While the existence of ghosts has long been debated, in Britain the matter has been considered resolved for some time…all because of the battle of Edgehill.
It was October 23, 1662. Royalist troops were on their way to London to support the King when they clashed with Parliamentarian forces at Edgehill. The brutal battle continued for three hours, with significant loss of life on both sides.
But the battle wasn’t over. In the weeks that followed, the skirmish continued. Every night, the ghosts of the dead soldiers could be seen and heard fighting for their lives. Several reliable witnesses watched the phantom battle, and the reports convinced King Charles I to send his Royal Commission to investigate. Not only did the Commission see the ghostly armies for themselves, they recognized some of the soldiers, including the King’s standard bearer.
People travelled from all over Britain to witness the phantom Battle of Edgehill, until it finally ended. Still, even today, people feel strange in the area and report hearing the sounds of fighting.
As the result of the Royal Commission’s report, Britain’s Public Record Office officially recognizes the Edgehill ghosts. They are the only British ghosts–perhaps the only spirits in the world–to have such official confirmation.
– with files from Real British Ghosts. Painting by Harry Payne.
I was online the other day when an agent I’d long admired wrote a series of disgusted Tweets. You would have thought something horrific had happened, and as far as he was concerned, something had–a writer actually had the audacity to send him a self-published book. He said receiving such a book was “demoralizing”–for him. Did he read it, or even attempt to read it? He went on to say that the response he sent this writer was the literary equivalent of “I don’t like you.”
Now, to be fair, I don’t know the whole story. If an author sent this agent his or her book instead of a query letter, that’s a no-no. But what bothered me was how he focused on the self-published aspect, as if that alone meant the book was sure to be crap.
This complete lack of empathy disturbed me. I cringed, imagining how that writer must be feeling. Does one need to be a writer to realize writers have feelings? Agents, who make their living from authors, are so quick to make fun of them or disparage them online.
I’m not self-published, but this misconception that indie authors are people who weren’t good enough has to end already. I’ve read amazing self-published books. I’ve also read books published by the “Big Five” that were complete crap. How you publish has nothing to do with the quality of your work, and everything to do with choice.
Some writers want complete control over their work (they’ve often already been burned by traditional publishing). Some want the lion’s share of the royalties. Others write books that don’t fit into an easily defined niche, or maybe they write about things the publishing elite has deemed passé, like vampires or zombies. I had a novel on submission that was rejected because the publisher already had a book about a cop in Minnesota–that’s how subjective this business can be.
There are a lot of desperate writers out there making mistakes, and I’m sure it’s frustrating for agents and editors. All I’m asking for is a little empathy. It can’t hurt, and it could do a whole lot of good.
The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.