Sunday, 8 May 2016

Success, the Leicester Way. By Keren David

It didn't matter what team you support, it didn't matter if you think football is a complete bore.

 Anyone who loves a good story will have been cheering on Leicester as the completely unfancied, 5,000-to-one, total underdogs lifted the cup as Premier League champions yesterday. 

We've grown used to the belief that money wins matches. That teams can't succeed without a tame oligarch or sheikh. That top players cost millions, and are paid an ordinary person's annual salary as a weekly wage. To see the cutprice chancers from Leicester triumph over the spoiled superstars from London, Manchester and Liverpool, showed that money isn't everything. Luck, hard work and teamwork all played a part in Leicester's amazing win. 

What has this got to do with publishing? 

I read this article last week. Debut authors are getting million dollar deals. Partly it's the quality of their prose, but it also doesn't hurt if they are young, pretty, media savvy and thin. 

 It's easy to read this one way. If you're not the literary equivalent of a Rooney or a Ronaldo, you might as well not bother.  The stars get all the money and attention, the others are already marked out as losers.  Without a decent advance it's difficult to do those things that help you compete - things like buying clothes, having your hair cut, paying a photographer to airbrush your photo; and even less possible to make time to write without feeling stressed about unpaid bills and a leaking roof. Money worries are the enemies of promise, just as it's hard for a footballer to excel without state-of-the-art training facilities.

But the truth is, being a fancied favourite is no guarantee of anything. If youth and beauty are propping up your career, then watch out -  there are younger and more beautiful people right behind you. In a few years time you won't be a debut any more, you could be trying to avoid ending up on the subs' bench. 

Come and join the rest of us, working hard and keeping the faith. Sometimes the Leicesters of the league triumph against the odds. 


Sue Bursztynski said...

We had an taunts the odds winner in last year's Melbourne Cup. The jockey was female(the first ever to win the Cup), the strapper her Down Syndrome brother and the horse 100 to 1.

And it's true about the young, pretty, slim debut authors. They also have more of a tendency to be invited to writers festivals than older, less attractive authors. Some fizzle out, some go on to good careers. Up to them, in the end - the six figure debut novel is just a boost.

Sue Bursztynski said...

An against the odds winner. Sorry!