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... new paper... old legends... the great wall of china...

... new paper... old legends... the great wall of china...

By PeterHunter

… new paper… old legends… the great wall of china…

(Incorporating originally published piece: Death Of The Dinosaurs)

Peter Hunter

… ever tried to write a book? Have you ever been rejected by a publisher - if your answer is no then you are almost certainly lying? There are countless incidents when it has been proved that many publishers have not even completely read the synopsis - let alone looked at the manuscript…
… yet they still pretend to be serious business people.
Writers, authors, the placid generators of the written word have put up with this sate of affairs for far too long - scared perhaps to protest too strongly - scared of being blacklisted, or thought of as a trouble maker or heretic.
But the arcane power they seem to posses has now come to an end and these dinosaurs will, within the not too distant future become extinct - to be replaced by more flexibility and imagination - as there will remain an albeit smaller market for paper books…
Kindle, to me - is the most important communication happening since William Caxton. Its opportunities have changed the rest of my life… Now in my seventies, I have resumed writing after temporarily giving up due to the frustrations imposed by an industry notable only for the stupidly, the low IQ, of its key personnel…
Happily I no longer have to tolerate publishers or the lengthy procedure of the traditional write-to-print process - in many cases several years… that at my age I may not have…
I give you but one small example of dealing with publishers… after a media owner, albeit in a small way compared with many - had enough faith in my work to launch a new imprint Henge Fiction to publish my first novel, I was sufficiently encouraged by it's success to write another one… and find a larger publisher with the considerable financial support to gain me national success with a much larger marketing budget.
Naively I assumed that being the second time around, life would be easier for me and my new work and it would be welcomed. Surprise, surprise it was met with the same indifference by the 'big boys'.
What stopped me giving up, was a rebuke from a large well-known publisher who had at least read the synopsis… she replied; 'a story featuring political corruption is no longer feasible now that Mr Blair and Mr Brown are in charge…'
Politics apart, that said it all… all about the level if intelligence I was dealing with… the book Time Of The Spider has now sold thousands on Kindle and at least I feel that my publishing destiny is in my own hands and not those of someone more concerned about my age and whether I could be marketed as a 'celebrity'?
At sixteen, whilst still at schools, I tentatively penned my first piece, a thousand words of hand written, badly spelt, probably grammatically incorrect - what's changed - but wise words for people who fished for pike…
When it was accepted I was the proudest teenager in Norfolk - even more so when I received a cheque for thirty shillings, only a little less than I would soon be paid for a week's work as a village postman…
Some where in my attic I still have that copy of the now long defunct Fishing Gazette.
Unfortunately my early promising attempts at writing did not help me obtain a job. Despite hitch-hiking to London and bullying my way into offices in Fleet Street all the advice I received was: Get a job as a cub reporter with your local paper. Did they think I hadn't thought of that?
… no one wanted to know….
In addition to my article I had the 'honour' of being the first, and so far as I know the only pupil ever to score 100% in GCE English composition - something my English Master thought impossible…
All through my eventual career in the computer industry I contributed pieces on programming, systems design and project management - and was always paid generously…
After taking very early retirement I continued writing - mainly for sporting and country magazines…
… I enjoyed it… particularly as an 'amateur' I did not have the financial constraints and time pressures of my living depending upon it…
My first encounter with full-length book publishing was with Time To Lead a self-help title on running companies or leading a team - based on my career before I took early retirement. A well know publisher of business and technical books expressed interest and appeared very eager to publish… at a late stage they maintained that one out of the three 'managing directors' on their reading panel was expressing doubts - apparently due to a lack of graphs and diagrams… I had developed a style of my own to differentiate from those already on the market…
… my first knock-back from big publishing…
… so I published it myself… and it was not that difficult… and it sold well…
For nearly ten years I continued with articles and short stories - including my own column Hunter's Lair and a booklet of restaurant reviews. All was well and happy until I committed the crime of wanting my full-length thriller Time Of The Eagle published.
The publishing industry would be more profitable trading as builders; so good are they at building brick walls… it was obvious that most of them made little or no attempt to read or evaluate manuscripts submitted to them.
Heartbreaking…
… but I had not come so far on my journey through life to give up… to be so easily beaten…
Fortunately Mark Allen, the owner and editor of Wiltshire Life magazine believed… believed to the extent he created a unique imprint Henge Fiction as the vehicle - went ahead and published in 1997.
For financial reasons it was decided to market the book only in Wiltshire and for two weeks a small team was deployed in local high streets distributing leaflets whilst I sat inside bookshop entrances answering questions and signing copies.
My most satisfying moment was when one lady asked for four copies to be signed whilst I was sitting inside the large Tesco store on the outskirts of Salisbury.
Apparently she was married to a test pilot at the Empire Test Pilot School at Boscombe Down airfield. She had been asked by her husband to travel to Salisbury and buy the signed copies for himself and three of his colleagues - all well-known test pilots…
… it did my ego no harm at all…
Alas it was soon over… the excitement and the buzz… starting with a launch party in a big marquee… the signings… interviews with the media, including several with local media - one in which the BBC presenter said 'he could not put it down…'
For two or three weeks it was the best selling book in the county, but lack of funds stopped the publisher from going nationwide. Even then, in 1997, he estimated he would need to spend forty to fifty thousand pounds on a national campaign…
For my second full-length novel I tried to interest large publishers with a national or international track record…
… again a 'Great Wall Of China…'.
The only response I received was this from a large well-known company; '… nobody would find a book containing political corruption plausible, now that Mr Blair and Mr Brown are in charge…'
That 'implausible' thriller, Time Of The Spider, is now available on Kindle, or to read on several hand-held devices or your personal computer.
So, for me, a sweet Agincourt Wave to traditional publishers…
They may always be found in museums and no doubt be remembered with nostalgia… regretted by some…
… but not by me…

End
© Peter Hunter 2012

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PeterHunter
PeterHunter
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Posted:
12 Mar, 2012
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