Playing in the Sandpit of publishers.

Table setting.

Table setting.

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.

 

 

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24 Responses to “Playing in the Sandpit of publishers.”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Oh Gerard, what an absolute pest losing your manuscript, hope you find it. As for these snotty publishers, maybe they need to get out and play in sandpits more? Miserable toads . They sound like a right crusty bunch to me (of course I shall retract all negative statements if they publish your work) The self-publishing route is very ‘on trend’ but extremely hard work. i know a number of bloggers who have taken this path and my golly, they really have to thrash around on social media to get the word (quite literally) out. Fingers, toes and everything crossed that you have some positive and encouraging news soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rod Says:

    I entirely agree with your comment about not submitting to several publishers at once – how long do they think we have?

    I think it would be a good idea to have at least one backup location for your manuscript – preferably in the cloud somewhere so that, in the event your computer dies, it will not die with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks, Rod.
      The manuscript is downloaded on Microsoft ‘OneDrive,’ it is in RTF which make it impossible to e-mail in its entirety. However, I have just also managed to switch to a PDF file. I am swelling with pride and can hold my head a bit higher amongst others at a party (never) and drop the occasional, ‘I am on OneDrive!’
      I also send the manuscript to a friend and on my laptop. As my laptop refuses to sync with my top floor computer, I assume that if either one of them dies, the other might survive.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yvonne Says:

    Sandpits, swings, slides … we all need these sweet childish things from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes. Yvonne. The sandpit follies is something to aspire to again. I mean, fancy after all that freedom, signing up for a life-long mortgage or becoming a dentist, or filing documents…day in day out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Big M Says:

      We have both started to go to the beach, after a hiatus of a few years. I want to walk, look at the rock pools, poke seaweed with a stick, go for a body surf, etc. Mrs M tells me to settle down, lie down, relax. But there so much to see and do! Yes, I was in such a rush to grow up, that I forgot how to be a child.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        We walk a lot, Big M. Every day. But, not today. Well, just a short one. Too hot. Milo insisted.!

        Like

      • Big M Says:

        Same here. A long walk on Redhead Beach , with the dogs, in the late afternoon yesterday. A short visit to the beach for us humans today. It’s about 36 here, but feels hotter.

        Old Fergus is getting tired, struggling to keep up on the beach. Sometimes at home, he just gets three houses down, then returns.

        Like

  4. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Yikes, I’m so glad you found your manuscript. I know that feeling. It’s sickening. A pit in your stomach like no other.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sedwith Says:

    Your plights are even funny Gerard. You conjour the picture of a helium filled balloon grounded by the string held by Helvi!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

    You have to watch those sneaky computers, Gerard; it you don’t watch carefully, they’ll save your files any old place.
    Regarding One Drive–I use it as backup, and it saves my doc files as doc files, not RTF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That is so true ,Cathy.
      I will now also save them on my I-Phone and check up often.
      I do keep getting strange messages about ‘certificate issues’ and to go to tools and options with network proxies. It is all so nerve-wrecking. I spend more time clicking on my errant laptop than writing. Should I simply drown it in a bucket?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

        Lol . . . I would be tempted to drown it. There have been times I’ve had issues understanding computer language and have Googled their meaning, and once understanding what it was attempting to tell me, have fixed it. But sometimes, I don’t know what on earth to do. I know a young man who is a computer whiz, and have called on him a few times, and that boy would fix my problem in the blink of an eye. All of us who grew up computer illiterate need such a person.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I re-set the small laptop back to factory settings. A major task. But,…listen to this. It now has synchronised with my upsrairs big screen machine. All my favourites. But thta’s not all. It also received the books that I had bought from Amazon. I haven’t been able to set up e-mail. My e-mail is a ‘pop’ variety which Micro-soft doesn’ support. Yet, the day before it did in its pre-factory settings.
        I am taking it easy today.

        Like

  7. berlioz1935 Says:

    What is a sandpit for the kids turns into a snake pit for adults. Children skip because not much is worrying them. If we skip, we could miss something we are going to regret

    You can always search your computer, write the title and your PC tells you where it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you, Berlioz.
    I went back to the Bing Lee shop and a bright young man pushed F11 button together with CTRL and my laptop came to life again. A bit like Lazarus.

    He reckons most computers that crash are dumped in the bin because when a screen doesn’t light up they assume it has crashed.
    How do people know those things?

    Microsoft has a lot to answer for.
    Even so, my computer laptop still doesn’t synch with the upstairs one.

    Like

  9. Patti Küche Says:

    Know what you mean about the sandpit but then I remember the pesky sand throwers – it wasn’t always great fun there and some people never really leave it. Big hi to Helvi and so pleased you found your ms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Patti,
      My H is the achor during storm and tempest. I had an email from her sister in Finland yesterday telling us that her mother’s youngest siter had just died. She was 2 months short of 100.

      Like

  10. shoreacres Says:

    I am such a worrywart, and I was nearly undone when you mentioned your manuscript going walkabout. Good to know you found it. It’s happened to me a time or two, and that’s all it took for me to get a bit more serious about backing things up.

    I have another problem I’m working on. I don’t trust the cloud. Hence, my new project for odd hours is putting every single one of my wordpress blogs on my hard drive, as well as my draft files. Then, I’m going to turn them into hard copies. I know there are export functions that will do it more easily, but I don’t trust those, either. Once I have my chore done, then I’ll go back and see if I can make some of the more modern ways work.

    I know that part of my trouble is my old, ancient, creaky operating system — I’m so far behind the curve, confessing it is like saying I have three arms, or am keeping grandma in the attic. Anyway, on we go.

    I still can’t believe I know someone who eats pizza with anchovies. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just — not something that screams, “pizza!” to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I have printed the un-edited version of two manuscripts. Even so, I locked them in a steel filing cabinet, ‘as if !’
      Now that my laptop downstairs synchronises with my upstairs computer I wonder if, in the case one crashes and loses all files, the other does the same. I try and mentally work out how all those things works or are linked, but end up on the local merry-go-round.
      Anchovies are an institute in our small family. Helvi often has them on boiled eggs on toast. She has the egg (three minute) spread on toast ( dark rye) and arranges the anchovies cross-wise over the egg. I think it is the Swedish way.
      A very nice sauce can be made by deep frying in hot oil a mixture of chopped garlic, anchovies and fresh rosemary with some good mustard.
      The anchovie pizza with small cherry tomatoes is so nice I feel it should be made into a law.

      Like

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