Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So Frustrating!

I don't often use this blog to air my grievances, or as I like to say, having a bloody good whinge, but I am today.
I received an email this morning from a lovely reader wanting to know how to obtain a copy of one of my books, which is no longer in print and I've asked for the rights to be returned to me. If I'd had a spare copy I would have sent her one, but I don't.

The sad thing is, I'm not sure whether this particular book will be in print again, or indeed, any other of my books I have sitting in the computer waiting for some wonderful editor to buy, because getting said books in front of an editor is harder than winning the lottery - it can be done, but it's rare and costs a lot of money and time beforehand. Those who gain the attention of an editor first time they try are very lucky, just as those people are lucky who win the lottery with the first ticket they buy.
I'm happy for those writers, really I am, but it is very frustrating for us who are left.
We, being the ones who put in hours, day, weeks, months and years of time - researching, writing, editing, querying, then printing and posting. I know agents and editors are extremely busy people and I admire and respect all their hard work which I'm sure, at times, goes unrewarded, but please, for the love of my sanity, and many others', please stop publishing the good deal of tripe that's out there, and yes I mean B grade celebrities biographies and crap and the badly written fiction that are complete wall-bangers - or any other book that the person doesn't either; 1. even care to write the damn thing in the first place, or 2. need the money. Why are millionaires given more money with six and seven figures advances? Wouldn't it be better to give some of that money to fostering new talent? Especially as that new talent would bend over backwards to help promote their books.
I know many, many writers who would, without any hesitation, grab any opportunity the publishers provided to promote their books. I can assure all publishing marketing departments that if you give a new author the chance, the means and the support to promote theirs books, they won't let you down, because to be honest they'd be just so damn grateful to have their work noticed they'd sell their first born for the honour - or is that just me? (No, I don't think it is. Come on, be honest.)

As an author, devoted reader and lover of books, my heart says that all books have a place on a shelf somewhere and are loved. However, I beg, and I don't beg often just ask my husband, I beg that agents, editors and publishers start looking for new talent to foster and look a little deeper to those writers out there who pour blood, sweat and tears into their books. We Will Work Hard For You!

My agent died in 2008. Since then, finding a new agent has been more difficult than wearing a bikini at a beach party in Siberia. The global financial meltdown hurt publishing and of course had a knock on effect down the line to authors, I understand that, but I have readers wanting more books of mine to read and I have books here waiting to be published. Surely, somehow, without going down the whole self-publishing route, there must be hope for the two to meet?

How long can I keep going, waiting for a contract? Will I end up an old lady with a drawer full of unread manuscripts? I certainly hope not.


Judith Arnopp said...

Well said, Anne, I've been saying the same thing on my own blog. I am in a similar boat myself. The publishers and agents aren't giving the public what they want. I have emails everyday asking when my next book will be ready but I can't get an agent for love nor money (actually I havent tried the love angle, maybe it will come to that :D)
when I was younger, yes it was long ago, the top shelf was full of quality writing but to find anything in a similar vein these days, (ok, there are a few quality authors being published but not enough to satify my reading needs)you have to trawl the small publishers. The talent is out there, it just isn't getting noticed through the hype.
Keep the words coming though, Anne!


TM said...

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Jen Black said...

We just have to keep hoping the world will turn our way again, Anne, and ditch all those pseudo celebs back where they belong. I don't recognise most of the celebs featured in OK and Hello! mags any more. Complete strangers, most of 'em!

Beverley Eikli said...

Anne, did you write this before you heard Woodland Daughter had gone to audiobook? That's great news!

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KK Brees said...

Hi Anne,

Karen from Clio's Children here. This is a terrific post. I decided to go with a small press because I knew the odds of being found by a larger one were practically nil. Finding an agent to represent my fiction was becoming a Herculean task, and I suspect part of the problem is that many of them are youngsters who don't relate especially well to the older writer.