More Triumph of the Spirit

April 1st, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Continuing our accidental theme for the day, we now bring you the story of an author who couldn’t find a traditional publisher, went print-on-demand, and wound up being nominated for a major award. Yes, again. The British have a fetish for this sort of thing.

Last year, if we recall correctly, it was a first-time author. This year, Patricia Ferguson, an acclaimed author, couldn’t find a publisher for her latest book. Granted the subject matter (an old folks’ home) doesn’t scream “commercial”. Disheartened, she went the self-publishing route. It should be the end of the story. In this case:

After a slow start and a couple of favourable reviews, the book, It So Happens, takes off. At first the author and publisher are bemused at the sudden influx of orders. All becomes clear when the author, reading her daily newspaper, comes across a feature on the Orange Prize longlist – and discovers to her amazement, that she has made the grade.

Publishers are a money business; the days of gentlemen running companies as hobbies (if such days ever truly existed) have long gone. What with editors and rent and such, real money must be made at some time. We are not sure how to find the right balance, but we do know this: bean counters are wrong as often as they are right.

Also, we renew our plea to The Independent: please reconsider your page design. The newspaper metaphor is fun, but the scrolling up and down is irritating. Thank you.

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