New writers often complain about constantly being rejected. Some recently asked me for advice on approaching commissioning editors. I discussed this question with a long standing novelist friend of mine, who went into a thoughtful silence, and said,‘Mister Mehmood, between the two of us, we have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a house.’
So I asked another writer, a household name at the moment, who happened to be sitting close by in the same underground bar in Manchester, ‘How do you think young and new writers should approach a commissioning editor.’
Given the sensitive nature of what is about to be exposed below, I shall simply call him, X.
X: Certainly not do, that which I did.
ME: Please tell.
X: I went to a meeting with a commissioning editor of [NAME WITH HELD] in London.
ME: What did you do?
X: I met her in the bar of the hotel where I was staying.
X: There was wine.
ME: Oh, God.
X: It was on expense, she said.
ME: How many?
X: I drank two bottles, I think. And somewhere during the course of the night, I put it to her.
X: Straight up, ‘Will you publish my novel?’
ME: What did she say?
X: Nothing, then.
X: In the morning when I got up, she was gone, but there was a note on the table, ‘If your performance is anything to judge things by, your novel will be a flop.’