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A Very Nice Rejection Letter: Diary of a Novelist

Chris Paling

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Autobiography: literary

The confessions of a midlist writer - what nobody sets out to be, but the destination of most.

'Like all good diarists Paling's musings are funny, tender and uncensored' Sunday Times

6 April 2007


Writing income for the year so far: minus 300


'I feel that this might just be the year in which something happens. Then again it might not. But hope drives all writers on.'


It's unlikely that you'll know Chris Paling's face or have heard his name. This is his diary of trying to make a living as a writer, through the typical career trajectory of what is deemed a 'mid-list novelist'. Publishing rule 6: there is no such thing as a 'low-list' novelist.


In renumeration terms, writing is a career that often ends in disappointment and despair, and occasionally disgrace. Paling artfully explores what compels him and so many others to write - the battling joys and agonies of when that compulsion beds itself in one's psyche, and a day without writing is a day wasted. A fascinating insight into the writing process, he tracks the need to write something new, or something old in a new way, something relevant, something that needs to be written when very little actually does, in search of that ever-elusive goal of being 'in print'.


By turns moving, wry and brutally honest, A Very Nice Rejection Letter unveils the rewarding yet soul-baring life of a novelist. At its heart is a love letter to the art of writing but this delightful book is also a profound reflection on the forces that drive us all.

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