Thursday, 24 July 2008

New Authors Beware! A Madeley Rant

It’s Thursday. I’m in Manchester. And my mood is as filthy as the weather which is already hot and thunderous.

Later today I have to EasyJet my way back to London where I will film an episode of Richard&Judy without the right side of the ampersand who is currently recovering at home, her knee raised high on a cushion as she sits in front of the TV eating Ferrero Rocher and rewatching her Richard Gere DVD collection.

I am having a less pleasant time (or more pleasant if you feel the same way as I do about Richard Gere). So far, the midget population of the city has refused to come out to greet me and my Nanus Count stands at a fat but empty 0. However, there have been interesting developments around my groin. On Manchester Piccadilly Station, at approximately 7.49AM this morning, I was smacked in the testicles by St. George in bright green tweeds carrying a golfing umbrella long enough to slay a dragon, probably by smacking it around its testicles.

I have known better starts to my day.

It is in this mood of slightly bewildered misery that I have decided to introduce a new policy here at my Appreciation Society. It’s been a while that I’ve been thinking of doing this but I think that the time is now so ripe that it’s almost swollen. Some might call the following a rant but I like to think of it as a forthright expression of my incalculable rage.

From now on, any recently published writer emailing me to ask if I’ll promote their stunning new novel (‘it’s just so perfect for your club!’) will earn a special prize: I will post their email, in full, here on my blog so the world can see these insufferable bores for what they are. No flattering phrase or self-seeking hint will go unnoticed by the blogging community. Let their entrails be picked over by Nige’s owl until they are a laughing stock and one more miserable novel can be taken from the shelves to make room for more worthy authors such as men called Madeley.

Before I begin to purge the world of their kind, I’d like any eager young things wise enough to be reading my blog today a chance incur my considerable wrath. I know they are out these because yesterday I had three (yes, three!) different people emailing me to ask if I would help promote their books. Well, now I can help them. I have condensed all the begging letters I’ve received in the last year into one easy-to-use template which the budding writer need only copy, paste, and then enter in the details of their book and published name. This way, they too can get their name in lights. Or if not in lights, at least ridiculed on this blog.

Dear Richard, [The classic opening, though some people think it’s polite to skip the pleasantries]

Love your show... [But surely you love the book club more?]

I think you’re wonderful/witty/wise/gorgeous/kind... [Yes/undoubtedly/maybe/unbelievably/ often not always...]

I have a book about to be published... [Now there’s a surprise!]

by Unknown Press... [So it’s either vanity publishing or will be issued as an ebook... Damn you for your success!]

and my friends keep telling me... [get ready...]

that it would be perfect... [here it comes!]

for your book club. [BINGO! You win first prize and the million pounds!]

Cheers, [Indeed, I’m very cheery despite emails such as this one.]

Arthur Jalopy [A name to remember if not enter into the annals of literary greatness.]

You think I’m being harsh and you’re damn right. I am. I’m also in an indescribably foul mood this morning due to the unwarranted use of golfing umbrellas in city streets and a lack of manners in the nation’s undiscovered novelists. There are so many desperate hacks who want to have their work recognised that it’s wrong to mock them. However, too many of these people write to me after spending approximately three and a half seconds reading my blog. That’s how long it takes them to home in on my email address and send me their poxy little demands. They can’t be bothered to spend a minute to read what I’ve written but they want me to read and promote their bloody books! If they had cared to click on anything other than the button marked ‘Click Here So Richard Can Make You A Millionaire Novelist’ they might have read a few things that might save them the trouble of pestering me. They might, for example, know that I write the odd thing myself.

‘Heavens!’ they say. ‘You’re a writer? But what could that mean?’

‘It means,’ I reply, ‘that despite all my good looks, my way with words and huge influence in the world of UK publishing, I’ve had zero books published. In case you don’t believe me, let me just recount... Yep. Zero. Nil.’

‘Surely not, Richard!’ they say in return. ‘Not a man of your profound wisdom and considerable style and flair for comic prose! Even Rory McGrath has had a book published!’

‘But I am not Rory McGrath,’ I answer. ‘I came close this year. Two months before my novel was due to be published it was cancelled. Of course, I considered leaping from a tall crane. I didn’t but there you go. There’s never a tall crane around when you need one. I chose the coward’s way out and continued to write 250,000 words of blog posts in the last twelve months. But hey! Let’s not talk about my publishing woes. I was only writing comedy which nobody cares about these days or wants to publish. Please tell me more about your deathly little story about a woman with Parkinson’s having an affair with a man with a lisp whose daughter lives in Portugal who happens to be having dreams about a Turkish tobacconist who is the living reincarnation of Suleiman the Magnificent and how they all decide to go around the world in a yacht, only it’s not a yacht but a flying saucer and the whole thing is really a metaphor for the imperialist actions of American in Iraq.’

‘So... Any chance...’

‘Listen,’ I tell them. ‘It might just be the case that if I could influence the workings of the Richard&Judy Foundation, who decide on what books go into the book club, I might be a slight chance that I’d have had one of my own novels published by now... As it is, I write too much, promote myself too little, and remain unknown. Read into this what you like but I beg you to bother me no longer. Fear the owl!’

Only this is too much for these earnest young writers to expect or understand. Instead, they want to send me free copies of their novels about penniless paupers in Ireland, books about Churchill’s cigar maker and his miserable life as a Camden transvestite, or the biography of some nonentity whose only claim to fame was that he invented a new variety of tartan (which, I’m told, is sure to sell well in America where everybody is called ‘McSporran’).

If these people would care to read my blog, I might not feel so utterly repelled by their utterly lifeless prose, their unctuous resort to flattery, their bestial willingness to grovel before me and demand that I make them a millionaire. Theirs is a baseless hope that theworld joins up in easy patterns and that one new writer plus a man with a book club equals dreams made forever and ever. I hate to be the one to tell them this but: it doesn’t.

In future, I’m not going to write any more polite and encouraging replies where I explain that I’m unable to help them but I wish them well, despite the fact they haven’t bothered to read my blog. I will be forwarding all their posts to Elberry who I am now employing (on an ad hoc basis at £20 a letter) to write them replies more suited to their overactive imaginations, limited talents, and utterly craven desire for fame ahead of any kind of literary merit.

If they still don’t get the message, I’ll be hiring Nige to train his owl to seek them out and drop dead mice in their cafe lates as they sit in Starbucks and pose the pose of all undiscovered geniuses.

It’s about time somebody stood up to these people. They are giving new writers a bad name.


Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Richard, I've been meaning to ask you. You have this show, see and I have this ... well collected poems I slapped together. Any chance?

Devonshire Dumpling said...

Hi Richard, I've written two books and I wondered if you might like to read them?

Dick Madeley said...

Come on, bring it on. You know I can take it. My rage is only at about 72% at the moment, my misery around 90%. Manchester is hot and muggy and I am sore in places I can't rub in public.

I'm sure you can get me into an absolutely filthy mood around the middle of the afternoon.

Devonshire Dumpling said...

Your 5pm program today sounds like it will certainly be interesting (unless you cheer up) meanwhile I have taken precautions - the TV is sitting in a bucket of water surrounded with sandbags and I am wearing my Grandfather's air warden tin are just pissed because Judy is at home and eating your share of the chocolates, you may as well admit it.

Ms Baroque said...

Richard, de-lurking myself for a moment to say I feel your pain... except of course for just having had my book published. It seems almost bad form, but I couldn't help it; they just accepted it, and then managed to keep the funding together. So aside from that I do feel your pain, especially the rubbing/muggy thing, the weather is very heavy here too, and the bad mood, which in my case will now only be lifted by SALES, which won't happen, as it is (groan) POETRY.

Monika said...

Hi Richard,
I've only just started to read your blog in the last few weeks BUT you wouldn't know that as I haven't left any comments until my question is how do you know these apparent gold digger potential authors don't read your blog? I have a blog and only get a few comments left on it each week, but I get a lot of people tell me in person and on email that they love reading it and do so each time I post.
Anyway, aside from your bad mood today (perhaps you should steal some of those ferrero rochers which always my bad moods!) I just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog a lot. Now did I mention I've got a book that would be perfect for your book club? JUST JOKING!

Dick Madeley said...

Devonshire, I'm having a hell of a day but the show should be fine. I wouldn't be surprised if I had calmed down by then.

Ms. Baroque, you know I do keep looking for you book, even though I remember us chatting about the coincidence of us both getting published the same week. Well, at least one of us made it. And nonsense about poetry. Published is published and the thing has value. Cherish it!

Monika, very nice to hear from you and delighted that you enjoy reading. Of course, I wouldn't (and don't) get angry with regular readers who contact me. But when people email and begin with 'I've just discovered your blog' and you can see that they arrived (via Stats--amazing thing!) literally 60 seconds earlier, you do wonder if they have really read my blog. It's not as though I'm very subtle about the reasons why I can't help them. I mean, what chance have they if I can't get my own books published?

Oh now, look what you've all done: cheered me up a little. It's much too hot up here to be cheerful.

GoneBackSouth said...

Oh dear, you really are in a vile mood aren't you. I don't have a novel, so please don't promote me. There. Is that better?

Welsh Girl said...

This might not help, but Judy's Richard Gere fest is a front - she is in fact just putting the finishing touch to her novel and was wondering if you might consider it for the book club? It's the tale of a British hero who is stalked by an envious St George who is irate at being replaced as the national icon. All this takes place while the hero is locked into a sweaty cycle of hot studios, cheap airlines and deranged wannabe novelist fans. Could be of interest.

Dick Madeley said...

Gonebacksouth, 'vile' might not be the word. I see it more as intemperate.

Welsh Girl, that's the spirit! I should lose my rag more often. The quality of today's comments is astonishing. You do know, don't you, that Judy is penning a novel? She's going to be the Dick Francis only in the world of miniature show ponies. I'm pretty sure that it won't be of interest, though.

Nige said...

My owl, needless to say, is at your service, Dick - in fact he's getting very excited at the prospect. He feels much the same as me about aspiring writers- and Starbucks - and lattes..

Dick Madeley said...

Nige, I knew I could rely on you and your owl. The only problem I foresee is that I'm an aspiring writer myself. Does that put in the Starbucks category? Can I expect owl pellets in my latte?

Dick Madeley said...

Or indeed, now I come to think of it, does this mean I might even find Nige pellets in my late? The mind boggles. It really does.

Anonymous said...

The best way to deal with these optimistic fools is to lay it down and let them know that for a small fee - say, £50 - you'll take a look at an opening chapter and give them an opinion, and that if you think it's really got what it takes you'll pass it on to your agent. It should take you about 30 seconds to tell that their opening chapter is crap so you'll be earning £50 for 30 seconds' work, not bad.

Dick Madeley said...

Damn it, Elberry, you've come up with a veritable scam to beat all scams. If only I weren't such a good natured man, unable to pull the wool over people's eyes, or be anything other than I am. I would be rich if it weren't for these scruples of mine.

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