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Thursday 9 April 2009


Interesting piece on BookBrunch here. The woman who button-holed Trevor Dolby is making the same mistake as some unpublished authors - believing that there's some kind of conspiracy amongst agents and publishers not to publish good writing. (Er, hello, can someone please suggest a single sane reason why such a conspiracy might exist????) It's another deluded idiot symptom and will get her nowhere. (Understandable though her frustration is, and I really mean that.)

Such people also seem to think that no agents or publishers would know a good piece of writing if it came up and spat at them. No, sorry, it's we the authors who are the last people to be able to be objective about our own work - though we need to try - and the sooner we accept that the opinion of our desired readers, including the professional and multi-experienced ones, matter more than our own, the sooner we will become published and enjoyed by the reading public.

And here's the thing: all the agents and publishers who rejected me during my now well-documented and shameful 21 years of failing, were RIGHT. And I am even grateful to them. (Though at the time, I'd probably have stuck pins in a few publishers' wax models if I'd been any good at fashioning passable likenesses in wax.) See, I believed I was good enough a writer - which we have to believe, in order to keep going, don't we? And yet at the same time, we also need to recognise that there's something about what we're doing that isn't yet good enough. That's the dilemma, the razor-edge we have to walk along. And all that is why I'm deeply grateful (and not even through gritted teeth) to all of them for not publishing my substandard stuff.

I don't know about you, but much as I desperately need to be published, I more need to be read and enjoyed. We don't write in a vacuum, or even in a nurturing bubble occupied only by our family, undiscerning friends and pets: we write to be read and heard. Don't we? Therefore, we simply have to listen carefully to those who might read and hear us and those who might have a fighting chance of taking our words to the wider audience.

And if no one wants to listen to our words, then we should either shut up or write better.

Woah, crabbit or WHAT today??