Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. (Publishers)

Frank on the left. Gerard with hair sticking up. In Rotterdam.

Frank on the left. Gerard with hair sticking up. In Rotterdam.

Nothing tried nothing gained!

As someone has pointed out before, WordPress is a form of self- publishing already. Why go through another version and paying for it? True, but my default position has always been the joy of writing down words. It probably dates back to my days of queuing up for confession before finding out that the old priest enjoyed Ma paw and her five nimble daughters just as  much as I did. Fancy signing up for a vow of life-long celibacy at fifteen before becoming a man of the cloth? Is it any wonder they used to whack school children mercilessly and revengefully with the strap or bamboo stick.  They were the benevolent ‘Brothers’ teaching at de La Salle colleges all over the joint. The guilt, and ‘that’ guilt that lingers for a life-time. They now queue up at Royal Commissions with the victims wanting justice and re-dress. But I am straying.

Even though the joy of writing is the reason, I am not that much without vanity to not actually linger fondly over the idea of my words getting published on pages of a book. It must be supremely satisfying to notice a complete stranger picking up ones book and leafing through it. Can you imagine?

This is why through the last week or so, I have been honing the synopsis of the book, ‘Almost There.’. It has to be as good as possible. Even the first few words might well determine a further read or a delete. Editors do that and get paid for it. Manuscripts sail rough seas and in many cases end up on rocky shores shared by depressed sea-gulls. They might well be tempted by snippets of some of those lost words.

So, over and over the synopsis I go. I have decided to send the final version to forty publishers in forty days. It could well be within the law of averages that I get a bite. In the (likely?) scenario that nothing comes of it, my second default position will then kick in.  I’ll pay for a nicely bound with large lettering book to be published by G.O.

In the meantime I find it all very exciting.  So, for starters I submitted to HarperCollins already and this Monday it will be Hachette’s turn with an improved version of the synopsis and fifty pages of the edited version of the book. We shall see!

I have finally, after almost coming to blows with my dear Helvi, managed to get the Amazon Kindle on my computer transferred to a portable device. It took weeks and no matter how often I pressed Sync., it refused to walk over to my laptop Kindle. I searched for an answer but found none. My laptop still doesn’t sync with my computer. It comes up with mysterious messages of an ‘unregistered Certificate.’ I tried everything but finally joined  again separately on the laptop and transferred the bought copies of books by Roderick Hart and Hilary Custance Green. I can now read them at my leisure and don’t have to sit in front of the upstairs computer. I look forward to some solid reading of both writers. I like both already.

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16 Responses to “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. (Publishers)”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    Well, look here. You just answered the question I asked in your previous comment section about multiple submissions. Good for you.

    Your mention of synching and such reminds me that the day is surely coming when I’m going to have to upgrade my hardware, and software along with it. I still have the 2002 version of Word installed. This isn’t good..Old fashioned is one thing, but Pleistocene era is another.

    Of course the decision that lurks behind “needs to upgrade computer” is as difficult as “self-publish or publishing house?” Mac or PC? I don’t even want to think about that.


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Upgrading can be nerve wrecking. I came so close to needing black clad Border Control officers with an ambulance, when the change from Windows 7 to 8.1 came about.
    I would stick to the Word 2002.
    Can you change PDF’s into other formats? I like the simplicity of a potato, wooden clothes pegs, and elastic bands


  3. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Gerard, I wish you so much luck with this, but I worry over your hopes and imaginings. You will sell copies to friends, friends of friends, internet friends and the odd stranger. However, I have yet to see copies of my books displayed in a bookshop (a publisher has to pay a bookshop to display copes as opposed to simply putting one on a shelf) and while strangers have bought copies of my books, I have never yet seen anyone, in a bookshop, leafing through one. Having said that, if you man a stall with your book in a local market, you should get strangers leaving through a copy. The other little well-meant catch is that your friends, will lend their copy of your book to friends, and so on down a long line. So you may get many readers… for few copies sold. Hope one of the publishers comes through!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I know, Hilary, but I went though the experience some years ago submitting to recommended publishers. It resulted in nothingness and polite ‘thank you, but no.’ It was after that when I started getting pieces published on the ABC, so… A refusal to get published is no big deal, especially what a life is capable of dealing out. I mean not just terrible pain, but also joy. Helvi too, is realistic and tells me that the road to publishing is paved with the skeletons of rejects and calms my expectations. Thank you Hilary.
      I enjoy the challenge.


  4. Curt Mekemson Says:

    And why not, Gerard. You never know until you try. I have my collection of rejection letters, somewhere. I’ve been quite happy with the self-publishing route so far. But I may go back to the traditional route and try again. –Curt


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I will continue and am encouraged by all of you, generally whip myself in a frenzy which inevitably turns into serious moody reflections. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking and a good curry or leek and potato bake turns things back to normal. Domesticity is great therapy.


  5. rod Says:

    Yes, WordPress is a form of self-publishing, but everything you publish there could disappear overnight for one reason or another. I know of a case . . . but enough of that!

    Everything Hilary says is good. My experience is similar. However, I have seen my books in a bookshop and they do sell. Slowly, but they do. The point of weakness here is that a member of staff agreed to read them and stock them if she liked them. Which she did. But I can hardly visit all the bookshops in the country using this approach.

    We have a bookchain here, but they operate in the same way. It’s down to the manager of each store whether or not to take a self-published book, so you can’t cut a deal at head office level.

    I hope you succeed with your strategy.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We shall see, Rod.

      We have two bookshops in town. One is closing down and it is the lesser of the two shops run by the ABC. A dreary uninspiring shop probably subsidized by their own bureaucracy. The other much larger shop is thriving with Helvi often visiting and snooping around. I wait outside holding on to Milo.

      I would not be surprised if they will take some books of my dodgy memoirs, especially when many locals have produced books dealing with Bowral. Bowral is very beautiful, especially the gardens and is as close to the UK and misty Scotland as is possible in Sub-tropical Australia. This bookshop is run by enthusiastic owners and you can tell.

      I am glad your book is selling. It must be a great feeling.


  6. lifecameos Says:

    Stay with it, and stay away from those depressed seagulls !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Julia Lund Says:

    Even disappointments are part of the process. I look forward to reading about your progress (hoping for the encouraging kind).


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thak you Julia. Each time I write ‘thank’ I get ‘Thak.’ A complete mystery!
      Disappointments are better than nothing. Nothing tried nothing gained. I mean, I could be sitting in a gaming lounge, pushing coins down a poker machine. Many people do that.


  8. Indah Susanti Says:

    That’s a huge step and wishing you the best in publishing your book. And there is always an option to self-publishing too. Best wishes 🙂


  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Terimah Kasih, Indah. The self-publishing is an option, perhaps in combination of getting published. I admit though, the reality of that is a bit remote.
    One large publisher admits on their web-site that they receive an average of seventy submission a week. That is 3500 a year. Out of those about four make it into a book.
    Still, better to try than mope around. It keeps one off the streets.

    I am amazed at you blog. Such great photography.


  10. Patti Küche Says:

    You’re never going to know unless you try, try and try again. So hope your hard work pays off, I enjoy your voice!


  11. tedgiffin Says:

    Yeah, the averages are in your favor. I am old enough to know what curling up with a book at night, by dim lighting, so my father would not know that I was staying up past bedtime to read. Or skipping a class, to hide in the junior high school library to devour a work of fiction. Best of luck to you! I understand.


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