Sunday, July 06, 2014

The unutterable sadness of not finding a publisher.


Sometimes the search for a publisher calls for desperate measures and most of the time I feel heartily ashamed of asking my friends, who are already published, to put in a word for me here or there. 

It seems disgraceful and yet it’s what people do, especially when we do not have a reputation, when we do not have a name.  

In desperate circumstances, pride slips away. 

Most weeknights before I go to bed or first thing in the morning before 7 am, I check the street for cars, my family’s cars.  We live on a Clear Way in the mornings from 7 am to 9 am.  Any cars parked on our side of the road between those hours, during the week but not on weekends, will be booked by council inspectors and then towed away.

To retrieve the car you pay $300.00 to the man in charge of the depot in Collingwood to where the car is towed and later – you have a few weeks grace here – you also pay the council a fine of $144.00. 

It’s an expensive exercise to park in front of my house between the hours of 7 am and 9 am on weekdays. Visitors beware.

On this morning when I had elected to sleep till fifteen minutes past seven, I went outside first thing to collect the newspaper.  To my horror my daughter’s car was parked directly in front of our house.  I ran back inside to get her car keys and to put on my shoes. 

I do not like to drive cars with bare feet besides I’d need to park the car in the side street some distance from home.  I pulled on my boots but did not zip them up and ran flip flopping out of the house in my salmon pink terry towelling gown.
 
The man was already dragging the car up onto his tow truck.
‘Please,’ I said. ‘It’s my daughter’s car.  She needs it for work.
My daughter, still asleep in bed, was oblivious to all this. 
‘Sorry, but it’s already been booked,’ the man said.  ‘Once it’s booked I have no choice.’
He looked sorry enough, but even then I figured the business of towing cars is his bread and butter.

It was only later after the drama had died down that I recognised a mixture of compassion in the tow truck man’s eyes and also his surprise.  I must have looked like a wild woman, my undone boots flapping, my pink dressing gown and my shrill voice.
 
My daughter paid the price.  Fortunately, my husband could get her to Collingwood to collect the car before she started work. 

Her excuse for leaving the car on the street was one of confusion the night before.  She had come home late from friends and was tired.  For some reason, she had thought it was already Friday night.  

If I had planned to go out onto the street and encounter a stranger from whom I would beg for mercy I might have dressed better.  That is, if I had the time and presence of mind to prepare. 

But in desperate circumstances, we behave desperately and bugger the consequences. 




5 comments:

Juliet Batten said...

I really understand what it's like not finding a publisher. We writers have to be so tough. After being fortunate enough to have a wonderful publisher for 4 of my books, I lost them when they sold out to a big publisher. Luckily a contract was signed the week before this happened. So that book and a revised edition of a former one were published by Random House. Then everything changed - for all writers. I could no longer get published.
You must know that these circumstances affect us all now, and have nothing to do with the quality of your work.
For me, it was a choice between stopping writing or taking matters into my own hands. So I've published my last 3 books myself. It's hard, but worthwhile to get the work out there.
Don't stop. The good news is that writers don't need publishers any more. There are many supports now for self-publishing, and it doesn't bear the stigma that it once had.

Jim Murdoch said...

Carrie came back from the States on Friday. As is my habit I went to Glasgow Airport to meet her. I used to get a bus directly from Clydebank to the airport but they changed things and now I have to go to Paisley and get the connection from there which isn’t really any hassle—I get off one bus and walk across the road to wait on the airport shuttle—but I’ve started taking the bus into Glasgow town centre and taking the shuttle from the bus depot. This also allows me an hour or so to wander around Sauchiehall Street if the mood takes me. So this Friday I went up to Tell it Slant to see how my poetry books were doing. When Ellen opened the show I donated three copies of This Is Not About What You Think to get her going and I imagined by now she might be in need of additional copies. Only she wasn’t. All three copies were sitting there, untouched as best I could see. I left quietly without attracting any undue attention to myself.

Of course this is nothing to do with publishing. This is the book buying public we’re on about here. Sitting on the shelf there’s nothing to distinguish my books from any of the dozens of other poetry books. And yet not one, not one single, soddin’ copy, had been sold. That made me very sad. It also makes me very sad that no one’s bought a single copy of my short story collection, so sad that a part of me really would like to close shop and just do things that make me happy and o hell with publishing and readers. I’ve been trying to get people to read me for seven years which I know isn’t long compared to the history of the universe but that still amounts to about a tenth of my life, a tithe.

I don’t have friends to beg favours off. I know about a dozen people including your good self. And I have enough trouble keeping up with you lot. I went to a book release last week, a local author whose book I’d offered to review, and I slipped in and out without having to engage with anyone although I did nearly have words with the woman to my left who shifted her chair over a few inches to her left leaving a conspicuous gap between the two of us. I wanted to ask if I’d B.O. but didn’t in case I did; Carrie was away so I had no one bar the bird to ask about such things and despite the fact he has a surprisingly high level of personal hygiene he’s not the most communicative of creatures. My guess was she was trying to see better but I expect we’ll never know.

I’m not shy, I’m really not shy, but the older the get the less sociable I’m becoming. It’s pure self-indulgence. I can’t be bothered and so I’m not bothered and if people think me standoffish then so be it. Maybe one day someone will run across my blog and think, I wonder if this fellow would do with a leg up and then offer me some practical assistance. That would be nice. Not to have to ask. Or beg; it always feels like begging.

I’ve written another novella by the way, In the Beginning was the Word. Sent it to Carrie while she was away but she hasn’t been able to find the right space to read it. I’m not worried. A part of me hates it. I was quite pleased when I wrote Exit Interview but there’s none of that this time. It was okay when all I did was write things and put them in the drawer where no one could read them. Now the idea of writing them, publishing them and no one reading them irks.

Rob-bear said...

Well-uttered unutterable sadness. For the publisher and the car.

Blessings and Bear hugs form Canada!

PhilipH said...

Keep calm and press on regardless in your search for a publisher.

The road sign is new to me. No idea what some of it means. Hard luck in being pipped by the tow truck man. That's life I guess.

Sir Marshall Stacks said...

An author needs an agent to get to a publisher. Getting the agent to take you on is the trick. Good luck.
You could market as an e-book for Kindles of course.

Flapping boots and flapping dressing gown would be the ideal ensemble for gaining mercy from Mr Clearway. Timing, of course, is everything.