But even though I now have a second book on the shelf with my name on, albeit as an editor, and ought to feel high as the proverbial kite, I don't. I feel flat. Tired. Low.
Maybe that's just me. I used to feel seriously low after placing at a comp, and couldn't understand it. I remember talking it through with friends, who said, 'me, too, sometimes. I suffer from a sort of aftershock.'
But then this comes along. A seriously depressing article in the Guardian, sweeping the blogosphere. Publishers are getting rid of many many established writers whose work is broadly like mine. So why would they take on a me?
HOW WATERSTONES KILLED BOOKSELLING - LINK HERE
Some quotes from the article follow:
** there is no new generation of British literary talent to follow the likes of Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan.
**"There's been a slow bonfire of literary authors in the last 18 months," says Hamilton. "Publishers are sending out to pasture established literary novelists because they realise they aren't going to be sold by the chains. The complaint now from publishers is that most of their quality books hardly get a look in at all. In the past, sales for many literary novels were never very high, but now publishers are cutting down on their lists in desperation."
**"The emphasis given to the few is staggering," says Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors. "It's our mid-list authors, who may not write the most commercial books but who often write the best, who are suffering. The big corporate publishers dominate the shelves and squeeze out smaller publishers."
**Hilary Mantel's agent Bill Hamilton worries that books are being sold like shampoo. "In retail, if you are selling a new shampoo you would expect to pay Boots, for instance, for a promotion, to make sure your shampoo is more visible than other ones. That pattern has been copied by Smith's and Waterstone's to an extent that has never been seen before in bookselling: you pay for almost any presence in the stores, you pay a huge amount for special promotions in the front of the store, and you go on paying every week even if the books are selling strongly anyway.
**"There seems to be a frantic scramble in the book retail world to rush downmarket in order to compete with the challenges of Amazon, the supermarkets and next the ebook. Publishers have to fight their corner, year after year, against ever more aggressive demands for higher discounts from the chains, but seem at a loss to know how to cope with the underlying problems they face. They fear speaking out about how their books are being sold."