People Are Losing Their Shit Over This Book Being Turned Down By 20 Publishers

by Douglas Lindsay - 13:50 on 18 September 2020

So THESE ARE THE STORIES WE TELL was turned down by twenty publishers. That detail is the kind of cool thing to relate once a book has won awards and become incredibly successful and everyone’s talking about it and the author’s on Graham Norton sitting on the couch in between George Clooney and Jodie Comer, who are there to talk about the blockbuster movie of the book, and everyone’s like, no fucking way, man, those publishers are assholes, I bet they’re all drowning in their Prosecco this evening.

However, that’s not where we are...

Where we are is that twenty publishers turned it down, it’s not yet been published, and no one else has read it. So literally everyone who’s seen it – my wife and agent aside – thinks it unworthy of publication. So in fact no one's losing their shit. But really, how often are people actually losing their shit in the stories where Buzzfeed talk about people losing their shit?

Still, I like it, and so I’m going to publish it. Could do it now, but there’s the magnificent matter of DS Hutton Book 5 to come first, and so THESE ARE THE STORIES WE TELL – the book that Empire News calls ‘quite simply a thing written by a guy’ – will be hitting the digital and print-on-demand shelves on 18th January 2021.

I can see why it was turned down. My agent sent it to crime fiction editors. The book concerns the murder of a five year-old girl, and the principle character is a young, female detective constable, first week on the job. It has regulation police procedural written all over it. However, it’s not really a crime novel. It’s much more vague than that. It’s so vague that it’s really a literary novel. One of those hard-to-place literary novels. So we’ll call it a literary crime novel, but I can imagine crime editors thinking, not crime-y enough. Not credible enough, too surreal, for a procedural.

Of course, there’s always the possibility they just didn’t like it.

Reader, there’s only one way to find out for yourself.

To be honest, there isn’t really a part for George Clooney, although there is one for Jodie Comer, if she’s reading this and is interested in playing a young detective constable who’s consumed by guilt and sorrow, and gets disturbingly drawn into a world inhabited by lonely women in hauntingly melancholic paintings.

Tomorrow, the small part played by Rupert & The Frog Chorus.


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