’t let me anywhere near one, after I demonstrated conclusively that I couldn’t even find the door to get in, let alone the handle to stop it.  

Once again I blamed everybody else (obviously; it was their fault). Which circuitously gets me to my point about the publishing industry. Let’s face it, anybody who can dig up a word like ‘circuitously’ and say it with a straight face, can’t be all bad as a writer. I even know what it means. Honest. This gets me, in a more or less random way, much as a pebble-dasher throws agregate at a wall; to publishers, agents, and marketing machines in general. Most of which I would quite like to throw agregate at.

Let’s not stop at those guys though; let’s have a shot at banks, building societies, estate agents (realtors), the record industry, the inland revenue, politics, et al. (You see, I even know about ‘et al’. He was the bloke who inadvertentlydevoured Albert.)

There is a common thread amongst all those in above mentioned list, which is but the tip of an unnerving iceberg; ever noticed it? None of them actually do anything. Nothing that is, other than collecting by circuitous means (there it is again) money from my pocket. If I wasn’t around they’d all be out of a job. Now you’re looking round for the fire bucket to stick your head in; (“He’s so far ‘off topic’, he’ll need a sat nav to find the table with the computer on.”) Bare with me. It’s best to check out the landscape before you get lost. It’s no good getting lost in say, the Sargasso Sea, if you’ve got deck shoes and an anorak. With that sort of kit you’d be better off getting lost at the Henley Regatta. At least the sandwiches aren’t bad; even if you need a mortage to own one.

My introductory thrust in my agent/publisher letter usually goes something like, “Dear assholes,” which I’ve been told does not produce an initially wonderful first impression. This is possibly why I haven’t actually had any. (First impressions, that is. You might need to look that up as it’s a bit publisher- jargonesque- sort of thing.) There is, oddly enough, a point to this introduction; there should be, as I am still able, even in my current state of decrepitude (No, you look it up; it’ll be good for you.) to distinguish the difference between an insult and a compliment. Here’s the reason.

You need to go onto some literary agent/publishers’ websites to check this lot out. The first thing you notice is that they are all ‘actively searching’ for submissions that are ‘quirky, unusual, left field, out-of the-box, unclassifiable, original, unique.’ What they really mean is that they want somebody to write Harry Potter again. Ms. Rolands was all these things of course; erm… thirty years ago when she couldn’t get a job. The record industry wants the same thing, except for it needs to be Sergeant Pepper. And forty years ago.  I think it was Unwin who finally decided to publish The Lord of the Rings, utterly convinced that it wouldn’t make them a brass farthing. Today, whatever it is has to fit on a shelf. Then, it seemed that books seemed to matter a lot more than the shelves. Has it not occurred to anybody that a book that isn’t on a shelf is a lot more noticeable than all those that are. All you need is an extra plank to fit it on, surely.

The reason, (that I was on about a few volumes back) for my “Dear assholes” introduction, is a kind of filter. Just as a publisher/agent will sling your five years work out of the window because it’s not double-spaced or Times New Roman or got your name spelled in Sanscrit and isn’t held by the right coloured elastic band for that week; for myself, I’m particular about the company I keep, whether they be called agents, publishers or refuse collectors. A decent bloke (or lady) is an essential, not an extra.

“We get five hundred and forty-three submissions every twelve seconds” is no excuse. My answer to that is “If it’s all too much for you, go and do something useful, then.” If you don’t want a pee you shouldn’t be in the toilet.

Anyway, I’m sure to be ok. I’ve just written Harry Potter again.

There will be more of this drivel. I don’t know if that’s a threat or a promise.