The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #3
Did you notice anything? LOOK AT SNEK! I’ve got my logo! Thank you, Libby!
Monday, 22 March
I spent some time this morning writing up the draft text for my webpages. At the weekend I also dabbled in book cover design, not that I have any talent at that. I have a few ideas, though, and my amazing designer is a master at taking rough ideas and turning them into something beautiful.
I also had a wonderful long call with a woman who works on the culture section of a major news outlet. She gave up a lot of her own time to talk me through the lead times for features, interviews, and reviews, and to help me work out how to make the press and its books interesting enough to get noticed.
Finally, I also had a good chat on the phone with one of my authors. Eventually, when I get my contracts done and when I’ve cleared it with my authors, I’d like to tell you more about them. For now, I’ll just say how fortunate I am that one of them knows a lot about advertising and marketing, and the other knows a lot about the physical process of book creation and has good experience with book publicity. They are also both charming and funny and just all around the best kind of people (and that’s before we even talk about how wonderful and evocative they are as writers). I hope that when we have physical book launches that you come to meet them.
Tuesday, 23 March
Just getting real here for a moment: today I feel utterly stuck. I’ve got to write a marketing and publicity plan. I’ve got to finish writing my contract template. I’ve got to start typesetting my manuscripts so that I can get them in shape and off to the proofreader and back in time to get them out to the authors and back in time to get the books printed in time to get copies to reviewers ahead of as-yet-undetermined marketing and publicity activities this summer.
There is a L O T to do, but I’ve just been staring at my laptop unable to function for two hours. And that’s down to everything else in life:
My dog had a rather alarming case of (CW: puke, bloody diarrhea) puking and bloody diarrhea on Sunday–naturally, the only day of the week when I can’t take her to the vet that is 10 minutes away but instead had to drive her to Kensington, where she was admitted and has been staying for two days now. I have to go back to Kensington to get her at some point today, but I also have to get my children from school, and let some people in to sanitize the astroturf in the back garden (don’t judge me; grass doesn’t grow back there) because of the puke and the bloody diarrhea, and hide downstairs to stay out of the way of the guys who are here to smash through the tiles in my shower because apparently there is a leak inside the walls, perhaps caused by someone with super strength wrenching my shower around in a funny way? Ok, whatever.
So tell me this: how am I supposed to write a marketing and publicity plan with no experience in either, write a legal document with no experience in law, typeset a novel (ok yes I have a bit of experience here), and just generally have a lot of capital-C Cope while also worrying about the shower leak and the barf and bloody shit and the as-yet-undetermined dog pickup time in one part of London vis-à-vis the definitely-has-to-happen-at-a-particular-time children pickup time in an entirely different part of London?
Of course, if I had just got on with it, I could have already done at least one of those things (maybe the contract? Maybe that’s the place to start? How hard can it be?).
But I think I’m not going to. I think I’m going to take a break from thinking about any of it and instead do another small piece of paid work, which is already done in my head but just has to get typed out. And then, tomorrow, there will be no canine vomit or bloody fecal gut lining lurking in my garden, my shower will no longer have a leak, my dog will be back home, and someone else will be doing the afternoon school run.
Wednesday, 24 March
Today I am thinking about rights. When I worked as a literary agent for about a year and a half, my major success was selling a trilogy, which went to the publisher on the basis that they had the right to publish the work in English, worldwide.
That book still isn’t out (so I command you to pre-order it right now; here are Amazon links for the US and the UK). And I’m telling you that it isn’t out yet because that in turn tells you how long the timescales can be in publishing. I sold that book in the Before Times, when I had never seen a surgical mask in real life, and when going skiing wasn’t yet a roundabout but effective way to murder your grandmother. So I never dealt with rights that were more complex than you there–yes you! Take this book, and distribute it in print form to every English speaker in the galaxy.
But now that I am the publisher, I am vaguely aware that I could attempt to manage more rights than just worldwide English. It could be a sound financial proposition for the press. It could be good for the authors too. Fortunately for me, I have a rights person on the other end of my telephone.
And that brings me to the really important thing: I have the confidence to start Deixis Press only because of the kindness, generosity, and advice of so many people, starting with Natasha who first helped me find work experience, which led to Jane helping me get my foot in the door with freelancing work, which led to Lorena giving me an opportunity to do more frequent and more challenging work, which led to Emily helping me learn how literary agency works. None of those people had to take a chance on me; they all did nonetheless.
I think that’s something everyone should try to remember: even if you do a lot of hard work yourself, you’re nowhere without other people lifting you up and giving you a chance. (And so much of this industry in particular seems to rely on relationship-building.) So it’s important to stay open and grateful, and pay it forward wherever you can.
There. That’s your gratitude journalling for the day.
Thursday, 25 March
Today and tomorrow are more paid-work days for me, though I have also been in touch with folks about potential reviews/preview coverage, I’ve emailed another person who runs an independent press with some questions about printing and distribution, I’ve got one final-final-FINALMS2.doc back ready to be sent to my proof-reader, and I’m trying to convince a bookshop to let me run an event (when legal).
Friday, 26 March
I started this week with a whizzy, dizzy feeling in my brain about just how much there is to do before 1 April (NEXT WEEK!), which is when I’d really like to launch Deixis Press formally (just in time for my children to be off school for a month).
I’m ending this week having done a fair amount, but with still so much more to do before Thursday.
Oh, you probably want to know the most important thing:
Have a good weekend!