Thursday, 25 April 2013

Does having an agent guarantee success?

Evening gang,

Lovely evening out, sun shining etc. Here at Hest Bank Towers the sunset is always spectacular, probably why the houses cost so much. Still, keeps the riff raff out. Except for the wife and I of course!

Anyway, this is another instalment in my occasional series regarding my brushes with literary success. Last time you might recall I had just signed a contract with the Sheil Land Agency. This was in 2001.

My agent Vivien, sent Playground Cool to Kate Elton at Random House because I'd met her previously through university. On the 29th May 2001 I received the following letter.

"Oh dear, our first rejection. I didn't have a problem with Kate continuing to go back to Dave but obviously Kate did."

This is a reference to a relationship in the book which is dragged out because neither party can let it go. The letter goes on.

"...We will now get two copies out there. I'm getting one off to Diana Beaumont at Transworld and the other to Marion Donaldson at Headline.

Don't let it get you down. We all know this is a very crowded marketplace at the moment. Let's just keep at it, me with this one and you with your second book whilst I'm at it."

And there it is. My first rejection from a publisher. I don't recall how I felt, it's too long ago but I imagine I laughed it off because I really was not short on self belief. It took lots more rejections before I really felt miserable about it. In the end it got to the point where just the sight of the envelope on the mat made me feel like giving up, without even reading it. It knocks your confidence like nothing else I've experienced.

Interestingly, I was to have lots of interest from Transworld further down the line with another book but I'll tell you all about that another time.

Anyway, I've clearly stuck at it and although my sales aren't life changing the reviews are always good and it's a great feeling to know I've sold books all over the world. Just yesterday I sold a copy in Germany!

Right, that's it for now. In other news new inquests into the death of the 96 fans lost at Hillsborough will take place early next year. This in the same week that Luis Suarez receives a 10 game ban for sinking his fairly impressive teeth into the arm of a Chelsea player. Meanwhile Man Utd won their 20th league title on Monday night. Sometimes the glory days seem a long way away. But when they return nobody will be able to accuse me of being a fair weather supporter.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Luis Suarez, misconduct and context

Morning gang,

Bit of a late night, early morning scene here at Hest Bank towers. I'll doubtless spend the majority of tomorrow rueing the day but I'm not performing surgery so there should be no harm done.

Now, further to my last post about context. I've just finished a great book about the exploits of Oliver Reed, Robert Harris, Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. Lively bunch by any measure, except their own. In the context of Richard Burton the rest were fairly lightweight. But to the majority they were all raging pissheads.

To my work colleagues I stay up very late and live like a pirate. But factor in Keith Richards and I'm a choirboy.

And so to my beloved Liverpool Football Club. Hard fought draw with Chelsea today. Screened world wide and viewed by millions. Buy all the reports, headlines, back pages and twitter trends are about Luis Suarez biting a Chelsea player. Yes, he bit someone live on Sky.

I work for the NHS. If I bit someone I'd lose my job. So would most folk. The context is, Suarez was at work. He bit a colleague, in any other job he'd be sacked. My view is that no player is bigger than the club. But we need his goals and so I fear not much will happen. A fine, a ban. On we go, horse teeth and all.

So what's my point? Nothing really, it just annoys me that the rules are different depending on who you are. If I sold a few thousand books each month rather than a few dozen, I suspect I could bite someone too.

In other news this blog had 57 views from the Philippines just this week. It's got virus written all over it.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What matters to you?

Evening gang,

This post is all about context. On any given day any number of things assume importance to us. Choosing the right outfit for work. Doing a sixth version of a report for the board. Picking something nice for tea. Watching your favourite tele programme. We've all been there so you know how that goes.

A former colleague used to say to me, usually after one of my rants about work, that it didn't matter. That none of it mattered. So someone complains, we try harder, say sorry, it will all be there tomorrow. His old man fought in the war, wandered through the remains of French towns hoping he didn't stumble across a tank full of Germans.

It's an extreme example but it makes my point. My wife lives and breathes her job. Me? Not so much. Writing stories matters most to me. Yet to most folk, that's a hobby, trivial.

It's all about context. Explosions at the Boston marathon. Dreadful. And yesterday was the anniversary of Hillsborough which by any measure was horrific. Obviously tragic events like these are important, they matter. But they also make the small stuff matter too. Without something to ground us, or give us hope, what have we?

Tragic events shape us, polarise opinion, but we need the happy endings, the survivors, criminals caught, justice for families lost at a football match, to give us hope, so we don't stop trying.

It's trite but that's why I write stories. They are my justice, how I right wrongs and make sense of the dark stuff. That and gin, obviously.

So to end on a lighter note, here is a review of my latest novel. I found it on Amazon tonight. It's short, but good and it makes what I do matter so there's more chance I'll keep doing it. So to everyone who has bought, read, reviewed and enjoyed my books. Thank you. It matters to me.

"This is the third of Mr Sinclair's books I have bought.
In my opinion, this is his best yet.
The book has three elements, a romance an official cover up and the hunt for a killer.
The author weaves these threads into an interesting and engaging story.

One of this writers great strengths, is the creation of realistic and believable characters.
I almost felt, as though I knew, some of the people, who populate "The Trust".