Right, this may be one of my harsher posts. BUT it is necessary.
Over the past few weeks, nay months, the office’s slush pile has grown exponentially. Now, writing that letter to the agent/publisher/production company/whatever/whoever can be incredibly difficult. Who should I address it to? How long should it be? What should I put in the letter? Should it be sent by email or post (believe me, for some companies this makes a difference)? The usual, all very understandable, questions. There is one thing however that slightly gets my goat and I’m going to put it bluntly.
I DO NOT CARE whether your Parents, Siblings, Children, Nieces or Nephews, Aunts or Uncles, Next Door Neighbours, Local School Kids, whoevers, whatevers(…are you getting my drift here?) have read your book. Why do I not care? Because this will make no difference to me and my thoughts. If I like the book/screenplay I will take it forward. And I can promise you this is essentially what every agent or editor out there is thinking.
If though your own slogathon you’ve managed to get thousands of people to read and buy self published copies of your book then this is a different matter. But let us be honest, this usually won’t be the case will it.
This does, however, bring me to another point. Not everyone can afford to go out and get their manuscript critiqued and agents/editors etc rarely have the time to give the writer any kind of feedback. It can be incredibly difficult to show what essentially has become ‘your baby’ to the discerning eyes of others. But when it comes to family and friends, that’s just it; they’re not quite discerning. They care about you and they don’t want to hurt feelings. And so out of kindness comes quite the conundrum. I’m not going so far to say there’s lying going on here. No no. I’m saying there’s the padding of the truth. And as a result let’s just say there comes a slight amount delusion to the writer.
So, finally this what is I’m trying to say. Writers, you need to find a trusted and willingly honest reader. Whether it’s a friend or not make sure you know they have no qualms about telling the truth. Because, if anything, at least you won’t end up suffering from delusion.