By “new author” I mean “me,” but it sounds more magnanimous this way.
Publication seems like the end goal for writers. Actually, it’s just the beginning. Unless we sell gazillions and become household names, there’s no guarantee of being published again. Hell, even being a household name isn’t enough – RandomHouse refused to publish Joan Collins’ manuscript, even though they’d already paid her, because it was so terrible.
Most of us receive contracts for one, two, or three books at a time; rarely more. Once those books are published, we need to convince the publisher (or another publisher) to give us a new contract. Lots of factors come into play but, naturally, sales figures are one of the biggest – publishers are businesses, and they need to make money if they want to keep publishing books.
So, if there’s an author whose books you love – or just an author you love – and she isn’t at Rowling levels of stardom, how can you help her get that next contract?
Authors on the whole are a neurotic, anxious bunch. Okay, most aren’t quite as bad as me, but nearly all of us fret. A lot.
Maybe it’s because we’ve trained ourselves to scrutinise our words and the impressions they make, and that extends into over-scrutinising everything. Maybe it’s because publishing is like war – 5% terror and 95% waiting – and in those periods of waiting we inevitably overanalyse and catastrophise everything. Maybe it’s Ebola. I don’t know.
Whatever the reason, one of the consequence is that most of us suffer from author envy at some point. Maybe at every point. When you’re unagented, you’re jealous of authors with agents. When you’re agented, you’re jealous of authors with publishing deals. When you get a deal, you’re jealous of authors with bigger deals. When you get a big deal, you’re jealous of authors with… better hair, or something. Those coiffured bastards.
I’m a horror junkie. Yeah, I know: I write fluffy romcoms and I don’t believe in ghosts, demons, or anything supernatural, and any serial killer trying to abduct me would need a winch and a high tolerance for whining.
But I love horror. Gorefest or fade-to-black mindfuck. Serious or satirical. Hollywood or made in someone’s garage with a £10 budget and a bit part for Dave’s mum because she made all the sandwiches for the three-person crew.
The only thing I don’t do is Generic Monsters – zombies, vampires, and werewolves can all fuck off. Notable exception 28 Days Later, which is definitely worth a watch.
So, here are my recommendations of five movies to watch for Halloween…
In this morning’s chapter, Bill (I feel like I can call him Bill, after spending a decade travelling the world with him in his books) promoted a concept he’s come up with: we should all be allowed a list of a dozen things we hate without having to defend, justify, or explain it.
I think with most of mine, the explanation is self-evident:
People who call holidays ‘holibobs.’
The people and charities dedicated to saving giant pandas from extinction.
Books written in present tense.
Gullible fools who claim the Loch Ness Monster isn’t real.
People over 20 who brag about how much alcohol they drank on a night out.
Brexit (see #5) and everyone who voted for it. All 20 million of them.