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“Success...And How To Avoid It” by Mat Coward

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Item image: Success... coverThere are thousands of books for writers and would-be writers. Some of them are even useful. But a lot more people make a living writing Howtorite books than make a living as a result of them. The 'How To Make A Million With Your Pen In Four Easy Lessons' guide is part of a huge, rich, somewhat distasteful industry, based on two well-known facts about human nature:

  1. Everyone who can write a shopping list thinks they could write a book
  2. Everyone who thinks they could write a book thinks they should write a book

Mat Coward's Success… And How To Avoid It is different. Combining humour with practical information, and based firmly on hard-won personal knowledge, it's a tonic, an antidote, a survival kit for every writer who is fed up with being told how easy it is to write yourself a fortune.

First of all, it's a good read. Ironic, funny, anecdotal, hyperbolic but always remembering that there is a body of information and advice which, combined with talent, hard work and enormous amounts of luck, might just make the difference to aspiring writers.

Other writers' books say "You can do it, if only you believe in yourself and follow these simple rules." This book says "You might do it, but you should know from the start that there really is, as you have always suspected, an intergalactic conspiracy of space-vampires, Freemasons and commissioning editors dedicated to keeping you in your place. Still, if you are determined to embark on this foolish quest, you'd better read this first.”

Cover art is by Edward Noon. Cartoons are by Rob Kirbyson.

The book is available in one format:

  • A5 landscape paperback original of 176 pages 

 

Praise for Success…And How To Avoid it:

"If bursting into unstoppable fits of convulsive laughter – you know, when your bodily functions are seemingly controlled by some sadistic invisible force – is liable to embarrass you, do not read this book in public" Tim Lebbon

"One of the funniest and most honest titles published this year" Independent on Sunday 

"The only honest guide to being a freelance writer ever written" Nine To Five & Midweek

"It is written with anger, realism and is very funny. There is hard-won knowledge here. It’s given with a finely-tuned sense of the ridiculous and above all with honesty” Stride Magazine  

"If you're interested in being a writer do yourself a favor and buy this book. The best guide to being a writer I've ever read" Nick Mamatas

"The single best book on the reality of writing for a living published in a long time. Buy it, read it, then read it again" Whispers of Wickedness

"A must-read if you're even remotely contemplating the ludicrous path of misery and heartbreak that is life as a freelance writer" Tim Pratt 

"An invaluable guide for all kinds of writers. Coward takes off the rose-tinted glasses, throws them on the floor, and jumps up and down on them" The Alien Online

"Very, very, very, very funny. Take my word for it: you should not live a day longer without this book" Time Out

"If you're determined to beggar yourself and risk your house, your family and your sanity on what has to be one of the most precarious careers ever devised in the pits of hell, then this is the book to read first" Vector

 

Item image: Mat Coward

Author: Mat Coward

Mat Coward didn’t go to university, has no family contacts in the media, and yet has made a living as a freelance writer since 1986. In other words, he shares the same lack of background as all those would-be writers who buy writing guides. The only difference is their dream is his reality: full-time writing. He is perfectly positioned to tell them how to do it, how not to do it, and why they’re probably better off in their pensioned day jobs anyway.

Mat is one of a dying breed, the truly freelance writer. Not quite a writer, not quite a journalist, but a freelance writer. He’s written and sold just about everything imaginable to just about every imaginable market: books, TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, small press, fiction, reviews of everything from books to restaurants, columns, jokes, videos, stand-up material, greetings cards, comic strips, badge slogans, fillers, links, poems… And still he struggles to pay the bills every month. Hey, if he can make a living as a failure, so can you!

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