Tim Clare in the The Guardian
on why you -- yes, you
There is an auld axiom beloved of burnt-out English teachers, glamour-impoverished fantasists and a million other drudges seeking to transcend their lives of quiet desperation: everyone has a novel inside them.
This slogan has been appropriated as an article of faith by the amateur writing community, whilst its corollary - as a novelist, you have six-and-a-half billion potential rivals - remains the gravest of heresies. Like a blind man in a room of ill-positioned rakes, any group indulging in such wilful myopia is doomed to a series of unpleasant collisions with reality.
Curiously unsatisfied with the idea that being a successful novelist requires the ability to write books that a consistently large number of people are prepared to buy, jaded scribblers search instead for an explanation that will permit them to retreat with their pride and delusions intact. As W Somerset Maugham put it: "I have never met an author who admitted that people did not buy his book because it was dull."
He goes on:
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. While veteran authors languish in the mid-list doldrums, jammy first-timers rake in vast advances on the promise of long and lucrative careers, which frequently fail to materialise. Publishers act with one eye on posterity, leaving their accountants with ulcers the size of kumquats, and the UK book market saturated with newcomers brawling over a limited readership.
Despite this, there will always be luminaries such as GP Taylor who are happy to curry favour with the disaffected and untalented. Enthusiastically promoting a competition with the aim of finding "the next JK Rowling", Taylor made the bizarre claim that "for the first time ever, a publisher is going to offer someone totally unknown the chance to be published". I daresay there are numerous examples of an author brokering his or her first deal over champagne at a garden party, but the simple fact is that unknown authors are being taken on every day, and frankly, publishers and established authors suffer because of it. The British publishing industry is crying out for a high-profile hothead to disabuse thousands of needy, bumbling timewasters of the notion that nascent masterpieces stir within their loins.
I think we've found our hothead. (via BookNinja