One of the reasons I got involved with indie publishing is because I miss the collaborative nature of film production; specifically that buzz which comes from a group of creative minds working together, reaching different (if not greater) dimensions than the solitary process.
As yet the collaboration here has been limited to an exchange between an author, their editor (if they have one) and myself. You see, I am committed to the notion of allowing the author control over how their book will look. But I’m beginning to realise that publishing isn’t like filmmaking, where a group of individuals skilled in different aspects of the process come together – each responsible for that one area of expertise but all working under the unifying vision of either a producer or a director. That process doesn’t yet unfold so neatly here. My authors and I are still finding our way.
To begin with, I myself am embarrassingly inexperienced in publishing – my skills lie in photography and film production (and all that goes with those areas in terms of graphics and design sensibilities) and in writing. Putting out my own first novel – I was a screen writer in my previous incarnation – was how Pomonal Publishing came into being. But I didn’t want to be just a self-publisher!
Now I’m realising that my authors are also inexperienced (in bookmaking, not in writing) and that together we are making lots of mistakes!
Here’s a doozy: Our next PP book will be a collection of poetry by Christopher Race. But I’ve been talking about it as an ‘anthology’ – I even used that term in my Foreword for the review editions already printed. And I used the term when I approached renowned Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe, to ask if he would be willing to review the book. He politely queried the word, which set me straight.
Of course the dictionary does define ‘Anthology’ as a collection of poems etc. But it does not say (or at least mine doesn’t) ‘by different authors’! However, this is the assumed knowledge that anyone in the industry, or any Humanities graduate would already have. And this is exactly the type of pitfall I’m likely to make on entering an area in which I am untrained and still inexperienced.
Should I cease and desist my amateur attempts to publish beautiful (and professional) books?
Perhaps with kindness and patience (and a little informal mentoring) from such consummate professionals as CWC, we shall achieve excellence in time. Until then, we’ll bumble on, and after we are gone Pomonal Publishing’s banner may be held aloft by more capable arms.
Christopher Race’s COLLECTION of poems, Still Life With Grandmother, will be out early in the new year. Please watch this space for more details.