Thursday, 19 November 2009

I think I live in the wrong place Ms Morgan.

I live Downunder. It is not something I am particularly comfortable about. I know it is supposed to be comfortable. The lifestyle is supposed to be good - and safe. It never gets terribly cold in winter although it gets damned hot in summer. (We are looking at 43'C today and this is only November. ) I hate heat. I live here because I was born here and "a series of unfortunate events" mean I am stuck here. At the moment I have no choice. By the time I do have a choice I will probably have used up my nine lives.
I do not hate where I live but I feel no strong attachment to the place. I do not write about it. I cannot write "Australiana". I could not write a novel set in Australia. There is no reason why I should - except that, I am told, I will never get published unless I do. I will never get an agent unless I first write about Australia. I will never get an agent because I am too old. I will never get an agent because I live in the wrong place. No publisher will look at me because I do not write about Australia. I am expected to write about Australia because it is where I live. It is supposed to be the place I know most about. It is what you are supposed to write about. I do not. I will not because I cannot.
So, this is just an excuse you say? You are not published because you are not good enough! If you had been really serious about this writing thing you would have done a lot more writing years ago. You would have been sending your work off and you would have kept sending it off and sending it off and sending it off. You would have papered the house in rejection slips - never mind that, up until recently, you spent most of your life living in a single room. It is all just excuses. The reality is that you cannot write. You will never write anything good enough to be published. Get used to the idea. Just enjoy the blog. It does not matter if nobody else reads it. Just have a bit of fun. Forget the hellish expense of sending a hard copy of a manuscript overseas. Forget that agents and publishers simply ignore polite, quiet well ordered purring pleas for, at very least, an acknowledgment of the receipt of my carefully ordered cat hair?
So, it's all my fault? I don't have talent? I can't write? I am expected to accept never getting a paw in the door?
I know agents are not charities. I do not want them to be charities. I want them to be a business but (yes there is a but Ms Morgan) agents also have responsibilities. Far too many of them only want big names. They want big profits for minimum effort and outlay. It is understandable but it is not helpful. Many agents will not even consider new writers. They only want established writers. Many publishers will not consider new authors, especially new authors who come to them without the benefit of an agent. It is a question often posed (in many ways) at Writers' Weeks in Adelaide, "How do you get an agent? How do you get someone to look at what you have written when you are a first time author? How do you, even after you have obeyed all the rules laid down by successful authors, agents and publishers, get someone to actually look?" The answer is, you do not. There is no way you can do it. It is sheer good luck if it happens. Hard work and imagination are the essential ingredients of the writing equation. Publication is a different story. There is nothing that can guarantee that. It comes down to luck.
Now, give me a good reason why my tail should not droop. Tell me why I should not have the right to feel like not purring about agents and publishers? Profit before impractical purrsonality? I think I understand...but I still have every right to find it depressing.
Miaou...I may go back to being human tomorrow...if I can be bothered.


Anonymous said...

We are reading the same blogs!
Judy B
PS Love my word verification .... twortion ..... two portions perhaps!

catdownunder said...

"Twortion"? I like it.

Holly said...

Nuts to that!

Thinking like that means that Jennifer Robson or Garht Nix would never have been published. Fantasy and Science Fiction are certainly not set in Australia.. Phillipa Ballentine is a Kiwi, she writes set in the UK.

Borrow an address.

Better yet, send the manuscript electronically to someone in the US who can send it via local post.

Publish it yourself on the web chapter by chapter.

Record it and distribute through Podiobooks. Getting readership leads to publishing....

(Eragon was self published, Dan Brown has gone self publishing .....

You are good enough, you are talented enough, ignore those detractors. If you didn't have anything you wanted to submit, that is reasonable and certainly better than submitting garbage...

Donna Hosie said...

You don't live in the wrong place, my furry little friend. The world has never been smaller and US & UK agents do take on Australian clients. Right now it is just difficult for anyone to get an agent or a publishing deal.

Write because you love to write. The moment you start to hate it, or see it as a chore, then that will be the moment to give up.

catdownunder said...

Oh miaou! No, I am not going the self-publishing route. If it is good enough someone else will be willing to take the risk of taking on my carefully ordered cat hair.
It just irritates the fleas out of me that I am expected to write Australiana because I live here. It's like it is a rite of passage. You have to do Australiana before you are considered to be a writer. I do not believe it. It is utter furry nonsense.
It is my own furrault I should have started trying to do something serious about purrblication when I was mice catching for a career. Er, I still mice catch but I am trying to cut down on the quantity and concentrate on tuna fishing instead.

Janet said...

How about this for a book written by a cat - Among the books attributed to Lobsang Rampa was one titled Living With The Lama. It was described as being dictated to Rampa by his pet Siamese cat, Mrs. Fifi Greywhiskers.