In an amusing and sensible piece in the (UK) Guardian, Tim Clare points out that not everyone has a novel inside them. Publishing is not an impenetrable cartel, he argues, if anything, it is too open to unknown writers:
The truth is a disproportionate number of publishers are wide-eyed idealists with a frightening propensity for chucking good money after bad. As much as agents and editors may feign a cool professional insouciance, most dream of stumbling across The Next Big Thing and securing their place in industry history. While veteran authors languish in the mid-list doldrums, jammy first-timers rake in vast advances on the promise of long and lucrative careers, which frequently fail to materialise. Publishers act with one eye on posterity, leaving their accountants with ulcers the size of kumquats.
The simple fact is that unknown authors are being taken on every day, and frankly, publishers and established authors suffer because of it. The publishing industry is crying out for a high-profile hothead to disabuse thousands of needy, bumbling timewasters of the notion that nascent masterpieces stir within their loins.