‘These days,’ said Rose Tremain a year or two ago, ‘almost everybody I meet who’s not already a writer wants to become one. Recent Society of Authors statistics show that only seven per cent of all writers in this country make a reasonable living (which means that 93 per cent do not, as compared with 85 per cent of actors who do not) and yet there’s a general clamour to scramble into this strange and lonely arena. Why?’
She’s right, though most people don’t get very far, as Dudley Moore and Peter Cooke pointed out:
Moore: I’m writing a book.
Cook: Really? Neither am I.
If you can actually get started on your book, and even manage to finish it, you’d surely take some time and care over how you approached publishers?
We get some very odd emails.
This one was sent to us last week:
I am a lecturer, diplomat and journalist, currently resident in Dubai. I have many years’ experience writing for newspapers and magazines and writing movie scripts. I have also worked as an actor, TV presenter and lyricist for recording companies.
I just completed XXXXXXXXX, a serious true-life romance based on sex tourism and transnational relationships in Uganda. It is captivating and engaging, with international commercial promise. It has 210,410 words. I humbly request your kind representation in my search for a suitable publisher and I would be very glad if you could spare some of your precious time to consider my synopsis and the first 50 pages of my manuscript.
Professor Bxx Exxxx
Ugandan sex tourism isn’t really our bag, literarily speaking, but you never know; the first few pages read reasonably well, so we replied:
On the basis that it’s a real life story [ie non fiction], please email the whole thing.
Today, we received this rather curt reply (left on the blog):
I need to have your physical address. I don’t deal with people whose crosscheckable office addresses I don’t have. Prof. Bxx Exxxx
So it’s not going to be one for us, after all. Maybe we’ll regret that, though!