A King-sized Confession

July 23, 2007 at 6:18 am (Uncategorized)

It’ll be six weeks tomorrow since I sent the sample chapters and synopsis to my dream agency. I haven’t heard anything, and it’s fair to say I’m gradually losing hope. Their website says responses usually take between 8-10 weeks, so we’re still in the midst of the consideration period, true, but there’s part of me that argues quite persuasively to the rest of me that it probably doesn’t take that long to hear something if they’re interested.

Think of it. If you’ve applied for a job, for instance, you learn fairly promptly if you’ve made it to the interview stage. It’s only the rejected applicants who don’t get a phone call. After a reasonable interval, they get a letter advising them that they’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion. I feel like I am in the middle of this interval right now, because I think if someone were considering taking our correspondence any further, I would have had a call by now. I’d be prepared to bet that the agency phones the people they want and writes to those they don’t.

Rejection happens to just about everyone in this game, so I’m told. I can expect to be rejected for years. Non-stop. I may have to write four or five unpublished manuscripts before something happens for me. Even then nothing may. So I almost have to be rejected by this agency. It’s all to do with probability and the law of averages. What are the chances of an unpublished author having her first manuscript picked up by the first agency she approaches? Slim, approaching anorexic.

So it was heartening to read this in today’s SMH online. You really have to admire a guy who leaves ‘King’ off the end of his name so as to protect his credibility and quash those nepotism rumours before they even have a chance to hatch. I mean, Stephen King is a pretty big goose when it comes to the laying of golden eggs (oh please, God, let me walk away unharmed from this metaphor wreckage before the authorities arrive…), so had his son been prepared to exploit that happy paternity, and had Stephen King been willling to accommodate such efforts, one would have to assume agents and publishers alike might have been…what? Compelled or persuaded or curious or sycophantic or smart enough to listen. Instead, the son drops the royal seal from his title and goes forth into the world dressed in rags, determined to find his own long and difficult path toward his own, er, King-dom.

And throughout his journey to publication and a movie deal, it seems his sense of humour never left him, not even with four failed manuscripts screaming at him from every corner. He’s very funny talking about his anonymity, which, he suggests, was so easy to protect thanks to failure. Nothing averts scandal like complete indifference, after all.

Only now has he shrugged off his beggar’s cloak and revealed the princely robes underneath. Now the world knows he’s Stephen King’s son, and I bet that is one proud daddy-o.

* As an aside, Stephen King’s text On Writing is a very practical guide to trying to write. It contains advice I will never forget and to which I constantly refer.

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