Is it scary but true that everyone has a book in them?
And writing a book is easy isn’t it? Anyone can do it. Or so I’m told all too often since starting the MLitt course.
If I had a pound for every person that’s said to me recently, “I could write a book” then my uni fees would have been paid ten times over! I want to scream at them, “Well what’s stopping you write it if it’s so easy!” Because clearly anybody that can hold a pen or sit in front of a PC can write a book. My dog could probably knock out a Booker prize winner if he wasn’t so busy licking his balls.
But as the literary critic Christopher Hitchens once said, “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay.”
Do I think I’m able to do anybody else’s job? Do I assume that I can cut my own hair, fix my car or carry out medical procedures on myself? Thankfully not!
I’m under no illusion that I’m the next Charles Dickens. I haven’t got enough facial hair for a start. But for all you fellow wannabe authors, here are my midterm musings on my experience of the world of words….
Our Creative Writing group has been kindly permitted to gate crash a programme of seminars arranged for the university’s post graduate publishing students. So far, this allowed us an insight into the life of an established literary agent- Maggie McKernan, an innovative publisher- Adrian Searle and a successful writer-Paula Morris.
We we’ve been treated to fascinating but often frightening facts from these highly respected guest speakers.
Here are a few key messages that stick in my mind…
With the on-going struggle with market forces and the challenges thrown up by the ‘digital revolution’ in publishing, the Maggie McKernan literary agency rarely takes on a new client unless they have been recommended. .
Adrian’s publishing company, Freight Design recognises that it’s even harder than ever for debut novelists to be taken on by a major publisher and many established writers have become ‘London orphans’ due to their failure to secure major book deals.
And the biggest reality check came from Paula who blew away the myth that if you’re a good enough writer you’ll get published. Nah! There’s a lot more to it than mere talent.
Becoming a published author? Easy peasy lemon squeezy! What’re you all waiting for?