A Little Help from Friends

I’ve just been read­ing very kind words by writer Ken MacLeod on Déjà Vu:

I wasn’t the only review­er who thought the book, and the writer, deserved a lot bet­ter. Ian’s efforts to become a prop­erly pub­lished writer were ser­i­ous, unavail­ing, and in the end heart­break­ing. He had anoth­er life than being a writer, and reckoned it was time he got on with it.

It was a day in the Christmas hol­i­day imme­di­ately fol­low­ing pub­lic­a­tion of the book that I got Ken’s email telling me how much he liked it (togeth­er with some busi­ness advice). That was the moment I breathed a sigh of relief. If Ken liked it, there was good chance it wasn’t rub­bish. Grand days.

The Racoon in the Room Full of Rocking Chairs

Anthony Horowitz quotes an inter­view with Giles Foden, author and pro­fess­or of cre­at­ive writ­ing at the University of East Anglia.

At any event, he was asked—broadly—about the place of lit­er­ary books in the new world and he replied: “It’s hard to estab­lish what is good and what is not. Barnes, Amis and McEwan were the last people through the door and then the door closed and the build­ing fell down.”

I don’t think the situ­ation is get­ting worse for lit­er­ary writers. Yes, lit­er­ary fic­tion com­prises a small por­tion of the mar­ket, but this has been the case for dec­ades, per­haps longer. And while the chefs’ books and celebrity mem­oirs are pop­u­lar dur­ing their mar­ket­ing win­dow, they don’t last. Literary fic­tion — and good fic­tion in gen­er­al — has a long tail.

Falling down | theBookseller.com

Twits Books | guardian.co.uk

Well, this looks like huge fun. Apparently, some agents on Twitter have been tweet­ing about bad quer­ies (tag #query­fail). And now the writers strike back:

It was bound to hap­pen – the only sur­prise is that it’s taken a whole month. Writers were angry and wounded by March’s “Queryfail” on Twitter, which saw a group of agents tweet­ing about the worst sub­mis­sions they’ve received from would-be pub­lished authors.

Writers hit back at agents over query­fail | Books | guardian.co.uk