Book II – a chink of light

Its been a hectic week since my first blog last Friday in the new monthly format. Readership was well down, perhaps because people were out of the habit after a four week layoff. I don’t know. Will definitely try whet the appetites before the next last Friday in July – a story of people dying on the river and roadside at Passage from Cholera.

As I had also said recently I have the new book to sort out. Funding to self publish wasn’t forthcoming from a grant application I made so I have had to rethink. I received some good suggestions about how to proceed, and I even got a cheque from one long time blog reader (thanks Mark) who suggested I write some letters to see if I could raise further sponsorship. A lovely gesture, followed by a pledge from Carmel & David to support me also. And I might still try it. But for now I have put away Mark’s cheque in the hope that it won’t be needed.

I put last weekend aside to start the long hard struggle to try find a publisher. Following publication of the blog on Friday I set to work on another long arduous process of researching and writing . I had a couple of pleasant interludes however. On Saturday we headed down to the Beat The Ferryman swim in the kayaks, and provided some on water support to the swimmers. One of which was uur youngest Ellen, who was entering for the first time, and finished strongly in just under 17 mins for the 600 meters.

Standing by for the off l-r my son Joel, nephew Keelan and my co-pilot niece Moya

On Sunday I had another lovely interlude, a trip to the Wexford Maritime Heritage event held on the quays, and a wonderful catch up with Brian and John Boyce and Brian Cleare of the Rosslare Maritime Heritage Centre. My only disappointment was missing the model maker Johnnie Walker, whose work I admire, and which feature prominently in the museum.

Brian Cleare (left) and model maker supreme -Johnnie Walker. Photo courtesy of Brian Boyce.

So between these fun events I did a lot of work on the book project. I revisited my old list of publishers that I had researched over Christmas. Strangely enough only 3 of the 9 were open to submissions at this stage and so I dug a little deeper and came up with a list of 5 more making 8 potential publishers. 6 in Ireland, one in UK and one in NI.

The submissions were very disparate. Some wanted the whole book (something that put me off previously) but of the newer ones I found some wanted as little as a paragraph on my bio and a paragraph on the concept! Others wanted a cover letter, a synopsis and a selection of chapters. Some wanted the chapters numbered, some wanted a header or footer with my contact details, some were open to email others by post…ONLY…but if you don’t supply an email, they won’t contact you back….WTF!

For coaching I went to you tube and google and found some good resources. In fairness the site was probably my best friend for the few days. I didn’t count the hours, but lets just say that by Sunday night I had submitted four and had three to post by mid week. The downside is that I could be waiting from 6 weeks to 6 months to hear anything. Which is a real bummer.

And so I promised myself that this weekend coming I would look at other options. Andrew Haworth at Lettertec had already sent me a revised quote for a scaled down self publishing option via a sponsorship route. And while at Wexford Brian Cleare told me about a possible option to print in China. Another suggestion was from Tony Babb, who’s new book on WWI salvage (and includes to Dunmore account of UC 44) is wonderful by the way, to check out Amazon and do a print by order system. Now I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with either concept, but it won’t hurt to explore.

But then Tuesday something interesting happened. A publisher (which requested the two paragraphs) replied back on email and a “Submissions Editor” requested a sample chapter. I was on lunch, in work and only had my phone. So I managed to edit a three chapter down to one on the phone. The only issue was that it was a google docs file. Not as straightforward to access as a word file. Jesus, would I be better to wait I wondered. Yet my gut said strike while the iron was hot. Five minutes later she came back and said she liked it, it was different. Would I fill out an Authors Questionnaire which she could bring to a meeting with the publishers sales and marketing team?…

If this keeps going I’ll need to get a colour in my hair

Well the 8 page questionnaire had to wait till I got home. I spent all of yesterday (Thursday) from 6.35am – 4.05 pm, with a breakfast in between, working to finalise the submission. The historical fiction author, Ruadh Butler, generously offered to look over the piece when finished. If the sales and marketing people like it, it will still need to go to an acquisition meeting. I still might end up a dead end. But at least I’m trying.

Anyway, stay tuned, who knows what twists and turns are coming my way. I’ll try not to bore people about it. In fact what I intend to do is to set up a new page on the blog for Book II.  If people are interested they can check in that way.