REJECTION, ROMANCE AND ROYALTIES is a collection of essays designed to pull back the curtain and reveal the “real” life of a working writer. I expected a book full of wise advice from a longtime pro. Perhaps there would be something on research, or how to write a query, or how to know when to quit your day job. But REJECTION, ROMANCE AND ROYALTIES reads more like a memoir. Useful advice is scant. Instead, Resnick uses all 250 pages to complain about what a raw deal writing is, and how New York publishing seems to have it out for writers in general, and Resnick in particular.
Resnick devotes a chapter to the evils of copyeditors, another to rejections, another to the time her royalty checks were delayed (and only an all-expenses-paid trip to France could console her). Her chapter on fan mail barely mentions the positive ones, but quotes the negative ones at length. She not only quotes the negative letters she received, but all the letters her friends received, too. One of the few chapters on the actual writing craft is nothing but a long rant about how very difficult writing is.
Resnick saves most of her whining for the chapters on editors and agents. At first, I felt sorry for her. She certainly had bad luck with editors, and she chose her agents poorly. But after the fourth bad agent story on top of half a dozen bad editor stories, I started to wonder how one writer could attract all that bad karma. As the stories piled on, I had to look at the common denominator: Resnick herself. She omits names of people and companies when relating these episodes, so there is no way to verify the truth, yet she tells these stories with considerable relish, as if enjoying the drama. (Not unlike my hypochondriac friend who loves to exclaim, “Guess what I’ve got now!”) Even though Resnick grew up with a famous writer father who could have steered her around the worst pitfalls, she takes pride in the fact that she never asked him for advice.
Not all books for writers have to be full of how-to lessons. It’s also fun to read a writer’s memoir, as long as that memoir is somewhat entertaining or instructive. But reading page after page of personal complaints isn’t inspiring. It’s exhausting. When I want to learn the truth about real, working writers, I will leave REJECTION, ROMANCE AND ROYALTIES on the shelf, and read a better book instead.
rating: 1 star
pie slices: none
This book is best for: nobody