Oh Publisher, Publisher wherefore art thou………


This blogsite is all about my journey from writing ‘Androula’s Kitchen’ my first  effort, to getting published. It is a journey so many have done before me and so many are doing as I write. The easy part is writing and putting together the whole package of presentation, a really fun part, but then the path ahead becomes a little hazy and confusing. There are so many hopeful writers out there  and so many paths to choose from once you have written. Do you get an agent or dive straight in and find a publisher? I started looking for a publisher in Cyprus for two reasons really, one,  I thought they would be more sympathetic to the material of the book and two I thought this might be simpler as there is much less choice. Indeed as far as I am aware there is only one publishing house functioning in the manner that we would expect in the U.K. the norm is more on a self publishing basis. It is a very small country  the market is much smaller and so therefore are the profits I guess.

I was  hopeful, as very early on the one publisher showed a keen interest in ‘Androula’s Kitchen’ and I couldn’t believe my luck, they were negotiating a book distribution deal in the UK at the time of me approaching them, a vital part of the deal for both of us. Sadly a few months further down the line this deal fell through and they were unable to secure another. So this left me with the rather more difficult task of wading in and finding an agent in the U.K. Or should that be a publisher??? For better or worse I’ve started with a search for an agent purely because there are fewer of them to choose from. The list of publishers and their requirements is a daunting one which I might yet have to work my way through. At the moment I have taken advice from a writer’s web site and started with a list of 10 agents to whom, a few at a time, I’m sending an enquiry with link. It will be a slow process as they all get many submissions a week and have a respond time of between 6 and 8 weeks, but it’s better than doing nothing and sticking all that work in the metaphorical drawer and forgetting about it so I can move on to the next project. I’ll just have to grit my teeth and get on with it however long it takes.

It is a task though, I have to admit ,I find every excuse to avoid, and time seems to march on inexorably. As I look out of the window the daffodils are nodding and the sun is out beckoning but my head must be forced to bend over the keyboard and plough on. Ahh publisher, publisher, wherefore art thou…..?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now there’s a question. I have just been listening to an interview between Tony Hancock, one of the UK’s best-loved comedians, and John Freeman for a T.V. programme called ‘Face to Face’ many years ago. In answer to Freeman’s question “Why did you become a comedian?” Hancock replied “I’ve wanted to be a comedian for as long as I can remember”. This set me thinking and remembering when I was a little girl, I wanted to be an archaeologist, digging up old things that have been buried a long time. Interestingly, although I didn’t realise that exact wish, I did end up in a job that involved me resurrecting and revealing the decoration on furniture that had been neglected and covered in grime, sometimes even paint, and restoring it to its former  beauty.

I don’t know where this idea came from. Many children aspire to have  a career in the same field as their parents , so a child who wants to be a lawyer, judge or doctor might have parents who follow these career paths. I have a friend whose father was a G.P. her mother was a nurse, she became a nurse, one brother an aneasthetist another a G.P. and her sister a nurse. Her sister married a doctor and her son is studying medicine. fairly consistent aspirations in that family I think you’ll agree.

I’ve always had an interest in history and art so ending up as a decorated furniture restorer covers both interests you could say. My father was a tailor , his earlier aspiration was to be an engineer and the war disrupted his studies. To construct sartorial elegance, a certain amount of engineering is required. After a client has been measured for a suit, those measurements have to be translated into a pattern that will, when used to cut the cloth, be turned into a suit which will fit that person like the proverbial glove.

My sister, interestingly, became an architect which requires engineering knowledge. My brother, after studying furniture design at art college, became a kitchen designer, also requiring an ability to turn many measurements into an aesthetically pleasing structure.

Of course the manner by which your parents earn a living does not necessarily  represent the whole of their talents or interests and my father loved to read and indeed later in life took up creative writing which he enjoyed enormously. Maybe when I wrote Androula’s Kitchen I was reflecting this aspiration of his?

What did you want to be when you grew up and did you?