Recently we’ve been branching out, investigating new idea, playing around and one of the things I’ve done is set up a publishing house. Doesn’t that sound grand?
The whole reason behind it was that I wanted to collect all my newspaper columns together and then get them published. I sent off my first collection to a publisher who promptly failed to return my enquiry and so I took that rejection as an indicator of my abject rubbishness and gave up. A week later I decided that that was rubbish and I’d publish them myself. Half a year later I now know why people prefer agents and publishers, this is so long winded and for complete beginners it’s full of problems.
I’m not saying that it’s akin to curing Small Pox but the learning curve has been steep. In order to print the book I needed to get the text ready for print and design a book cover. So I had to learn how to use publishing software to design a cover. I tried to do this but discovered my talents and patience were not up to the job and so I got in touch with a few designers with my brief in mind. After a month or two and some money gone I realised that to get the cover I wanted that I would have to spend a lot more money. Couldn’t afford that so back to the actual drawing board. I found an image I loved and sent off for permission to use it and then waited an age for a reply. Gradually things inched forward.
The next step was to get an ISBN, again not straightforwards and in order to buy an ISBN you have to be a publisher and buy them in sets of 10. So Mudlark’s was born. More months of what to call it, where to put the apostrophe, what should the logo look like and so on.
Finally it was time to submit the book file and jacket file for publishing. I had chosen two printers so that I could compare having shopped around for the best prices for small print runs. I went with Amazon’s in-house company Create Space and Ingram Spark, a huge printing company with an excellent reputation. My proof came back from Amazon within a fortnight, all looked good but apparently Ingram were the better company so I want to check their version. the problem was that they kept rejecting my cover file. Month after month the computer just rejected my file, every time I made the requested changes but no joy. Months and I mean months later my file was accepted and the proof was printed and sent off to me. It arrived and I couldn’t believe it but on one of my revisions I had hidden my name and had become so margins focused (the main issue) that I had missed the bigger picture. MUCH swearing ensued. I unhid my name and resubmitted the file to discover, ho ho ha ha, revisions after a proof had been printed cost $50. I looked at the two proofs but could see very little discernible difference. If anything, I preferred the Create Space version. So that was that, many months of delay, for nothing except frustrated tears. Yes I’m sure I learnt something, probably that I’m a lousy proof reader but I already knew that.
And here we are today. 50 copies on order. Soon to be for sale in the shop and book two, another collection of essays, is underway. Then I plan on writing a collection of walks in the Mevagissey area and a short history of Meva, nothing earth shattering but it will provide me with new challenges. No idea how to do the columns layout. Beginning to quail even thinking about it.