Friday, March 18, 2005

Confession 17 How To Get Published Cynicism

The Sound of Music jog:

Discovered a new form of jogging today. It was another sunny spring morning so instead of running around the edge, zigging through daffodil clumps huffing and wondering when I could stop, I ran down grassy slope through centre of park to the river, arms out to side, Sound-of-Music-like. There aren't many people around at that time of the morning, and I didn't sing. Perhaps I'll wear frock tomorrow, though.

Partner pointed this article out to me yesterday, said I should read it. Thanks. It's John Walsh talking about his stint chairing a one day seminar called How to Get Published at the London Book Fair.

The meanies of the Independent make you pay £1 to read it but I wouldn't bother. He was saying basically all these people on his course were deluding themselves and didn't have a hope in hell. Yes it is really, really hard to get published these days, and was in any other day. And some of those people probably couldn't write for toffee, but others probably could. And it's true that of the books that are published a high percentage of those authors will have a marketing gimmiky thing that publishers love like being a footballer or a model or something, and a large chunk will be journalists and magazine editors. That probably leaves about 20% of the spaces left for the rest of us. It's best to know that being able to write isn't enough. That is assumed. It's finding an original angle, identifying a genre before it's happened, but not too soon because the publishers won't have seen it, it's all that kind of stuff that probably gives the best odds. It's a painful time, in between deciding to give it a go and getting that first contract.

I've been editing all day, deleting each scene and tagging it with a summary so that I can move them all around and delete a lot of them. There are far too many at the moment and I need to identify the ones that move the story forward, that have something to say and junk the rest.

My favourite rediscovered note of the day:

The smell of France: "Gauloise, slumberous sauces, scented flesh and opulent farmlands."
The smell of Spain: "the salt of dried fish, some wine and sickness, stone and thorn, old horses and rotting leather, the whiff of rags and woodsmoke."

Laurie Lee:

I am going to try and do something on Greece. As can't nip over to Hydra for mini-break, and even local restaurant is out at the moment, will have to rely on memory: hotel full of furred up Russian mafia, hundreds of Greek hairdressers on annual convention blocking the lifts, kids club losing daughter, rain.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

1 comment:

genevieve said...

I take my autistic son walking in some gardens in the mountains near here - there is a hill there that he and his sister ran down as kids, he would still run down it if I let him ( he's 20 now). Get the voice out, singing is holistic exercise, n'est-ce pas?