My non-writing life has taken me away from my computer for the last two weeks. Certainly I have been unable to make any sensible contribution to this blog. I have however managed to send out my manuscript to a ‘Self Publishing’ Company for a quote to prepare a cover design, format the novel for e-readers and for printing, and made an appointment with another company to discuss an advertising campaign. I think I’m trying publish my novel the easy way, rather than handling all aspects of self publishing myself. I tell myself it’s cheaper than keeping a horse, which seems to be the preferred hobby of most of my neighbours. Do I detect a horrible pun there?
Amazon make it seem so easy, your book published in hours but that rather unsettles me. Am I being a wimp about it or not? I’m not sure.
I recently heard from the major publisher who have been considering my novel Crucial Evidence that they are not going to publish it because they don’t think it will be a bestseller! Just a reasonable seller would be good enough for me. So it looks like its self publishing.
In furtherance of that route I had already send the book for a full edit and I have also received the editor’s comments on it. Her view is that in places the book lacks pace, and she suggests that I remove quite large sections which give my main character, a barrister called Cassie Hardman, a context. One aspect is her background, which I feel is quite important as she comes from a ‘working class’ family (hate these
descriptions but in the UK they still apply), state schools, red-brick university, whilst the Bar tends to be ‘upper middle class,’ private school and Oxbridge. She feels an outsider in her chosen profession and that is reflected in some of her decisions and attitudes. The other is a sub-plot about her Chambers’ politics, which again shows her reactions away from the courtroom, but still with her colleagues. Without those changes she thinks it is unlikely I will find an agent.
The publishing business uses agents as gatekeepers to monitor the manuscripts they receive and ensure only the best get through to the publishers for their consideration. When it comes to genre fiction, the formats are so fixed that anyone writing something that doesn’t fit precisely within the stereotype is not considered.
Another way of putting it is that for commercial fiction the author must write what the publisher wants, or rather what an agent thinks the publisher wants, and not what the writer wants to write.
So to amend that well known saying Self-publish and be damned.