Tuesday, 20 April 2010

It's Cold Out There

The picture above is of the book I am reading at the moment - 'Sharp North' by Patrick Cave. It's taking me a while to read, because I have got out of the habit, but the most interesting thing about it so far (no insult intended - it's a good book), is who the author is.

This is one of a number of published books written by Patrick, who is a barman at my local pub, here in Bath. Despite all the well-deserved great reviews and accolades, I expect you have never heard of Patrick, or the titles of his books (the other one in Simon and Schuster is 'Blown Away'), and it was not until I saw him selling copies on a stall at the back of the pub, that I realised that he was even an author - let alone a published one. Let me know if I am wrong.

I suppose the moral of this story (the blog, not his) is that the struggle is far from over, even once you have an agent, and even after that agent has secured a couple of deals for you. It's a demoralising story, in fact.

So when people like Janna Qualman react badly to anyone voicing their opinion on the viability of a half thought-out literary project which has barely left their word processor, they ought to consider Patrick, and the many thousands of authors who are published every year to great acclaim, and never heard of again.


  1. Publishing is in a weird spot right now with many famous authors losing money and many unknown authors making it big. I have heard newly published authors say that self-marketing is a requirement. You have to Twitter, Facebook, write press releases to your local news outlets, set up readings at libraries and book chains. And with all of that, you still have no guarantee of making any real money. So bottom line, as you said, sucess is not set in stone. You do it because you love your story, and believe in the product, or why do it at all?

    It wasn't wrong for her to have an undying faith in her project. She'll need that. But it is foolish to think success is a sure thing.

  2. There is this thing now called Publish on Demand, where they print as many or few copies as you want/need, for the same unit price (about £5 last time I checked). You get an ISDN number and everything, but you have to supply EVERYTHING on disc, including artwork. You have probably heard of it.

    After that, all you have to do is distribution...

  3. Try Hallmark Press. They've published two of mine, but just as social-history. You mustn't think in terms of distribution or cash. This is NOT for vanity!

  4. Is that the same as Hallmark cards? If so, the owner lives in Bath. He's just sold his chairmanship of Bath Rugby.

  5. I don't think so. I have a feeling it's an American outfit.

  6. Oh. The cove who owns Hallmark Cards is called Andrew Brownsword - good name for an Elizabethan homo, methinks.