"Paperback Writer" is a hit song from The Beatles that wannabe writers can certainly appreciate. The 1966 song was written by Paul McCartney. Becoming a published author is still a dream of many people today. A person is less likely to say they want to become a "paperback writer" today in the era of ebooks, but people will still know what you mean by the term.
"Paperback Writer" is an interesting song because it is not use a common song theme like love, war or loss. It is about wanting to become a novelist. Another interesting aspect of the song is how McCartney wrote it like a query letter. The repeats the words paperback writer in the chorus. "Paperback Writer" begins:
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?The lyrics also say the manuscript is about a thousand pages so far:
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's a thousand pages, give or take a fewThe query says the paperback could make a million dollars:
I'll be writing more in a week or two
I could make it longer if you like the style
If you really like it you can have the rightsWhy did The Beatles decide to pen a song about become a paperback writer? The Beatles Bible reports that one reason is McCartney wanted to write a song that was based on a single chord. The Beatles Bible also notes that McCartney wrote the song after reading an article in the Daily Mail about an aspiring writer.
It could make a million for you overnight
McCartney explains how he wrote the song in this quote from Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miller.
"I arrived at Weybridge and told John I had this idea of trying to write off to a publishers to become a paperback writer, and I said, 'I think it should be written like a letter.' I took a bit of paper out and I said it should be something like 'Dear Sir or Madam, as the case may be...' and I proceeded to write it just like a letter in front of him, occasionally rhyming it."A history of the song from Beatles Music History quotes McCartney as saying he always loved the word "paperback." Here is a video of The Beatles performing the song from The Beatles YouTube channel: