Bloggus interruptus

Charles Cowling

Everyone’s got a book in them. Best place for it. Throw away the key, I say, you’ll embalm the illusion that way.

Illusion? Almost certainly. You think you’ve got something precious and important to impart? You think there’s a lot of tosh coming off the presses, surely someone’ll print mine?

Try getting it published.

First you’ve got to let it out by writing it down. My favourite poet, archy, describes writing as ‘frightfully difficult literary labour’ and his diction sums it up perfectly if understatedly.

Then you’ve got to find an agent. Agents live on authors, but the way they tell it you’d think they’re trying to wean themselves off them. You send them your stuff. You wait. And wait. Then: “We like it – but not quite enough.”

Sisyphus knew something of what this feels like. But he had the better deal, rolling that boulder.

I’ve got to hand it here to Graham Maw Christie. They took me in and they’ve looked after me wonderfully.

There’s a rule of thumb which has it that finding an agent is harder than getting published. Don’t put faith in that, especially in the middle of a recession. Especially if you’re writing about death. At no stage should you ever get your hopes up.

In the case of the Good Funeral Guide it took a while to find a berth. Eventually Continuum recognised a gift horse when they saw it. I whoooped, then reflexively unwhooped. I won’t whoop, I said, till I’ve signed the contract.

Last weekend I did that (see pic above). Still I didn’t whoop. I’ve got to send them the completed text by 1 September. It’s got to be the best I can make it. Bye-bye summer.

And, of course, if that best isn’t good enough, they’ll send it back turned down.

When do I get my whoop-opp? I can’t see it.

Will this make me rich?

I can give you the figures if you ask. The long answer is no, very not rich. The short answer is skint.

The loneliness. The self-doubt. The terror of falling short. I don’t want congratulations, I need pity and I know I’m not going to get it.

Got a book in you?

How stubborn are you?

Friends, this blog will, for the next two months, go on the blink somewhat. In the meantime, if you’re the sort who takes lessons from those who don’t do as they say, learn to love the day job.

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