Wednesday, 9 October 2013

One year on.

It's October. And this time last year we were just launching Writer's Choice. I'm now organising a birthday party to celebrate a successful first year.

We had no idea, last year, that we could beat the gloom and doom sayers, that we could take on the role of publisher of our own books and make it work. For me in New Zealand, where literary snobbism is rife and indie publishers like us are regarded as degrading the standard of New Zealand literature overseas - that's a quote from the NZSA person heard on National Radio - it was a real risk. I do quite a bit of tutoring of writers and it is hard to get that tutoring work when you are branded as a failure because you don't have a 'proper publisher.'

But I aim to stand tall in our library at the birthday celebration and skite - boast - about our successes. We published three novels in our first year and G.J. Berger's 'South of Burnt Rocks West of the Moon' has sold steadily. It also won the San Diego Book Awards first prize for historical novels. Superb success and a real boost to our moral. Then Sharon Robard's 'A Woman Transported' began a sales climb on Amazon which put it way up in the top fifty (and eventually higher) historical novels landing a delighted Sharon in the midst of well known historical novelists. My 'Jacob's Ladder', because of a publishing problem which only saw the print version released in September, has just begun to collect positive reviews and is about to be entered in a couple of competitions. I hope I can join in with my colleagues' successes.

Whether I do or not, their successes do reinforce our Quality Fiction claim, and my next novel, 'Tizzie', will be launched on February 13th 2014. I've a better idea of how to and where to do PR this time round and hope the book reaches a lot of readers. It's quite different from the 17thC 'Jacob's Ladder', as it's set in 1887 in the Yorkshire Dales.

I am still involved with the indies group under Tui Allen. we are hoping to work with the Book Council who have gone on line with their newsletter and are trying to be less elitist. It will take some work. For all my short story publications in respected journals and magazine around the world I was not allowed to be registered on their author's list because my novels were 'self published.' Never mind the fact that Writer's Choice was a writers' publishing co-operative and our books were selected or rejected, edited properly and well designed. Nope, I didn't have a 'proper publisher'. Tui and our group has a long way to go.