Monday, May 30, 2011

Aline here again. I’ve just got back from Crimefest, in Bristol, which brings together delegates from both sides of the Atlantic, and this year from Greece, Iceland and South Africa as well. It’s the son of Left Coast Crime which came here five years ago, and there was so much enthusiasm for it that this new event took its place. It was great to meet some of my American readers who are loyal fans of DI 'Big Marge' Fleming.

Bristol’s a beautiful merchant city, just down the road from Jane Austen’s Bath, which grew up round the River Severn on trade with the New World, with streets of Georgian houses in honey-coloured stone and glorious medieval streets, and a thriving street market too. The Clifton Village area is crammed with antique and vintage shops and delicatessens – I can speak for Tom’s delicious pies. Cary Grant was born here, and you can even have your photo taken beside him – well, his statue anyway – and make like you're Grace Kelly. Or, if you're a guy, the second of the Couple of Swells. Think about it for next year – details on info@crimefest.com – and tell Adrian I sent you!

Conferences are always a great way to get in touch with what other authors are thinking, and much of the talk was, naturally, about the revolution in the book industry. This year for the first time there was an eDunnit Award, open only to ebooks and now there seems to be a groundswell of excitement rather than nervousness about what’s happening. There’s even a feeling that power is passing, at last, from publishers and editors to authors and that the day of liberation is at hand.

You spend a year, or more – sometimes much more – labouring over a book, and send it off hopefully to agents and publishers, but it develops homing pigeon tendencies and pops back to see you with depressing loyalty. You know it’s a good book, you reckon there are people out there who would pay good money to read it, but because the gatekeepers in the world of publishing say no, it will never see the light of day.
No longer!

In some ways, of course, book publishing is more gratifying. Knowing that you’re not the only one who has confidence in your book is a terrific confidence boost and the feel of a book that you have written in your hand, all crisp and beautiful, is like nothing else. On the other hand, your creativity won’t be supporting a huge industry, in which everyone is paid better than you. The budget I heard quoted by an editor was £22,000, of which £4000 was available as an advance for the author.

My own interest, at the moment at least, is in republishing my back list. I have several books written some years ago which are out of print, and of course I can understand that bookshops and warehouses can’t keep unlimited stocks. But I’m often asked where they can be found and have to say sadly that they’re out of print. So I’m going to get them out there in their new guise as ebooks – watch this space!

It’s always been an encouragement to writers that Frederick Forsyth was repeatedly rejected before he found a publisher willing to take a risk with The Day of the Jackal. There must be more manuscripts like that out there with authors who gave up sooner – maybe that’s you, and maybe this is your big chance?

6 comments:

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Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Aline - I haven't been to Crimefest in Bristol but I intend to go next year! Good luck with publishing your backlist - would love to know how you get on! Great post!

Eve said...

Aline, I meant to comment and ended up not paying attention and emailed the blog instead.

Great post. I like your optimism and lack of fear mongering. I'll look for your backlist.

Aline Templeton said...

Thank you all for the comments and encouragement. I'll certainly keep you up to date with my progress - and the pitfalls!
Aline

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