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 who want to make it into print.

As Carroll points out, ‘These days, it’s not unusual to see courses to help writers – many run by national broadsheets – costing over £5,000. A weekend residential course can set you back the best part of £1,000 by the time you’ve added in travelling, and even a quick one-day seminar won’t leave you with much change out of £200. It would be money well spent if it guaranteed you a writing deal, but of course, it rarely does.’

Written Off follows four authors from different backgrounds that would do anything to get published. When they all end up at the same weekend writing conference there are hilarious – and tragic – consequences.

Carroll maintains that the dream of getting published is the latest gold rush, but as in most gold rushes it’s usually the middlemen selling the shovels that strike it rich.

What advice does Carroll have for a writer trying to make it into print? ‘It’s down to the individual, but application, practice, an honest dose of self-criticism and a huge amount of realism are good starters. And the three ‘Rs’ of course – read, read, read.’