The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #12
Lucky you! You get me a day earlier than usual. I hope your outrageously good fortune continues through the weekend, and beyond.
Tuesday, 1 June
Long weekends are lovely, of course, especially when the weather is so beautiful, but I was not idle this weekend, no no no. I spent a lot of time finishing off a proof-reading project (paid! imagine getting money for effort; crazy idea) and also figuring out WHAT Amazon thinks it’s doing here:
I suppose the roots of this problem go way, waaaaay back. I found an InDesign template for a book that used a lovely font, Crimson Text—oh but it turned out the template used an outdated version of the font, actually, so I had to redownload it and reinstall the new font into the template, ok well, anyway—
Crimson Text is a really pretty font that I was delighted to find ready to go in a template for my first two books: traditional and book-y enough not to look weird on the page, but also elegant and a little different. And it showed absolutely no sign of being anything other than perfect until my first manuscript was complete, copy-edited, typeset, proofed, generated into PDF form, and uploaded to Amazon.
It turns out Amazon simply can’t comprehend a Crimson Text italic lowercase d, even when the text is embedded into a PDF. Can’t do it. Nope. And nobody seems to be able to fix it, since it’s been an ongoing problem for over 2 years, possibly a lot longer.
Now, eventually I figured out that this is not an insurmountable problem for Some Rise By Sin. There are only two italic sections (and otherwise only one italicized word) in the text. This means I can easily dupe the italic sections* in Some Rise.
But for Workshop?—well, that is another question altogether. I might just be able to squeak it.
This means that Some Rise By Sin is ready for pre-order (Amazon links: UK, US. This is just the Kindle edition for now, but paperback will appear soon). I’m sure you can pre-order from other outlets like your favorite bookstore too, which brings me to my next point …
Last week’s revelation that both books are already ready for pre-order on Waterstones put me in a little conundrum. My intention with both books was to have the paperback available all the time, but to make the hardback available only as a limited print run. But now Waterstones is taking pre-orders on hardbacks, too—I guess they scrape the Nielsen data and just throw everything on their website.
I didn’t price my hardbacks with the intention of distributing via Ingram—only for printing and distribution by me. So how will I be able to fulfill the Waterstones orders? I suppose I could allow them to be distributed by Ingram + partners, but it would have to be with a greatly reduced (and likely unacceptable) wholesale discount—otherwise can you guess how much money the authors and I will make on each hardback? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with zero and ends with zero and there is nothing in the middle. Or maybe Waterstones could/will ask me directly for the pre-order books later? But there may be other outlets I don’t know about doing the same thing. How could I possibly know how many to order if I am going to supply everyone personally? I am so confused. If you know the answer, tell me. Please tell me.
*Pro tip: Minion Variable Concept Italic, one point size smaller, does a remarkable job of approximating Crimson Text, if you have somehow found this newsletter while searching online for the answer to the same problem—but beware that Minion Variable Concept Italic won’t display as italics in Amazon epubs, BUT that is ok because Crimson Text doesn’t break in the epub. All information correct as of June 2021.)
Wednesday, 2 June
Yesterday I forgot to mention that my first submissions period is now open, running from 1 - 15 June (yes, inclusive). In one 24-hour period I’ve had roughly 20 submissions, so at that rate I will be a gibbering wreck after 2 weeks, since it’s just me doing the reading and decision-making.
I realize with every new stage exactly how valuable each member of the publishing team really is. Even when I was an unpaid work experience person just reading submissions, I was doing something very useful. Just like the person who is typesetting the books, who already knows about the problem with Crimson Text; or the person doing the covers, who already knows that there are specific unique requirements for every printer; or the person doing the marketing, who already knows how to use NetGalley to maximum effect. And more … except I get to learn all of it, all at once, for a financially risky, medium-to-long-term personal project.
Anyway, so with 300 potential submissions to review (and having had a quick peek, the ones I have received so far look pretty good), and with my existing books currently in production limbo so that I have nothing but time to spend reviewing submissions, of course I spent a good part of the morning at St Leonard’s in Shoreditch looking for a particular gravestone from 1777.
I was looking for John Onely’s headstone, which is detailed in this survey of London and was discussed briefly in a previous newsletter. It turns out, though, that St Leonard’s Churchyard, lovely as it is, now has very few legible gravestones. And the description of the churchyard in the survey I linked to—well, that was from 100 years ago. Having gone to have a look in person, I can tell you that “the south-east end of the church, against the east face of the boiler house” is a pretty meaningless description today.
I did find the stone pictured above, which was the only one that seemed large enough to contain the information I was looking for, and I asked people on Twitter for help figuring out what it says. It seems to involve a woman named Jane and a man named William Thomas who died in March. So it’s not the one …
… BUT my friend Marcus found other interesting records for John Onely, including what I initially thought was his baptism record but seems more like a death record (since it’s recorded 3 days after he died), and his will (1, 2), which leaves everything from his estates (which were in Newton, Warwickshire) to the Thomas Talbot Gorsuch family, which makes a kind of sense, since he’s mentioned on his memorial stone alongside their four infants—was he like a son to them?
The documents seem to indicate that Onely initially made his will leaving everything to Gorsuch in 1776, but by the time of his death in 1777 he lived in Holywell Street (now Shoreditch High Street). Did he live with the Gorsuches? Certainly they did reside there. (Holywell Street, by the way, is also where Richard Burbage lived and died more than a century before—and Burbage is also interred in St Leonard’s Churchyard, fact fans).
Sadly, I still have no idea what Onely’s connection was to the Gorsuches, who seem to be a pretty influential family, and I probably never will. I do know that Thomas Gorsuch cared about the poor in his area and was involved in a petition to the House of Commons to give them relief, that he gave evidence at the Old Bailey regarding a particularly awful case of child murder (which, honestly, you don’t need to read), and that the sizeable Gorsuch fortune might have ended up in Maryland.
By the way, this information is all thanks to a throwaway mention in a fiction book about made-up characters, and it goes to show you exactly how far and wide my procrastination abilities can extend when not kept in check.
Thursday, 3 June
Today and tomorrow (and through the weekend, no doubt) I will simply be reading submissions. This is both the best and the worst part of my job, as perhaps you can imagine. I have had a peek at everything that has come through, and two related things come to mind:
These people are really good authors.
I am going to be gutted not to be able to publish some of these things.
That second point is exactly why reading submissions is the worst part of my job. I’m completely aware that some people attach legitimacy or worth to getting published by someone else rather than themselves. But, if you think about it, getting a publishing deal only means that one other person besides you (in this case, me), liked your book and had the resources to make it a real physical thing.
Ok, so that’s not totally fair. At a large publishing house, it usually means that a handful of others liked it too. But at a large publisher, usually only the most commercial product makes it into print. Commercial does not always mean, you know, good (though of course it can!). And so being deemed commercial enough to get a publishing deal from a large publisher has nothing to do with legitimacy or worth (let’s not talk about the inexplicably over-marketed but genuinely terrible book I read recently that I later discovered was written by a close personal friend of a particular CEO). And it therefore follows that neither does being the personal fave of the person running the indie publisher that is taking submissions this month.
It might be weird for me to say this as a publisher, but I absolutely urge all authors to look into self-publishing. Spend money on professional editorial work, good cover art, and a bit of marketing. If you’re interested but struggling to get started, I am more than happy to tell you everything I know about it—just reply to this email. (And, yes, if I get a lot of people replying I may end up copy-pasting my first reply.)