Friday, May 25, 2012

You're a Genius. They're all Idiots. Here's Why.

When I read biographies of famous creative people I’m often amazed at the difficulty they had achieving fame and notoriety, especially when they were so obviously talented and their work so superior.
If, like me, you are incredibly talented you’re probably wondering, with all the poorly written novels out there, why hasn’t your work of unmitigated genius been discovered and thrust into the limelight for all to purchase and enjoy.
Here’s why. It’s a very tight market. The print industry is dying and its employees are scurrying for the lifeboats. The few who have retained their jobs are not going to take any risks with a new and unproven author. Why? Because if they push to publish your book and it goes nowhere, they are going to get called out on the carpet to explain why.
And frankly, they’d better have a damn good answer. They’ll need to explain to their superiors why they thought the book would sell, why the cover would catch the public’s eye, why it would fit in with the current popular genre and why they believed you had enough personal appeal and charisma to sell several hundred thousand copies right out of the gate. 
Do you have oodles of charm and charisma?
Me neither.
In fact, like me you’re probably only an amazingly talented and skilled novelist.
Unfortunately nowadays that ain’t enough. Not when Madonna’s notoriety can land her a very lucrative contract to write children’s books. But then, one shouldn’t be surprised when you consider how child friendly her act is.
And it’s not like she’s isn’t already a best-selling author. Remember her book ‘SEX’ and how she won over the literary world by parading around nude with a feather duster jammed in her ass?
But take heart. Many amazingly talented people like us had their work routinely rejected only to go on and stun the world. For example:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, until Bloomsbury a small London publisher, only accepted it because the eight-year old daughter of the CEO begged him to.
Harry-freakin-Potter?! Hundreds of millions of copies sold throughout the world yet no one in Britain’s renowned publishing circles saw any merit in JR Rowling’s masterpiece? And the only reason this literary genius was published at all was because a child wrangled her father into doing something he didn’t want to?
Here are some other timeless works that were considered worthless.
The world-wide best seller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was turned down 121 times.
Margret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before getting published.
C.S. Lewis received 800 rejection notices before selling a single piece of his work.
134 rejections for Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen before they found a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul
The BEATLES were turned down by every recording label in Britain before the last one, EMI begrudgingly signed them and assigned George Martin, who was producing comedy albums at the time, to record them.  
It’s simply a crapshoot and either you catch a break or you don’t. However I will recommend one thing. If you are lucky enough to catch that one break, make damn sure you have your skills honed to their sharpest point and more importantly, find yourself a damn good editor. One who will drive your mercilessly and force you to create your best work.
I remember when JK Rowling’s final Potter novel was set to be released and how stunned I was when I saw the critics lining up to tear it apart. Here was an artist who had brought so much entertainment to so many people yet, the only thing the book reviewers wanted was to find some flaw in the book to exploit and criticize.
Anyway, good luck to my fellow authors out there. And remember, in order to compete in today’s book marketplace you’re going to have to do something that will draw attention to yourself like Madonna does.
Well, if that’s what you got to do, then that’s what you got to do. As for me, I got my camera ready. Now all I have to do is remember where I left the feather duster.

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