Thursday, 7 October 2010

Yes, They Could Be Serious

Many, many years ago I wanted to read a book about how to get into acting as a profession. Every book I could find was written by an old, already famous person, like Judi Dench. I'm sorry about the old, but I was still in my teens, and at that point age didn't equate with useful experience. I wanted something written by someone in their 20s, someone who was still climbing the ladder, someone who would know a few short cuts.

Fast forward a few years, and I was possibly that person. I was in work pretty much non-stop and earning good money, but no way could I call myself famous. So, I decided to write the book I'd wanted to read. Having written it - and I don't remember any angst about writing, so unlike now; that too must be an age thing - I knew that there was one publisher who published all the plays, so I wrote to them telling them what I'd written and why.

They wrote back - they were interested, but wanted to know a bit more about me: why was I the one to write this book? At which point I decided they were giving me the brush off and didn't bother to reply.


I simply can't believe I did that. But it is true. I think, deep down, I was worried that they would think I wasn't famous enough for them so it was easier to reject them first before they rejected me. Idiot!

Because now I know differently. These people - agents, editors, publishers - are so swamped with manuscripts that ANY flicker of interest is good. Every day they are besieged by thousands of voices going Me, me, me! so if they offer you some individual attention, be thrilled and flattered, even if it doesn't lead to the publishing deal of your dreams. Take it as a positive sign you're on the right track and don't be silly like me.


womagwriter said...

I've had new writers ask me similar questions - eg 'I sent a story to xxxx women's magazine, and they wrote back asking if I could change the ending. They obviously don't like it so I won't bother sending them anything again.'

Sarah Duncan said...

Arghh - and when you think how hard it is to get any response, let alone such a positive one...

womagwriter said...

Yes, I know plenty of writers who would dine on their own toenails for a month to get such a response.