Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Therapy, A Partial Rant & Stupid Facebook Ads

I’ve been listening to relaxation CDs lately. See, the writer cannot be at war with the world without inheriting a certain degree of anxiety. I find the calming zombie voices lulling me into a partial coma help me cope with the ills of the world. So whenever I watch another genocide in Africa, I picture a giant waterfall and suddenly everything is OK. Sometimes.

However, I am troubled. See, whenever the soporific voice puts me in my calm, happy place – a book shop in paradise – I find my centre of tranquillity infiltrated by Abby Koons.

Who is she? Well. She is an agent who appears in the Facebook ad “Does She Like Your Book?” Clicking on the link takes you to the “PageToFame” website where for the sum of $9.95, a ‘professional’ – i.e. a semi-literate gimp – will tell you that the first page of your novel is a heap of festering donkey turd and to stop writing at once. I know that already. Why do I need a woman with spaghetti bolognaise on her head to rob me for the privilege?

However, this is only the beginning of an even more horrendous nightmare. Soon, a band of accountants are ransacking my novel, assessing each word on its market value. They arrive in the night, strap me to a chair and interrogate the first page of my MS:

Word #1 – You = “Not bad start, not bad start. Addressing the reader. But if you think for one minute you can get away with a novel in SECOND PERSON you got another fink coming! Value, 15p.”

Word #2 – Remember = “What? Don’t make the reader do any thinking in the first sentence, you muppet! The reader doesn’t want to engage his brain in the VERY FIRST SENTENCE! Value, –18p.”

Word #3 – That = “Thass better, sonny. Stick to the simple words. Don’t go asking things of the reader. Value, 10p.”

They tell me my first page will make a net profit of minus £400, kick me in the shins, and tell me to stop writing and go back to being a rentboy. I am no longer in my calm and happy place, but on the floor in a pool of my own tears, self-harming with a pencil sharpener.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of annoying FB ads, I HATE the one that reads: "The Next JD Salinger?" This ad endeavours you to prove your writing acumen based on imitating some literary hasbeen and paying their band of pyramid scheme weasels four billion bucks to read your YA novel about a troll that can’t stop farting. GO AWAY.

It seems the publishing world no longer has any shame in merely wanting stories that bankroll China. They want authors that are like past authors who have made a shitload and who deliver sellable CACK. More to the point, who wants to be the next JD Salinger? Eww, eww and triple eww.

Calm and controlled. Calm and controlled. Calm and controlled. Calm and controlled. Calm and controlled. Calm and controlled. NO. HATEFUL AND HUNGRY FOR VENGEANCE!


  1. When our dear Mr Springsteen had his very first album on sale, the spin doctors called him "The Next Bob Dylan". He wasn't, and the album sank like a stone (not a Rolling Stone).
    Lucky for him, he reincarnated and most liked the slightly lyrical rocker.

    Island records started out in Jamaica, but then moved to England.
    They had a business plan that would totally vex accountants. It was called "Take a calculated risk."
    They bankrolled anyone that seemed to have a twinkling of talent - irrespective of genre.
    Instead of following the latest trend, which could change before an album was finished, they had a choice of already produced albums.

    At any given moment, they had someone that was a close fit to the latest fad.
    Most of their artists sank like a stone (sorry Jagger and Dylan, it is a non-copyrighted word), but a few sold by the millions. Other came to life years later when suddenly there were a great fit after all.
    Island records did very well for themselves - until 1989 when they were bought by Polygram and became a trend chaser like everyone else.

    Dear Ms Koons, having carefully read your criticism, unfortunately we have decided not to take it. We hope you have success with another author.
    Please send 25.50 for this rejection slip.

  2. I think what you describe happens to most small companies when they make it big. They think to themselves, "We can still be fresh and original AND make a shitload of money."

    Fools. They know NOTHING.

  3. *falls off chair* Are you sure drugs wouldn't be easier? Then you can forget the world genocide, the ads AND the writing. But seriously, I snarfled through this whole post, which is good. I suggest you sell satire to wannabe literary magazines that are selling to wannabe authors, as we can ALL identify with this crap. (and I loved Mike's response, too--so true). Though... does that mean the YA Zombie Romance I am writing might sink like a stone? *snort*

  4. Not a bad idea, Harty. I should be selling these rants at ridiculously high rates. Problem is, you can't rotate in your bathtub without bumping into a self-righteous oaf who thinks he's a literary genius dropped from the bum of Our Lord. Tsk tsk.

  5. I don't think Facebook considers me suitable audience for ads, since I only get the "Would YOU like to advertize?" thingie. What did I do wrong? I have gotten the occasional hairspray ad asking me to forgive them, though. No idea what that was about...

  6. Lordy, you get Annoying Abby too? *dies* I hate Facebook ads! HATE them! I usually get the "33? Need to lose weight fast?"


    Bloody things. *mutters*

  7. Mari: If you've put your interests as "hairspray" then FB will link to ads. Other than that I can't explain it.

    Tara: Or combine them. Does she love your book and can she help you lose weight? :)