Monday, 3 August 2009

An insight into platforms...

I ran my daughter to Bristol yesterday - she had too much baggage for the coach. She's already accumulating books, something that's crazy to do until either you own a flat or a car, as they are so heavy to transport. Her bookcase can't hold them all, and I idly looked through the excess piled on top.

'Ooh, can I borrow this?' I said. The book I'd found was Flying Under Bridges, by Sandi Toksvig. I'd picked it because Sandi Toksvig, as The News Quiz's chairman, makes me laugh.

Then I realized what I'd done. I'd selected a novel on the basis of the author's success in another, unrelated field. Just what publishers expect the public to do; the reason why an actor/television gardener/pop star can get his first novel published while better, unknown writers cannot even get an agent.



  1. Don't be downhearted!

    Unknown writers DO get agents and publishing deals. I've just been reading about someone who was on YWO. She's landed a three book publishing deal.

    I've an on-line friend who this time last year was unknown. She has a book coming out in September and two more in the pipeline.

  2. But the point Lexi makes is valid so many times over it can't be overstated. A well known moron has a better chance of securing not only a publishing deal but also priceless publicity over it than a talented unknown. That's the way the world works.

  3. Downhearted? Moi?

    No, I reckon market forces will sort it out, in time. If established publishers keep passing over books the public would enjoy, given the chance, then this leaves the door wide open for small independent publishers, POD websites and other opportunities we can't even imagine.

  4. Yes, but how's the book? Is it any good?

  5. Too true, I'm just trying to read a spy thriller by Sella Rimmington. She may have been pretty good at running MI5 but I don't thin she had time to study writing fiction. Obviously someone thought that because she could catch spies - well we have to take her word for that - then she ought to be able to write about them. I don't think so.

  6. Norm, I'm a third of the way through and can take it or leave it. There are witticisms on the page I'd laugh at if delivered on the radio by Sandi Toksvig.

    Trying to work out why I'm not finding it compelling, I decided the characters aren't engaging enough; I don't care much what happens to them. The heroine has a daughter, Shirley, and I know nothing whatsoever about her.

    My feeling is, a newcomer would be told it lacked sparkle. I haven't read ST's children's books.

    Rod, I hadn't even heard of SR's novel...

  7. More than halfway through now, and the writing is getting worse, as though the editor progressively lost heart the deeper she got into the book, and bothered less with suggestions.

    It's really not very good.