Phil: In lieu of a top publishing deal, I’m looking for a proper job at the moment. This means an awful lot of reading lists of potential positions sent by e-mail, followed by the filling in of application forms or writing covering letters. Add to this the tailoring of the CV and then (hopefully) garnish with a smattering of interviews.
How much of this has any direct application to the sort of role* I’m looking for ? (Website content manager since you ask) None at all. These are just the hoops we all have to jump through if we want to find something that pays some money. Why is this ? Surely the people who are good at applying for jobs aren’t necessarily those who would be good at doing them ? It’s a bit like those school days when some kids could pass exams and some couldn’t. Preparations didn’t seem to play much part in this, you could either do it or you couldn’t. Guess which camp I fell in to.
And it’s just the same when we are looking for a publishing deal. You have to be OK at writing – if you can’t finish the manuscript, you have nothing to sell – but it’s more important to be good at selling your book. If you don’t believe me, I present exhibit A: Katie Price, the artist previously known as Jordan. Pretty much anything she “writes” will be published, not because it is great but because she guarantees sales. It’s a skill but a different one to the hard-core writer slaving away over a great work of literature.
Even when you are in print, the days of an author being able to hide away are pretty much gone. Appearances at book fairs and signings will be obligatory. Writers need a split personality, one part earnest text producer, one part ebullient clown.
Have I just discovered the basic fault with the way things are organsised ?
Mind you, I look good with a red nose…
*Wordpress wants to re-write this “the sort of roll I’m looking for “. Does my computer know me too well ? Turkey salad thanks, although I’m a bit full after those Hula Hoops.