Tuesday, October 23, 2012

WARNING! - There is a conspiracy out there!

The publishing world had to do something about a major problem facing the industry - too many damn ‘wanna-be’ writers!  Slowly but surely, everyone was being buried under an avalanche of query letters, synopses and unsolicited manuscripts (with or without cover letters). 

To resolve the growing threat to their mental well being, a brilliant solution was found, code named PLATFORM.  A rule of law was established as follows:

Henceforth, all “would be” authors will be required to have massive visibility on the Web.  This will be accomplished by means of a Facebook page, a Twitter account, at least one blog and copious participation in several writer’s forums! 

VoilĂ !  The essence is “No ticky, no shirty”! The effect is that so busy are we all, posting and tweeting all over the place to increase our f***ing "visibility", that we are left with no creative energy or time to write prose or poetry, or anything else for that matter, thereby greatly reducing the volume of material being received by publishers and agents everywhere. 

This policy has worked a treat!  It is a raging success!  Just look at the thousands of Writer’s Forum posts, all brimming with our pathetic attempted solidarity, evidenced by the universal statement that “we must support each other” followed by mournful pleas to “visit my blog” meaning “please post a comment”.  Rather like a half-hearted resistance movement or quasi hoax perpetuated on our publishing overlords, we are a veritable army of monkeys, all holding on to each others tails, forming a multitudinous daisy chain to which each one of us can point and say, “Look Mr. Agent or Publisher, look behind me! See? I have a huge following, I did as you suggested (read: ordered)! I have sixteen thousand, five hundred twenty four really, really close friends, all of whom have sixteen thousand, five hundred twenty four really, really close friends and so on and so on, exponentially multiplied! I am now a brand, a household name!  I am already famous and all these people are just waiting, (naturally with baited breath and impatiently) to be able to buy my book so if you would please just go ahead and publish me, you’ll have a New York Times bestseller on your hands overnight! Honest!” 

The blind leading the blind…..Our blogs have tips and tricks, helpful hints, excerpts from our scribblings, interesting slash artistic photos, little boxes to enter your e-mail address so we can keep you posted on when our next post will appear, titles of all our previous published, or not, efforts, links to other topics we think you might find interesting (we obviously did!) etc, etc.  

By the time you have read all your e-mails announcing every new thing that everyone else has written, then read those fresh tidbits so you can leave a pertinent comment, all in the hopes they will play by the rules and reciprocate in turn on your blog (having sent out your own e-mail to the world announcing your latest post), then written your own new entry on your blog, replied to all the Facebook comments which came in overnight, all the while tweeting with your feet, severely taxing the AutoCorrect option on your phone, while doing, oh yes, all those pesky things your life requires of you like working or taking care of your family, the house, the pets, the back yard...well, you’ve covered everything no? Oh wait! Uh, there is the teeny, tiny matter of, I don’t know, writing your actual book?? No time for that huh?

There you go! The conspiracy at work!

Me, I’m a loner.  Yes, I have a Facebook page somewhere, but by now, it is probably buried under such a thick layer of dust, having been untouched for so long, it’s probably long been relegated to the “probably dead’ file by Mark Zuckerberg.  

I have a mobile phone, issued to my mother by Virgin Atlantic under their program which provides free phone service to seniors.  Come to think of it, I have to look for it - haven’t used it in some time, not since I got it about two years ago! I did get a call once - yes, I was contacted by some machine which told me, in no uncertain terms, that my credit rating may be in mortal danger and I would be well advised to press “1” to speak to a ‘live’ operator - as opposed to a dead one? - to discuss remedies to the problem.

I don’t tweet because I just cannot convince myself that anyone would be the least bit interested in knowing what I happen to be doing or thinking at the moment in one hundred sixty - or is it one hundred and forty! - characters or less. 

In short, I am nowhere to be seen, I have no followers and I follow no one.  Don't get me wrong - I'm very sociable, I like hearing from people but I prefer it to be spontaneous, not forced to fill some sort of requirement or agenda. Foolishly, I was always convinced that to get published, one had to have writing excellence and a good story to tell so these are the things I spent my energies on, periodically interrupted by the unavoidable evil of living with all the responsibilities it entails….Silly me!

Take my advice and go away! Use your creativity to write whatever it is you want to get published, do it as well as you can and don’t waste your time reading this!  Comment only if absolutely must but don’t say too much - I won’t have time to answer!  I’m busy!
A.J. Aston


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