Posts Tagged ‘Publishers’

Playing in the Sandpit of publishers.

February 11, 2016
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.



Submissions with Harry’s Salvo’s soup in Woolloomooloo.

February 8, 2016


Did you know that there are lists of both good and bad publishers? No matter what transcribes in the world of books and publishers you can find all about it on ‘google.’ I seem to have submitted a 300 word synopsis to a publisher who is on both lists. How can that be? Not only that. Some want it on PDF and others on anything but PDF. I bandy about files, submitting to everything and nothing, lolling about hither dither as if a drunken sailor.  You can’t imagine what torture I suffered getting files changed.  I can understand how so many of us end up sleeping rough. Manuscripts fluttering about the concrete pylons of the M5 underpass

You click on ‘recommended publishers’ and the next thing you know a world of deceit, corruption and muffled screams during the night,opens up. The shadowy underbelly of something out of a production of Danish Nordic noir. You’ll be lucky to get out alive. I check the vertical blinds now and keep the lights switched off. A man wearing dark sunglasses was seen lurking in front of St. Luke’s community Hall during a performance of Dvorak’s 6th symphony. Is there a connection between that and my submission?

One publisher makes the threat that hard copies of book submissions will be ‘re-cycled,’ meaning shredded. Can you believe it? Most of them send you an automated message that runs along the lines; ‘If you don’t hear from us within four weeks, we are not ‘pursuing’ your submission,’ followed by the cheery message; ‘we do not enter ever into any discussion or give reasons.’  Most of them make it also very clear that no submissions of poetry, film scripts, alternative medicine, children’s books, the super-natural or chucking Chakras will be accepted.

Then there are publishers that will fleece you by pretending they just love the book so much they want exclusive rights which they will grant you if you send them your BSB and account number with pass-word so they can deposit a first payment.

Apparently, most reputable publishers do not accept first timers at all. The ‘better’ the publisher, the more the disdain for books and literature. They are so exclusive and behave so esoterically, that they have taken to not ever  be seen reading words, and just look up from their leather swivel chairs  blowing some very expensive rarefied air.

You have to get and woe an agent instead. It sounds as if you have to get a cookie before dinner first. But, what about the time? It will take years.  I can see that the self-publishing is a form that must be competing with paper-book publishing. Take the matter in own hand. I mean to wait for four weeks in order not to hear anything is hardly much of an encouragement.

Next time when you see someone queuing at Harry’s hot soup van in Woolloomooloo, consider that the bulge in his worn ruck-sack is not just a Smith-Family blanket, a stale packet of Arnott’s biscuits, (to keep warm under, next to the concrete pylon) but also a rejected manuscript.

In any case, it is heartening to see that most publishers are loosing revenue with profits down for most. The Chinese are rapidly becoming the world’s largest publishers. Some have turn-overs in the billions. Amazing!


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. (Publishers)

February 6, 2016
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.