At the beginning of the year, I was sending enquiries to agents and publishers who may be interested in my humorous poetry book, Grandma’s Poetry Book, especially as the illustrations by an artist friend, Denise Horn, are something to die for. In fact, they may sell the book more than the poetry itself, such is my admiration of her work. She has shown her illustrations to several people and has orders for the book already. Some of these orders are coming from America. Wow.
Having sent ‘Grandma’ to Souvenir Press, Ernest Hecht replied that this work was not something they could handle within their current projects but he was complimentary saying that ‘it captured the spirit well’ and would fit with a publisher dealing with a strong women’s interest or gift books. He suggested three other publishers, two of whom I have contacted.
But I had difficulty with the third publisher and spent time googling and searching in vain. I looked in Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook without success. How close I was – actually one page away from their entry – although I didn’t know it then. Today in our local tea shop I was demonstrating to Denise the quality of production of Matador, the self publishing imprint of Troubadour publishing. I took a book off the shelf alongside our table and opened it to show her the the copyright page. Matador books have a comprehensive inside page identical to any other publishing company. In no way do their books look like some of the self-published books I have seen on sale at writers’ conferences. As I glanced down the page I recognised the publisher name and suddenly realised why the googling had failed. The typist at Souvenir Press had typed ‘Arnova’ whereas this book in my hand was by Anova. It sounds similar so I can understand the error. I nearly ran out of the tea shop there and then so excited was I to find this company and the website.
Getting poetry published is difficult. So many agents and publishers include in their gentle rejections a phrase which alludes to the fact that I am an ‘unknown’. For example, Pam Ayres began her writing career performing in amateur productions while in the armed forces. Her first publications were photocopies or ink stencil duplications that she produced herself. But she was young. I am nearing the end of my seventh decade and feel time is running short.
Therefore, I am off to investigate Anova publishers to see if they are interested in Grandma’s Poetry Book. I can’t believe that three months ago I was a page away from their entry in Writers’ and Artists’.
So anyone out there who has a recommendation or makes casual scribbles in writing notebooks, take note of this typing error. In future I shall scour the pages more carefully and be aware that the name given to me may not have been spelt correctly.
Watch this space.
Since writing this article my poetry book was turned down by Anova and I have pursued the self publishing route with Matador who, I have to say, are extremely helpful and professional. No wonder they are recommended in Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook. Grandma’s Poetry Book will be out in November 2014.
So yes, really do watch this space.