The Man’s Hooker Prize, critics and my take on things…

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Publishing

I’m still revelling in the ‘Not the Booker’ fallout. I’m not sure how, but I have become friends with a few of the authors who had bad Guardian reviews. Maybe it’s empathy. By that I mean these guys must have thought “They didn’t like my work, they are gonna hate your satirical laments on rape, drugs and saying cunt an awful lot.” I have pretty much enjoyed every ‘Not the Booker’ I have read. What puzzles me though, is why give a fuck what the critics say? Let’s face it, these things are very high brow. The food of academics, it would seem. Who are far too smart to slum and read first person trite of disaffected youth. Mind you, while a doorman at an illegal casino and brothel, I’ve dragged many a university professor and visiting intellectual out, with their pants around their ankles. Why care what some dick-neck thinks? My work has a lot in common with anal sex. You either like it or you don’t. The people who have read Malice in Blunderland have, so far, loved it. Because like a smart bomb, it is targeted at it’s readership. I’ve not suggested someone easily offended read it. Like a jury selection, my publisher Cutting Edge Press have graced it with people selected to enjoy such stupid scrawling. The problem with hoping for widespread acceptance via the Man Booker/Not the booker is those lines of control are broken. That once laser guided weapon is free falling out of control into the lap of the potentially the wrong audience. So it goes without saying – you will get some bad reviews.

I lsee it this way, what a fucking fantastic problem to have.  Maybe because I actually do come from nothing, that my view isn’t the jaded one. But they are actually saying “I have a book deal, it’s published, it is in a national, attention grabbing contest, discussed on the Guardian books forum, is selling and making me money yet some people who it wasn’t intended for didn’t like it.” How fantastic a problem that is. How many thousands of unpublished writers would love that problem? It isn’t “I haven’t got a book deal.” I reminded them both to recall the “I’ve had two hundred plus rejections from agents.” And all the other knocks and cuts on their journey. You are now a published author, with some new scars. One thing I know for sure, scar tissue is tougher than skin, learn from it, use it and move on. Fuck what a critic likes.  If you are writing for critical acclaim rather from the heart you are a prize twat. One nice young woman said they felt upset, insulted. Really? Grow a fucking spine. If you want to feel something, and I suggest everyone does this. Try going three days without food. We live in a world where at any time you can put your hands and fill your belly with comfort. Want to feel something. Give your wallet to friends, and go without eating for three days. Feel how much hunger actually does hurt. Because I’ve been there, but not through choice. So, somebody didn’t like your book. So what. Some people loved it. If you are going to take the slaps on the back, you have to take a few on the chin. I can’t imagine anyone writes for critical acclaim, and they would be a penis if they did. Write from the heart, from your scars. Because even if you have written a masterpiece, there will be an envious sub standard, mediocre selling, frustrated writer turned critic that will flame your work. fuck em.

Critics, my view is like something I was told in prison… if it feels like more than two fingers, it’s probably a dick.

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Comments
  1. Chris Morton says:

    Great blog. Thought I’d comment on this post seeing as I am one of said authors. Yeah I know those Guardian fucking dickhead reviewers were totally missing the point but it was nevertheless a little frustrating. Still, no need to quit writing for good eh (Come back Cody James!). Also; and here’s something you don’t know… man if only you knew… shit, it was worthy of one of your characters; but I shouldn’t ‘cause I’m too embarrassed. Anyway, wish I could say that at least people were buying my book (I should be so lucky). Although being published and selling a few copies and making enough money to fund getting pissed once a month is better than not getting published at all so I suppose you’re probably right.

    • Dude, your book is a dead cert slow burn. As soon as the summer beachy, surfy skate crew get hold of it. Dude – tellin ya, it will be a cult classic for sure. The guy who raved about it, is quite a name in underground surfing circles, will get him to pump it. But, you don’t get published if it isn’t good. English Slacker is a damn fine ‘Coen Brothers-esque’ read. Love the cover too. But, We all know a Neale, and it is the voice of us. I’d say this: “As my arse hit the sofa I remember looking at her out of the corner of my eye, wondering whether she might be able to smell my breath and if it might’ve been a better idea to sit in the other chair.” loved that, that right there is 100% of us.

  2. Love the blog. Real good stuff. Yeah, I’m happy its selling, which is a good thing. Target readers are the key. Yeah I write would I want and if someone likes it great, if they dont thats cool. getting reaction whether good or bad is something good in a way. thanks for the tweet! hope you have a great day and thanks for writing a great blog post!

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