The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #16
No, of course not. Last week of course I didn’t say I was writing on 28, 29, 30 of July, then 1-2 July. You dreamed it. It’s completely fine online. Just go look.
In other news, some of you passed the subtle proofreading test …
Monday, 5 July
All submissions have now been read and replied to. I’ve requested a handful of full manuscripts that I now need to go through to make my final decisions. It breaks down like this:
70 submissions (the rate slowed down after the initial onslaught!)
Most submissions came from names that appear to be male (having said that, I didn’t explicitly collect data on gender, race, age, sexual orientation etc.)
Out of 70 subs, I requested full manuscripts from 7 (just an accident that it was 10%) and the gender split among those 7 appears to be roughly equal (again not by design; I’m just interested to see that it happened that way).
The sad reality is that I can’t publish everyone. In fact, I can’t publish 99% of the people who submitted to me. But I saw a couple of relevant tweets that made important points to remember:
… and in many cases it’s not really “dislike” or “rejected”–it’s more like “I’d happily publish this if I had unlimited resources,” which of course I don’t. But the point about just feeling “warm” is also really important: there is so much work involved in making a book real and then in getting it in front of readers that a publisher really must love it. I mean, feel a proper obsession with it. The only exceptions that I can think of to that rule are, of course, the books that publishers know will sell no matter what (celebrity memoirs and so on, and in some cases books that follow a familiar pattern that readers reliably enjoy).
The same goes for agents: there’s no way an agent can take on a book if they don’t feel like they can pitch it a few hundred times in face-to-face meetings. Believe me, I’ve been there.
So if you’re reading this having faced the sting of rejection from my press, please don’t take it personally–and don’t feel disheartened. I didn’t read a single submission that was poorly conceived.
Tuesday, 6 July
Now comes the hard work of narrowing down my 7 selections to one single book. I have three people already on my spreadsheet for 2022 (Adam Saint I have mentioned; the others’ names I won’t yet mention because we haven’t yet officially signed [EDIT TO ADD: this changes on Thursday–see below!]).
I wanted to do FIVE! SIX! SEVEN! books–however many I wanted–but the reality is that I cannot afford to ramp up like that; Deixis Press is self-funded, and it will be a while before I see if the gambles I have already made will pay off at all. So I think I can pick my one absolute fave from the 7 I’m already completely infatuated with. But no more. Reality is a shitter.
Wednesday, 7 July
Something I never expected I would enjoy is the admin of wrapping up all my review copies, tucking in my bookmarks/business cards, writing a little note, decorating with my logo stickers (honestly, the bookmarks and stickers are lovely little extras that are so much more gratifying than their tiny cost would have you believe). I don’t particularly enjoy lugging it all to the post office, but needs must. I also don’t enjoy going to put the stuff in envelopes and then finding I’m about 20 envelopes short. Which is what happened today.
I know it doesn’t happen like this, because getting book post is a day-to-day occurrence for reviewers, but I picture them seeing the envelope and saying, “Oooh, Deixis Press? That’s a lovely logo on that sticker. I wonder what’s in this beautifully-addressed parcel,” then lovingly and carefully opening the envelope and delicately removing the tissue paper from around the book like it’s a well-timed birthday present, whereupon they study the bookmarks and my business card before turning their attention to the book itself, admiring all of the small details on and around the cover–noting, especially, how well-designed it is on the outside, before flicking through the book and smiling approvingly at the typesetting too–
–not at all tearing into it and throwing the cardboard and tissue on the ground to shove into the recycling on the next trip to the kitchen, making a vague mental note of the title before throwing it onto a TBR pile, and perhaps later grabbing it at random (if I’m lucky) when a review of a book (any book) is due. Which is definitely not what I would do, definitely not.
Thursday, 8 July
Again, I’m ending this week a little early (in newsletter terms) because my children are shortly to be released from their educational bonds and let free to roam: feral, growling, demanding snacks and ipads, and at liberty to continue their goal of removing every cushion and pillow from every sofa and bed in the house at once in order to build the ULTIMATE FORT in which to consume both crisps and YouTube kids.
In order to preserve our sanity, we are taking a small vacation (a vacation that happens to be within the boundaries of the UK, which is still a vacation, not a staycation, because a staycation would involve staying in our home). This vacation involves a large back garden and zero removable sofa cushions.
Will I be on vacation then? What I will be doing is continuing to read the full manuscripts of 7 books. This is a highly enjoyable activity for me. But it is work-related. So … you tell me? Is it a vacation?
Whatever you think, it means that you might not hear from me in any detailed sense next week. Unless I have something exciting to tell you. Like this:
Today I can announce the newest member of the Deixis Press family is Genevieve Jenner, whose book Chocolate Cake for Imaginary Lives is a phenomenal piece of magical realist food writing, something between fiction and non-fiction. I’m enormously proud to have snagged her, not least because her work so perfectly encapsulates the type of thing I want to continue to champion with Deixis Press. You can get a taste of her writing at Medium and at Twitter too.