We all know that hard-cover publishing is hurting. The figures on downloading electronic books from Amazon and the likes are staggering. They seem to be in opposite tandem with the drop in selling newspapers made from real paper. The toilet roll still hangs in there; but for how long? The number of plies and widths are diminishing already. I believe in Japan there are now paper-less toilets. You down- load a special app, push ‘delete’ after finishing ablutions, pick your fragrance and Bob is your uncle. I suppose with both hands free you can sit on the toilet and manoeuvre all sorts of apps and paperless ablutions. There is now a glut of paper but it allows the Finnish Forests to spread out and re-grow. A win win for the ecology.
It is fascinating how publishers hang in there. A real learning curve. You get an automated reply that the submission has been received with some uttering kind words, ‘ you have made your first step,’ but also, ‘we will read your submission which could take eight weeks.’ ‘If you don’t hear from us it means we will not ‘pursue’ your submission any further.’ Some salve the wounded pride and nurture failure with referrals to doing a course in ‘how to improve your writing skills.’
The top of the pick of publishers are those urging ‘frankness’ in not sending manuscripts simultaneously to different publishers. Yet, the first time book writer is expected to, ever so sweetly, wait eight weeks. Yet no courtesy in return from the publisher in replying in the event of a refusal. Let us assume you send the thing to about ten publishers that have a waiting list of six weeks before not replying. That is sixty weeks of waiting in not hearing a single response. Nice work if you can get it.
We had a pizza last, the ‘Napoli with anchovies.’ I ordered a black beer and Helvi a light. The local pub has taken on the big change in incorporating the best of both worlds. Nice food, cosy comfortable surroundings and now very much family friendly. Lots of kids. Both of us watching young kids running around. Children are naturally inquisitive and enthusiastic. They can’t take a straight step. They skip and hop, fall over and look at everything. The seas still have monsters and the forests full of fairies. Why are we not skipping anymore, I asked Helvi? How come we don’t sit in a sandpit?
Helvi, with her infinite clear insight, answered; ‘that is because when you get older you have learned that there is not much to skip about!’ It is food for thought. I offered that we might just have to do a different kind of skipping. Perhaps sitting here eating the Napoli Pizza with anchovies, watching kids hop about is a kind of skipping too. ‘Sure dear, I love watching them and it passes the time.’
How’s your pizza? The same as yours, seeing we always buy the same Napoli together. What a banal question. Are you tired?
The day had been difficult. I thought I had lost the entire manuscript. I could not find it. This computer seems to sometimes assume a life of its own. It shifts, skips and moves about. I finally found it in a totally different location. I was so upset and H kept urging me; ‘don’t feed your anger.’ ‘You will find it.’ ‘Take a break.’
Easier said than done. We all need much more time in a sandpit.