I’m sure that many writers who read Daisy Waugh’s Sunday Times Magazine column about promoting her book will have smiled. Whimsical as ever, Daisy Waugh nevertheless touches some raw writer nerves, especially amongst those, like me, who are new to the self-promotion game. She first describes herself ‘lying on a giant polystyrene cut-out’ of her name, dressed in ‘a tight red satin skirt’ and ‘some magnificent shoes covered in velvet and jewels, on loan from Manolo Blahnik.’ This for a book cover or a poster. The thrust of her article concerns ‘Literary Death Matches’, a kind of Strictly-Come-Reading-Without-A-Partner in the pub, where writers show off a bit of verbal leg to entertain the ‘fairly drunken crowd’. Judging appears to be a touch subjective, the appearance, not the writing, of the author being crucial to success. The irony of Daisy Waugh’s final sentence (‘Whatever it takes, I’m up for it.’) not only amuses her reader, but also serves to highlight the anguish of authors who face a hostile and not necessarily objective audience scrutiny of something they have beaten brain-cells to bits for. This post is a toast to the thousands of unpublished gems that really deserved better treatment and to those publishers and reviewers who genuinely do know their stuff and employ it well for the benefit of authors and readers alike.
I’d like to think that all writers get a fair judgement, but the world isn’t fair.