Friday, August 26, 2005


The Guardian's Tim Clare throws down on the rampant idealism in the publishing industry:

The truth is a disproportionate number of publishers are wide-eyed idealists with a frightening propensity for chucking good money after bad. As much as agents and editors may feign a cool professional insouciance, most dream of stumbling across The Next Big Thing and securing their place in industry history.

Personally I think the Next Big Thing is Tim Clare. Check it out: he's not fooled by any of that annoying insouciance being peddled by the wide-eyed and stumbling -- obviously too cool for that -- and he's not going to leap at any of that good or bad money they're chucking about.

Not counting the money he was advanced for his first novel, of course.

Queuing is what made our nation great. If anything, the British publishing industry is too open to new writers at the expense of skilled stalwarts.

I do need some Transatlantic help interpreting this part: is this skilled stalwart with a whole one book under his belt actually saying that standing in line is what made Britain Great? I always thought forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta was more on the great side, but I'm distracted by nations granting silly things like basic rights and so forth.

Picking authors before they're ripe represents a bad deal for all concerned.

So we're . . . tomatoes? Bananas? Apples? What about those of us who have been irradiated?

Unless prospective authors are prepared to take a responsible approach to finding a readership and a stable place in the market, publishers would do well to move towards GP Taylor's vision of the industry as an exclusive club with clientele by invitation only and undesirables left to squabble among themselves in the street.

The responsible approach being standing in line and waiting until someone (Tim?) decides you're worthy of picking, I guess. If nothing else, it certainly eliminates all those idiotic writers' hopes and dreams. Whoever is left becomes, what, literary writers?



  1. Anonymous12:30 AM

    Nice to have you, and your biting wit, back. :)

  2. Snicker, snicker. Ahh... it does my soul good to see you back and dropping a bucket on someone who deserves it. Welcome back!

  3. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Well, if we have to wait until we're ripe, does it count that I have little brown spots? Wow. All this time, I thought they were freckles, but now I see they're actually signs that I'm ripe for plucking for publishing! *-*

  4. LOL, Jim, that was too freakin funny!

  5. Sometimes, when someone is described as 'ripe' it means that they smell. Wouldn't publishers rather have an author who doesn't stink? Hmmm.


  6. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Good to see you open comments up again. Hope it works out.


    Nice sweeping generalizations in that commentary of his. I guess that means Luna made a terrible mistake in picking up C.E. Murphy. Oh and Bantam for ever considering Tambo's work.

    /sarcasm off

    *rolls eyes*

  7. What is it about publishing one book that makes someone an instant expert?

    Wait. I'm sure there's a better word than 'expert'.

    prima donna

    Ah, there we go!

    I hereby pledge: after I publish my first novel, I will be no more of a jerk than I am at present.

    *I can think of several more anatomically correct terms, but I'm not sure how you feel about profanity in your comments. We'll keep it PG.

  8. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Queuing made Britain great? I don't know about your ancestors, but mine thought standing in line waiting for someone else to decide one's worth was a pretty dumb idea, so they skipped out to the Colonies.

    Although I think the part about getting hung for wearing the tartan had something to do with it, too.

  9. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Is this enough to put him on your Authors Behaving Badly list?

  10. Anonymous1:12 PM

    jm wrote: Is this enough to put him on your Authors Behaving Badly list?

    I have an automatic ABB exemption for rookie authors. Yes, I do poke fun now and then, but they don't get an official ABB file until they do something moronic 12 months after first publication. That's about the time they either realize they don't know Everything About Publishing, or their ego has swelled to fortress dimensions.

  11. I can't find Tim Clare's "Joshu Replied" anywhere on the net.

    Or is this book so elitist that you need a special invitation/password to get it? ;)

  12. He seems overly concerned about competition. Wonder why?(wg)

  13. Glad you're back, Sheila. Thanks for the grin today.


    - I bet he gave his editor holy living hell over each and every word too.

  15. Anonymous6:59 AM

    Actually, what made us great was having an open enough society to foster enough of a meritocracy so we could have effective engineers and soldiers, thus enabling us to go out and kick seven shades of heck out of most of the rest of the world. :)

  16. Wasn't there a comment in Julius Caesar, something about scorning "the base degrees by which we did ascend"?

  17. Funny, I also searched in vain at for Joshu Replied. Tim Clare doesn't seem to be associated with any published books.


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