Onwards?

It's been a long day. This morning I was up very early, walked the mile and a half to Acton to pick up my two hard bound theses, as well as two soft bound. I was told they would be ready for 7:30am, the time they opened. But they weren't ready when I arrived, about fifteen minutes later. And so I waited in the small foyer of this bookbinders in a grubby unit on an old industrial estate that one wouldn't usually associate with London. Industrial estates always remind me of god awful places like Telford. Magic FM blasted into the main room, where a couple of ageing men, an obese woman and another woman who looked like a supervisor, were busy binding. Well, I say 'binding', but what I really mean is lifting and bringing down heated machinery onto PhD theses and books on local history by small press and self-publishers. A range of these stood forlornly on a few shelves in the foyer, waiting to be collected like scruffy kids with their noses pressed up against the classroom window long after the bell has gone and their friends are home. Mine finally arrive and I am somewhat underwhelmed. I am given two carrier bags - one for the soft bound and the other for the hard bound. I walk the few minutes to the bus stop and make a note to avoid ever walking down that particularly desolate street on any evening. I then make the journey by bus, tube, train and finally taxi, to Kingston University to deliver them, thus lightening my load. But now I am in the process of pitching it; getting it 'out there'; out there where no-one knows a damn thing, barely even their own likes, except fluctuating market trends, which only ever really say one thing: celebrity biography. That's not strictly true - there's chick-lit, lad-lit and sci-fi, as well as the crime powerhouses and the established literatis. But the bit about no-one knowing anything is true. I remind myself of amazing books, beautifully written and full of depth and character that cannot fail to resonate - such as Paul Harding's Tinkers. That book, his debut that he wrote whilst on an MFA course in the US, could not find a home. Nowhere with the commercials. In the end, a few years after he finished the MFA, he placed it with a small non-profit press. When it was published it promptly won the Pulitzer Prize. Not that my book is like Tinkers; I simply remind myself, like lots out there, that this process requires... Persistence.

So why did I suddenly think yesterday that publishing it straight to the Kindle platform should be the next step, when I've barely even started pitching it? A few writer friends said 'no, not yet - could be an option, just not yet'. This is unlike A Clockwork Apple, which I'm in the process of digitising and publishing on Kindle. Well, the publisher went bust, the rights are mine, and I may as well have it somewhere where it may yield a few quid - at least enough for the postage and printing to send my new one out! Onwards, my friends, it's the only way; the future is my friend and the past is but an archive.



Location:Kew

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