I know I should hate the X-Factor, but, I admit that I don’t. I love the sheer banality of the old fashioned entertainment, the on-the-edge-of-your-seat competition, and the tears of joy at someone accomplishing a dream, even if it is rigged. I also know it’s heartless to laugh in the face of a person who possesses profound stupidity, to the point of humiliating themselves in front of millions of viewers across the country, and further, no doubt, on the internet. It’s so sad, but, in my opinion, it’s also highly enjoyable. And even though Sting called it ‘televised karaoke’ (I agree, but karaoke is fun), Moby said it ‘cheapens music’ (I agree, but some music is overpriced anyway) and Calvin Harris thinks it’s ‘a joke’ (I agree, a very amusing one), Simon Cowell is a genius for developing a media storming spectacle that not only attracts an audience of millions but one that has also created life-changing opportunities for talented individuals (as well as himself).
Moving outside of the music industry bear pit for a second, I’m sure most of you will agree that in all forms of professional life there are very similar sorts of processes we must go through. We all have to compete against other applicants when getting any type of job – it’s just called an interview rather than an ‘audition’ – and for us writers it’s referred to as ‘the submission process’. The similarities? We want to succeed but breaking through is down to our peers and ‘judges’, and then ultimately, our audience.
So right now – going back to my X-Factor analogy – I’ve reached the stage where I’m metaphorically queuing outside the venue with my arms crossed, hoping that a literary agent will pick me; that they’ll consider my work to be good enough. In turn, they’ll agree to represent me, advise me on my manuscript, then hope that a publisher decides to buy my book. And after that… well that’s down to public opinion.
I make that at least three lots of judging rounds. You could say ‘that’s three big Yes’s’!
Yesterday for me was a very good day. I had a positive reply from an agent, requesting to see my full manuscript – that’s ‘through to the next round’, isn’t it? I was so happy I did a roly poly on the floor of my office (the dining room – it’s not always the dining room, sometimes it’s the lounge, and other times the summer house.) I digress.
The fact is, that I’m hoping and praying that my novel has the X-factor. It’s the same process after all, and I’ve just stepped on the first rung and got to audition stage.
I sent my full manuscript almost immediately after receiving the request, ignoring the little voice in my head that said ‘don’t look too desperate’. Oh sod it, I thought… I am actually desperate and I don’t care who knows. “This means everything to me.” Sound familiar?