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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Getting published is about practising until you're really good, then persevering until you're really lucky., 23 July 2009
This review is from: We Can't All Be Astronauts: Your Friends Are Successes. You're a Failure. One Last Chance to Reach for the Stars...: Your Friends Are Successes. ... One Last Chance to Follow Your Dreams... (Paperback)
I remember reading somewhere that publishers and the BBC don't want books or plays about people struggling to be writers.
Also it was a no no to write or have programmes on television about how programmes were produced on television, the story behind the scenes in a fictional form

In recent years in our post modern ironic society it is now perfectly OK to write books about how you are writing a book. It shows how clever you are and how aware you are that you are breaking the rules of writing which is to try to convinced the reader or viewer that these things just come into being as if by magic.

I know we are much more sophisticated and we all know how books are written and how television programmes are produced but it can become self absorbed.

With the above in mind I approached this book warily as I concerned it could just be too clever After all if the author is writing a book about the struggle to write a book and you are of course reading that book you know the ending, that is he obviously got a book deal because we are reading it.It is a bit like Titanic and the Day of the jackal, you know the ship sank and that De Gaulle was not assassinated but the story is still gripping because the writing was so good.

It is a sort of reality book writing project. It takes a good writer to make it consistently interesting as he is using up the material of his journey is a sort of memoir. All of us can write a memoir as we don't have to research the material but very few of us can make it interesting.

As he says the problem with writing there is no career path. everyone reckons they can do it without any training or knowledge

In a way it is an X factor of a book. There are a lot of people who think they can sing and there are even more who think they can write a bestselling book.They are constantly told that Jeffrey Archer can't write for toffee and that he makes millions so they all want to have a go.

Also with skills, bright people thinking because they have a degree they should be able to learn and do anything.

He says if you emphasis how clever a child us then they have difficulty coping with failure whereas you should emphasise effort because it is in their control.

He soaks up self improvement books but they rely on non representative freaks who have succeeded against the odds and suggest we can all do it.We are lead to believe that if we copy their habits we can do It.

He dreamt of writing success but all the time it eluded him he became less happy. His successful friends advised him to write something commercial as though he hadn't thought of that,

Writers always think the public want new ideas but they want the same old entertainment.

When talking to Mark le Fanu he said a writer would ask if they should carry on writing if their first novel has been rejected.

The answer is if you have to ask the question you are not a writer.

That is a tough but true response. these people want to be published authors.

He spoke to everyone in the business and saw everyone that mattered to try and get the answer and the answer seemed to be a book about how he did all those things.

As I said it is a bit like reality television about how to get a book published

It is humorous but not laugh out loud. It isn't an idea that can be duplicated by someone else unless they are an even better writer.

I will look out for his next book as I am not sure he can mine the same area he needs to have more and different experiences.

It is a but like a stand up comedians version of his life. You know it can't be that interesting or that funny but you would like to think it was and it is so unlike your own.

I will give it three stars as I don't think it will be a bestseller as the area he covers is too narrow and most people who read books are not interested in writing and publishing they just want to read an entertaining story. The readers of the Guardian might like to know how these things happen but a lot don't.
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