I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the responses of established authors. This morning I received yet another kind email from a well-known writer who says he will be happy to read my novel and provide some feedback, possibly even a formal review if the mood takes him. His email does not, of course, promise a review, and it certainly does not promise a positive review, but it does suggest a willingness to hear new voices and ideas. This kind of behaviour is all any aspiring writer would want — an opportunity for work to be considered.
The time investment of this writer is comparable to that of a publishing house. The former receives no monies to compensate reading a new novel; the latter’s life-blood depends on it. And how many publishers read my novel? Not a one. A small number read the synopsis, a smaller number read two or three chapters, but none gave me the opportunity to have my work appropriately considered. That’s why I hesitate to say that my novel was rejected by, for example, Orion, because ‘rejection’ suggests reasonable consideration.
But enough carping. My point is that one might, somewhat superficially, think that writers are selfish beasts with little time for the pups snapping at their heels. But in contrast to my dealings with publishers and agents — who are dismissive, occasionally rude, or fail to answer letters altogether — 9/10 of the established writers I have contacted were polite, encouraging and willing to offer their time.