Friday, 11 October 2013

Ask Agony Author Returns

Regular readers will remember me helping Owen Cauliflower curb his unnatural desires to write adult fiction a few months ago. This week, I've received a letter from an even more desperate case. Time to...
Dear Agony Author,

I swear I must be the unluckiest writer on Earth. Not for me, the inbox filled with form rejection letters or the sound of returned manuscripts thumping onto the doormat as I lie in bed. In fact, my front door is so far from my bedroom that it’s actually in another postcode. I have a different curse, one called popularity.

It all started when I wrote some book about wizards and ended with a multi-billion-dollar movie franchise. In-between came massive book sales and international acclaim. Can you imagine anything so awful? My fame has become so impossibly large that anything I do is inflated out of all proportion - even the shopping list I wrote last Tuesday has become a Sunday Times bestseller:
I tried following up the wizard novels with some dreary rubbish about local politics, but couldn’t stop the book flying off the shelves. So I reasoned that it would be better to stay anonymous and put out a cunning crime novel under the name Roberto Gallbladder. Yet somehow I was still found out! My other secret identity creating subversive street art as Banksy is still intact, but even that hoodie-wearing pseudonym has become massively rich and successful.

How I wish I was a young, hungry author again (OK, not actually hungry, that was dreadful). All I want to do now is write a book that sinks without a trace or attracts the most one-star reviews in internet history. Can you help me?

Yours desperately,
J.K. Rolling-Pin

P.S. Wish I hadn’t told you about the Banksy thing.

Agony Author Replies,

I feel your pain, Ms Rolling Pin. Once you’ve become one of the most successful authors in history, what is there left to prove? How you must envy the hours I spend writing blog posts and trawling Twitter in a vain attempt to get the publishing industry to notice me. Whereas you have Amazon’s CEO on speed dial, and can demand he come over at any hour of the day or night to break-dance for your entertainment. I will certainly treasure my years and years of failing to get published as a golden time in my life.

I think I see (out of the goodness of my heart) a way to help you. I’d be perfectly happy to do a swap – I’ll submit your book under my name, while you submit my novel under yours. That way you’ll be able to enjoy the experience of being ignored by publishers, while I sit back and count the cash. Or you could shortcut the process by sending me the money via bank transfer (say £500,000?), and then spend a few happy hours with The Amazing Rejectomatic.

What a cautionary tale this is. Writers, abandon your work-in-progress right now, lest it bring you fame, fortune and a lingering ennui that borders on misery (as a totally unexpected side-effect, there will also be less books out there to compete with mine).

Yours hand-rubbingly,


  1. Poor Mrs Rolling Pin! A timely tale on the dangers of success Nick. Thank you so much.

  2. What? Only £500k? Such low ambition.

  3. Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant! I want everyone to read this - I am now all smiles and jollity!