Thursday 9 October 2008

As Recession Looms, Consider Signing Up for Big Brother

I guess one of the great things about having an agent, is that the rejections come more quickly.

No, really. If you know a publisher has passed on your manuscript in two weeks rather than eight months, then you have room for strategy.

But it's still a bummer.

Even more of a bummer is if your submissions have coincided with this extraordinary economic downturn. If you have been in a coma for the past few weeks, here is a quick video explaining the financial crisis. Because this is a writer's blog, we got Hank Green, brother of award-winning author John Green (An Abundance of Katherines), do the explaining:

An agent friend told me the other day: "It's not just about quickly drawing your reader in. It's about quickly drawing a publisher in."

And then of course, you find out that David Walliams, star of Little Britain, has published a children's book. No, it's not about child transvestites.

You can't even hate him because apparently the book is not half bad (I had a peek at Waterstones and dang, it looked quite good) - he is a writer after all.

We can't begrudge David Walliams his children's book because he's
first and foremost a writer. Look, even Quentin Blake approved.

And you realise that now more than ever, publishers are going to be looking to celebrity to make their dough. And some celebs can actually write.

So here's a cunning plan.

Apply to become a Big Brother inmate. You only need stay for, oh, two days.

Germaine Greer managed to stick it out for six days before marching out because it was so unhygienic.

Two days would qualify you to add "former Big Brother inmate" to your query letter which immediately qualifies you as a B-List celeb ... which immediately also qualifies you as a publishable author (especially if you do something suitably ghastly that hits the headlines while you're in the Big Brother House).

Who knows, you might even sell more books than Katie!

Success is built out of small sacrifices like these.


  1. Candy, if you plan to join Big Brother, you have to consider the persona you will be projecting: the crazy, the funny, the slutty, the geek? If you were going to join BB in the Philippines, however, you'd have to be ready with a big sob story, or you'll never hit it with the masses.

    (Don't forget to have someone start your fans' club too!)

  2. slutty? i try not to reveal that side to my public.

  3. people are commenting on facebook:

    sue eves: And I noticed in Smiths today, all the books on the top seller list seem to have a celebrity on the front cover

    Still, at least you have an agent!

    candy: yeah. but nobody likes me. boo hoo.

    might as well write another book.

    nicky: Writing another book is always a good idea - it keep the mind occupied in a positive direction.
    I suspect rejections are going to become even more of the norm for "the rest of us".
    I noticed in one recent article that publishers are starting to trawl their backlists for books on jam making, clothes making, mending, growing your own veggies etc... But apparently in times of recession sales of Mills & Boon go up, as to sales of anything that smacks of escapism and/or the lives of the rich and famous. Jilly Cooper's Polo did really well in the last recession. So, go write dreams since that appears to be what the market will be hankering for - dreams and happy endings. Makes sense, I guess. That along with being a big brother housemate. Gaaarrrrrrr!

    john shelley: It's a bandwagon and no mistake. Seems as if writing a children's book is almost part of the celebrity contract now. What is a celebrity now anyway? Sitting around in a glass cage for a couple of weeks is enough to sell you books eh? Sounds reasonable, I spend weeks on end locked away in my studio/bedroom and still don't have a bestseller!

    Fortunately years in the Far East spared me from Big Brother, I must be one of the few people in the UK who's never seen it.

    Trish Phillips: I think you're all wasting far too much time WRITING - what you need is a silver outfit, a fluffy thing and a tiara.........

    Candy: but i'm saving the silver outfit for my book launch!


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