Why you should never ask a loved one to critique your writing. Extract from Written Off.

Con had purposefully avoided asking Rosie what she thought about the book as she spent the best part of a week, every evening after work and at the weekend, studiously reading his manuscript. Her face gave nothing away as she turned the pages. Then, at 7pm on the Sunday night, she placed the final sheet on the pile of inverted pages to denote she’d finished and said, ‘There. Done.’ Con, who was making a show of preparing their evening meal at the time, tossed the potato peeler on to the kitchen work surface and jumped into the chair opposite her….

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How a literary agent deals with submissions. Extract from Written Off

Hugo began by dumping a huge sheaf of papers on the desk in front of him. ‘This, on average, is how many submissions I receive every single week – about 100. That’s 5,000 a year. How many make it through?’ He paused for effect. ‘About five. Now you know what you’re up against.’ What a charmless, smug, tosser thought Eric as those around him scribbled these vital statistics down. ‘I, of course, have to read these efforts while actually managing my roster of established authors. It’s no mean feat.’ Spare us the bloody martyr act, Eric spluttered under his breath….

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NEW ICE INDEX TELLS ASPIRING AUTHORS WHEN TO GIVE UP

Hopeful authors submitting work to agents are used to receiving numbing rejections, ranging from cold to arctic in their lack of enthusiasm. Now one writer has devised a formula to help wannabe authors know at what point to stop flogging a dead horse and put their submission into deep freeze. Dubbed the ICE Index, the formula measures the degrees of Indifference, Condescension and Encouragement shown towards book pitches by literary agents. Paul Carroll, himself the recipient of numerous rejections for his books from the publishing trade, devised the formula and is confident it will save many hours of wasted time…

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A Write Rip-Off?

Writers desperate to gain a book contract are wasting hard-earned cash on an increasing number of ‘how to get published’ courses, seminars and manuals according to a new novel poking fun at the publishing industry. With fewer and fewer writers making the transition from wannabe wordsmith to library shelf are these literary dreamers simply the victims of a write rip-off? In his new novel, Written Off, author Paul Carroll takes a satirical look at the rise of the writing school industry and how it plays on the hopes and aspirations, not to mention wallets, of the growing band of people…

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Extract from Written Off: Eric receives a reply from an agent to his submission

From the age of four he knew that to read anything he should start at the top, scan from left to right and make his way down to the bottom of the page. This, he understood, would be the most effective method of absorbing the substance of the words now expanding to fill the screen before him. But there’s a curious phenomenon that grips the anxious. Rather like eying one’s dinner plate and deciding to eat everything on it in a single gulp, Eric tried to take in the text before him in one go, to understand its meaning all…

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