Wednesday 13 June 2012

O bitchery!

Scathing reviews of new novels by Martin Amis and Frances (wife of George) Osborne in the Sundays. The latter review written in the Observer by Julie Burchill, who had clearly dipped her pen in vitriol before well and truly stabbing Ms Osborne's literary offering in the back.

Burchill lacks the finesse of the American humourist Dorothy Parker, who wrote reviews for the New Yorker under the pseudonym 'Constant Reader' and could slay in a sentence (her review of Winnie the Pooh is well worth seeking out, if you can find it. She also wrote the killer : This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. Ouch!) Burchill is clearly driven by huge political antipathy to the writer's husband, but hey, it was interesting reading and a bit of schadenfreude every now and then is as good as a feast.

I am currently negotiating with OUP for the publication rights of Jigsaw to be returned to me, as they have taken the book out of print, show no interest in doing anything with it, and I would like to re-issue it as an ebook. Surprise and bafflement on their part. Why would anybody want to do this? Er ... it's called making a living. Something we writers struggle to do.

In anticipation of the rights reverting to me at some point, I have been going through Jigsaw, tweaking the writing in preparation for a re-format (can't use their typeface; can't use their cover; can't use their layout; can't use their blurb; must mention them on the reverse of the title page,) and I am finding examples of lax editing! Which is interesting, as one of the big caveats levelled at ebook and Indie authors by many mainstream publishers is that they probably can't edit professionally. Well, here's news for you, people. Neither can some mainstream publishers. It's reassuring, but in a slightly worrying kind of way.

Apropos, is anybody else enthralled by the Leveson enquiry? Not the revealed shenanigans of media moguls and their over-ego'd bit-part employees, amazing though they are, but the wonderful way Leveson himself uses words: Bailiwick, recondite, nugatory, condign ... just some of his recent offerings. Holy vocabulary - there's a man who could do an awful lot of damage if he ever turned his hand to reviewing!

1 comment:

  1. I loved Jigsaw so hope you succeed in retrieving the rights! Don't follow Leveson or anything much at the moment, but he sounds wonderfully Dickensian.


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