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edited April 2006
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Some of the quotations are enlightening and some are funny, but the one I like best - because it's honest! - is Craig Brown's:
"Like so many columnists I'm here employing the phrase 'of course' in its secondary meaning of 'I've just looked it up'!
So that's the answer when you're expected to comment on something you know nothing about. Just nod, look wise and say 'Of course'!
I love this one:
When I picked up your book I was so convulsed with laughter that I had to set it down, but one day I intend to read it.
Groucho Marx, quoted in The Daily Telegraph
Tickles my sense of humour perfectly!
Please excuse me if I get this off my chest.These are genuine quotes from some rejection slips for a novel I wrote ten years ago:
"I enjoyed your novel, and you write well. I showed it to a few other people here at Little Brown and we all agree that you have potential as a publishable writer."
"You write well and your storyline is clever so do approach other publisher's (sic). I suspect I may well regret sending this letter but ... (Constable Publishers)
Those hurt more than this from an agent which has helped me (once I had calmed down and rescued it from the bin):
"..although yours is a good idea, it's not original enough to get publishers running into the street. ... Your prose is good but lots (underlined) of good writers write like this: too many in other novels and you get bogged down with all that meaningful (underlined) description. Tell the story! It's what Bill Shaggers would have done!"
So maybe the following very honest quotes have their place:
"Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good." (Samuel Johnson)
"I read part of it all the way through." (Sam Goldwyn)
"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (Dorothy Parker)
You can only wonder WHO Bill Shaggers was!
He meant Shakespeare!
Thanks Howard, my brain obviously wasn't in gear this morning.
I wonder whether William Shakespeare would be amused or offended by his new name!
Howard - If it's any consolation, someone I know sent his somewhat saucy novel to a publisher and received the following rejection:
"We wouldn't publish your novel and neither would any other publisher in this country."
"A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever" - Martin Farquhar Tupper, from 'Proverbial Philosophy'
(I don't think it was your brain, Carol, it was my not explaining that the novel had a parallel with a Shakespeare plot.)
Thanks MS and Jenny for your consolation. This was a decade ago but I've been foraging in my file of rejections and found a letter from an agent who toyed with taking me on and then eventually said no owing to ill health. However, she recommended approaching publishers directly: "Keep away for the most part from the smaller publishers as they will be limited in style and market and the one I used to recommend a lot has infortunately (sic) gone out of business but a few of my clients were successful with them before this happened."
Perhaps she wasn't the agent for me!
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