Luckily, no one knows except for these guys. Phew!
If you can stomach it, there is some pretty solid advice. If you can't stomach it, no need to sweat it... I am here for you, as I too am guilty of committing many of these blunders along my journey to publication.
Please welcome this week's Banana Peelin' featured author, Candy Gourlay!
So many banana peels, so little time. My dear Elizabeth, with such a focused theme, how long do you suppose will you be able to keep this blog going? Well ... forever. The road to publication is LITTERED with banana peels. For every book published, four score and seven commissioning editors lie snoring, bored to oblivion by their slushpile. Let not their sacrifice be in vain. Here are some choice banana peels for the discerning blunderer on his or her journey to the slushpile:
2. Ditto your covering letter. Craft it, love it, spit and polish it. Hone it to perfection. The phone will ring and you'll hear the words you never thought you'd hear. Send us the full manuscript, please. Er. What manuscript?
3. Keep an eye on trends. Vampires? Check. Mermaids? Check. Dystopia? Check. Gritty? Check. They say editors don't know what they want until they see it. And when they see your saber fanged mermaid living in an alternative parallel world populated by knife-wielding hoodies, they're going to know exactly what they want. Someone else's book.
4. Authors have to build their own platforms in this digital age. So get on with it ... friend everyone on Facebook, Tweet like the the world is coming to an end, respond to every comment on your four blogs. There's only one problem. Everyone else is doing it too. Being noticed has everything to do with standing out, not hanging with the rest of the sheep.
5. Fed up with sad stories and depressing plots? Go ahead, write a book filled with goodness and light. Let the hero's dreams come true. Let the sun shine on your characters. Let their every desire be met. It will be the first tension-free book! Surely, a world record! Which will be wonderful because it will make up for the fact that nobody's going to want it - nobody wants to read a book with no tension.
6. Cherish your prose. Hold it close, savour every word. Only show it to people who you know will love it, like your children and your best friend, the one who owes you money. Put that manuscript on a pedestal. It will look great up there. Safe from the bitter criticisms of commissioning editors and critique groups. Never to be thrown to the mercy of the undiscerning, unreliable reading public.
7. Rejected? Again? Tweak that manuscript, tweak it, I say! Tweak it if it takes years! Then reformat the whole thing, print it once, twice, print it three times until it looks perfect. Then send it out again. Multiple submissions, that's the trick. Do everything to get it published. Everything to avoid writing another book.
8. You have no time to write. You tweet about this sad fact, you blog about it, you discuss it with your friends on Facebook, and you discuss it on the phone, and on the way home from school and on the way to work. And at bedtime, you have a row with your partner because he or she hasn't been supportive enough to help you find the time. Yes, you definitely have no time. And you definitely have no book.
|Photo by Raymund Rivera|
10. You've written your novel, perfected your submission, caught the eye of an agent. You've done it! Time to celebrate! What's that? You've got no friends to celebrate with? What about family? Oh I'm sorry to hear that. I could have told you. Alienating your friends and family is one of the slickest banana peels on the road to publishing success.
TALL STORY made a splash when it was published in the UK in 2010, with nominations and shortlistings to the Carnegie and other major children's book prizes. It won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe and since publishing in the US appeared on Kirkus' Outstanding Children's Debut list for 2011. Candy was a journalist in her native Philippines. Marriage to a British foreign correspondent brought her to England.
Dang. That is all I can say, other than where was Candy Gourlay when I submitted my autobiography on being a saber fanged mermaid living in an alternative parallel world populated by knife-wielding hoodies? NO wonder I haven't been contacted for my own Lifetime movie! =)