The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #17
I didn’t write last week because I was a little paralyzed by angst, which was possibly engendered by the fact that I spent the week writing rejection letters to people. I hate that part of my job; it’s so awful that I now can’t imagine opening submissions again.
I tried my hardest to be personal and reassuring in rejections (as I said last time, I didn’t read a single bad submission), but I have come to see the appeal of a standard rejection letter from the point of view of the publisher–and possibly from the author’s too. I can imagine if I say “I love your work but I can’t afford to buy it” it might be more gutting than “Dear Sir/Madam, no thanks, bye.”
I’ve also just finished Muriel Spark’s A Far Cry From Kensington for a critical reading class I’m doing courtesy of Galley Beggar Press, and the main character, Mrs Hawkins, has some advice about saying no:
And it is my advice, when you have to refuse any request that admits of no argument, you should never give reasons or set out your objections; to do so leads to counter-reasons and counter-objections.
Mrs Hawkins is probably right, and yet this is an approach I find nearly impossible, even though ultimately it would be better for everyone’s emotional health.
Monday, 26 July
I still have two authors I haven’t written to about their submissions. One I will definitely say yes to, but I haven’t decided whether the book should be printed or digital only; it’s literary horror and I think ultimately it might make sense to move crime/thrillers/horror to digital only, since those genres do very well digitally–and that format is cheaper for me, which means I could publish more. But I think this book should be printed. Which, financially speaking, probably means I can’t take on the second one, which also should be printed.
I’ve also found out today that lots of my pre-orders are being cancelled for “lack of availability,”
If I could have picked a week to have this particular problem, it would not have been this one. Enough emotions already.
Tuesday, 27 July
I spent today with my wonderful designer, Libby, talking about covers for the books I have coming out in 2022. I have a couple that I decided on before the submissions process, plus maybe two/three more that came from the subs. Weirdly, this time I have particularly firm ideas about what the covers should look like, even though I wouldn’t call myself at all visually artistic.
One of my authors, Richard Gadz, has got in touch to say that he thinks I need to speak to Gardners about the availability thing I mentioned yesterday. He has found that he can’t list his WONDERFUL book, The Workshop of Filthy Creation, on Bookshop.org. They say that Gardners lists my books as “Firm Sale” which, to them, is an “availability issue”–and Bookshop.org doesn’t display books with availability issues. Ok. To Gardners we go.
Meanwhile, I’ve made the choice to print the one book and say no to the other. It was not an easy choice.
Wednesday, 28 July
So I’ve woken up to one happy email from one author, one extremely put-off email from the other, and a note from Gardners saying that they list all POD books as “firm sale” even if the publisher marks them as returnable. I am going back to bed. No, wait–first I am going to cry, then I’m going back to bed.
Maybe I should consider a different printing/distributing model for my books going forward. Maybe I should even move my two existing wonderful ready-to-go books onto a different model now, before their actual publishing date. Is that even possible? Hmmmm.
Thursday, 29 July
Wow, this has been a downer of a week. Let’s end on a high note: I can now announce that Deixis Press is taking on a tremendously talented established author, Jessica Gregson, and her gorgeous, devastating book After Silence, set in the first summer of the Siege of Leningrad. After Silence will be out sometime in 2022 (don’t make me give you a date yet). If you love sublimely crafted historical real-world fiction, you’ll be over the moon with this one.
I’m so thrilled to be working with Jessica, whose work I have admired ever since I read The Angel Makers (which you definitely need to read if you haven’t already).
Today and tomorrow I will be doing texty stuff: incorporating proof-reading notes for Adam Saint’s The Transfer Problem, and working on editorial notes for Jess. (That’s probably what I will be doing next week too, really, though I need to get to the bottom of how I can fix the book availability issue.) So I’ll end here; if you have any thoughts on Gardners/POD/distribution/anything at all mentioned in this issue, I absolutely welcome every piece of advice you are willing to dispense. We’ll get to the bottom of it.