A fine WordPress.com site

Posts tagged ‘series’

ROSES….or THORNS? Conversation from the workshop.

How long have I been out? I have been attending a workshop for writers in my neck of the woods and it was really an eye opener for me. I had a better understanding for Gerry, my chief editor who doubles and the face of my publisher as he is the one I really always relate with.

I was the only one who gave a paper on creative writing but I would share that in a moment. What I found really interesting were the comments of the writers who had gathered to listen to the presentations of the speakers who were a collectivity of learned persons, a prof and some intellectual doctors.

I came away with a better understanding of the agonies that Gerry must have gone through with me and maybe a few other authors. I never could understand for a long time why I had to wait forever to get a book out in print and I had a better understanding at this workshop.

Apparently the traditional publisher has a lot to contend with, from the minute he agrees to publish a book. An indigenous publisher who is acclaimed by all as being very successful agreed with the general outrage that enhancing our reading culture is an uphill task as it costs the earth to get all the materials needed for printing a good quality book.

He gave a list of that they had to pay for. The high taxes, the high level of corruption, and the intransigence of electricity, salespersons not remitting in record time . By the time he had finished his catalogue, the hall was silent. I sent a silent thanks to Gerry.

Before the publisher took the mic, I had gone round some of the stands of authors to see what the competition was, some had self -published their works. I was interested in that since I have been toying with that idea for a while. I need to keep my body and soul together. I write solely and have very little outside income so I have been hungry for a long time.

The idea of self- publishing became very attractive as I have quite a lot of books, (some in series) that I want to publish. I use to feel I do not have that much time left and should really do something to put out as much as I have written over the years.

However the lot I saw at the workshop dismayed me. Badly collated prints, badly stapled, and I just sighed and walked off feeling depressed. The other side of the coin did not look attractive either. Publishers want to wait months, some years to publish your book, cannot promise to help you promote and the very small matter of royalty is a strange word to them.

I mentioned that to my new friend, publisher chairman at the workshop as we got talking, he seemed to have liked my paper and he asked me questions about my new book Numen Yeye. He explained with a twinkle in his eye that publishers need to deduct their initial cost outlay before they can pay royalty and added that self publishers had the problem of marketing as well as the logistics of placing their books at location where it can sell.

However, he consoled that he has a large staff, and works along the coast of West Africa. I gave him a suspicious look and smiled, wondering if the same treatment of low royalty applied to his titles. He laughed and called over an author. He invited the author to be honest and confirm what he got last month as royalty payment. I stared as the man smiled and simply brought out a photocopied check for one million naira. I almost fainted. The author explained that he fainted too, but believed it when the bank confirmed payment. So he had the cheque photocopied as he was going to frame it.

I was quiet for long moment after that, but felt a deep sense of gratitude to Gerry Huntman. I wondered if he had ever thought of being a manager of talents. I recollected all my fears, tears and sometimes fury and each time Gerry had been rock solid and calm. Phew! I could never have understood the publishing mess but for him. But I still have questions. Why do publishers take forever to reply to queries?

I am still in a quandary about self publishing. I like to have somebody else make sense of what I am trying to say and not kill me in the process. I love to know that someone is there in my corner so I would love to have my book published for me. I really am not sure I want the ego trap of wanting to do it myself. Above all, I can’t stand publishers who think they are doing me a favour, for they make me want to shove my gray head down their throat.

Finally, I had a very beautiful time at the workshop as ah yes, my book was well received and I got quite a lot of enquiries. More than half of my friends cannot buy books online so I am going to be the book seller of my book from the look of it.
Oh yes, my reviewer took my book with him on the flight to Britain as he told me that he did not want to miss a page.

Wow, you could say it looks like it might turn up roses for this old lady who simply can’t stop dreaming.

 

WAITING FOR REVIEWS……CONVERSATIONS

I have been having a nervous discussion with myself. You know, like I told you, I have just had a second book out this side of the pond and suddenly I have been nervous. The reason if I care to face it is an acute case of self doubt. I feel somewhat exposed too. My easy acceptance is being threatened by the modicum of recognition I had garnered over time through my writing.

I sent my book off to a reviewer blithely as I know him as one of the best arts journalist and review in the market. He didn’t know me so I had felt comfortable sending the book, Numen Yeye to him. He had in his email clearly stated that he would not bother writing a review if the book was not to his liking and I had shrugged not giving him much thought. Read the book I had said to myself.

The book got to him and his reply has made me nervous. Two things happened, one I did not know he was one of the best reviewers around until a mutual friend told me, and I also did not anticipate that he will read the blurb and become really excited about reading it. Why? Years ago, in another life I had done a series which seemed to have taken over from me and anything I had written since then.

It was a series meant for teenagers on sexual reproduction and like now I had just had a conversation with teenagers. I met a very young girl then who was able to act almost to detail a picture of the lead teenage character. She became quite popular as an actress after that but my series had been her launch pad. It is not the lady that has become my rival, but the series itself. Most people do a double take and ask me wonderingly if I am actually the person who wrote I NEED TO KNOW. I answer at first with amusement that I did and then they give me a second look.

My would- be reviewer has just done the same thing. I wonder if I should feel worried or relieved about that. I read somewhere that you can only be as good as your last and that your subsequent series, novel should always be better than the last. Quite a lot of people are convinced that the series was the best ever and I try to tap them to say, hey I am still alive and there is more where that came from.

I am bemused when people keep talking about that, because I think writers just want to share a part of their world, their take on issues around them, or even warn about an impending danger. Writers receive from a world that senses no boundaries and has a plethora of emotions, characters to choose from. Writers weave, weld, and re-create known norms in ways that excite and challenges the reader.

My argument has always been that we are all writers in some way or the other. We recount our day, experience and feelings to someone at one point or the other as we collate those experiences.

I actually didn’t plan on talking about writers, reads like some immodest thing to do , or some nervous appeal for understanding. But I am really nervous and I find myself waking up suddenly wondering which page he is reading now and wondering if I should have added one more sentence or recreated that scene in a different way. He is reviewing right and I am in agony hoping at the end of the day, he does not refuse to pick my nervous call. My fingers keep hovering over the phone.

He has just had the book and other things are maybe demanding his attention but …sigh.. oh well. It is why I try to read a book sent to me to review. I remember days like this and try my very best to pay attention…but he is paying attention..I think or … no perish any negative thought I tell myself firmly.

Hey where is that book I was asked to review? Be right back soon. I promise.

Tag Cloud