Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Small world

Got a big bulky envelope in the post today from Hodder the publishers (that was the one I sent How To Be Clever to as an afterthought after the blog last week when I mentioned sending it to two others - sorry for not keeping you informed) and assumed it was my first rejection. It made me feel quite nostalgic for the days when everyone was rejecting The Adventures Of Jayce And Alex, actually. But it wasn't a rejection, or at least not a complete one - it was a letter from the person in charge of the 'teach yourself' imprint, saying that although they couldn't publish HTBC in its current format, they would like to do a 'teach yourself how to be clever' (the teach yourself books don't use capital letters in the titles, a thing that I loathe and detest about modern trendy books) if I wanted to rewrite it in their style. And they sent me a copy of their latest book, 'teach yourself training your brain', co-written by none other than Simon Wootton, on whom I poured scorn yesterday for his advice on remembering things by telling your mobile phone to remind you. Even though I give the same kind of advice (well, I say "Write it down", when I get asked the same stupid questions.

The first thing I notice on flicking through 'training your brain' is that it covers a heck of a lot of the same ground as 'How To Be Clever'. If I rewrote HTBC into the house style, it would basically be the same book as this one. Why would they want another one? Also, the tone is scholarly and adult, and I think my book would lose a lot of its appeal if it was written like that. It's not really aimed at people who are serious about self-improvement. And all the IQ puzzles are stolen from other people. I at least had the decency to make up my own, in the style of the ones you usually see. And there's even a chapter about creativity, dammit. I thought I was being original there.

No, all in all, I don't think I want to rewrite my magnum opus into a 'teach yourself' book. Not that I was expecting any publisher to say "yes, we'll publish your wonderful book exactly as you sent it to us, shoddily-made diagrams using MS Word shape-drawing tools and everything, so you won't ever need to think about it again until the royalty cheques start pouring in," but I don't want to have to change it to quite such an extent. I think I'll wait on another publisher who's more in tune with my brain. If there is such a thing.

Although I might change my mind later. I always have a rule that I sleep on decisions like this. The rule, come to think of it, really should also preclude writing at length in my blog about it for the publisher to see, but it seems to have failed to stop me tonight. I bet all the Hodder people are regular readers of mine. Or else maybe Simon Wootton will google himself, find yesterday's and today's blogs and snitch on me.

Speaking of googlers finding my blog, let's all say a big hello to Dave, who lives in Tumby Woodside, and found my old entry from last year when the TV people took me back there. Hello, Dave, and all the rest of you Tumby Woodsiders out there!

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