Thursday, March 10, 2016

3 years (wow) and 2 pieces of publishing news (1 you may have heard, 1 you definitely haven't…)

Just as I was about to publish the post below, I suddenly realized that there was something about March 10th that was ringing a bell. What could it be? It's early in the morning and I'm very, very sleepy, so it took a while to come to me, but finally I remembered. March 10th, 2013 was the very first Furrowed Middlebrow post. It's hard to believe it has been three years, and a little bit hard to recognize that the person writing that first post is the same as the person writing this one. If I had thought of it sooner, I could have bored you all with some wordy musings about that, but as it happens, the post I was starting to publish is not really at all inappropriate to the occasion (at least the second bit of publishing news, if not the first). Things do have a way of continuing to evolve. But at any rate, happy birthday to me!


Seeing that my focus here is so often on the obscurest of obscure authors, it's rare that I am anywhere close to being timely with a bit of publishing news, but, wonder of wonders, I actually have two pieces of news to share today. And not only that, but both bits of news have a connection to the fantasizing I have often done here about doing some publishing of my own…

One of the authors I've occasionally fantasized about bringing back into print is the wonderfully charming Margery Sharp, and although I might be slightly disappointed that I can no longer fantasize about publishing her myself, I am delighted that, as it turns out, she will need no help from me. I got a notification last week from the good folks at Open Road Media that they're releasing not one, not two, not even five, but ten of Sharp's novels in e-book format.


The books will be available on April 12th, and the ten titles they've selected span most of Sharp's career. Here's the complete list:

The Flowering Thorn (1934)
The Nutmeg Tree (1937)
Cluny Brown (1944)
Britannia Mews (1946)
The Gypsy in the Parlour (1954)
The Eye of Love (1957)
Something Light (1960)
Martha in Paris (1962)
Martha, Eric, and George (1964)
The Innocents (1972)

Sharp has received a lot of attention from bloggers in recent years (I posted a review of The Nutmeg Tree just a few months ago—you can read it here—and I discussed The Stone of Chastity in my "possibly Persephone" list here). I know that Cluny Brown, with its immediate pre-WWII setting, is also a favorite of many readers, and Brittania Mews is set partly in wartime).


Open Road has kindly sent me review copies of two of the titles I haven't previously read, so you'll definitely be hearing more about those in the next few weeks. But I couldn't wait to share the news that some of Sharp's best work will now—finally!—be more readily available. Here's hoping that they'll be a roaring success for Open Road and more titles will be forthcoming (I know some of you are particularly holding out hope for her vanishingly rare debut, Rhododendron Pie). Fingers crossed.

So that's the first bit of news, which you might perhaps have already heard about elsewhere. But the next bit of news is absolutely an exclusive, and I know that for certain, because it pertains to me and I've not told a soul (except Andy, of course, but he's good at keeping mum).

It all started with that massive $1.5 billion Powerball lottery jackpot that was making everyone berserk just after the New Year. No, I didn't win it—obviously, or I would be sharing pics of our new London townhouse by now (let's see, Bloomsbury has a most convenient proximity to the British Library and St. Pancras, but we also quite enjoyed staying in Pimlico… Hmmm). But during all of the furor, I was having a conversation with a co-worker—that conversation we've all had at some time or another, about what we'd do if we won all that money. I said that although I wouldn't work full-time, I would certainly do some publishing of some of the really great books I've run across that deserve to be in print but aren't. (Living in London, I would also have to have In 'n' Out Burger delivered transatlantically on a regular basis, but that's perhaps not relevant here.)

Now, I've written here many times before about my publishing fantasies, probably ad nauseum, and nothing has ever inspired me to do anything about it. It has always seemed completely undoable and overwhelming and hopeless and all the other self-defeating adjectives you can think of.

But this time, perhaps because of the proximity to New Year's and that mad inclination toward resolutions that strikes at that time of year, I suddenly thought, "Well, what can it hurt to poke around a bit and try to find out what's involved and whether it's remotely feasible to do as a sideline?" I still assumed that nothing would come of it, of course, but at least I would have some facts to back up my hopelessness.

So before the inspiration wore off, I quickly emailed several people I thought might know a bit about independent publishing. They all gave me helpful replies, but one, who happened to be a publisher himself, said he'd be happy to give me advice and suggestions, or, alternatively, I could collaborate with him. Why, he asked, if I was amenable, didn't I send him some of the titles I was thinking of and he'd see what he could learn about the rights and the feasibility of publishing them?

Good heavens.

Within a few days, we had a rough plan of attack and he was requesting rights for some of my most fantasized-about titles. There is surely some sort of object lesson here about at least having a look-see into the things you've fantasized about but assume are impossible. At any rate, saying "what can it hurt" certainly paid off in this case.

Now, believe me, I'm dying to give you all the details. Sadly, though, I'm not yet quite at liberty to share specifics. But I can say that we're finalizing the rights for several titles that I'm very, very, very excited about—even more excited than I would have been had some of them been Margery Sharps! We're planning to roll out the first several titles early this fall, but believe me, you'll certainly hear more about it before then. Stay tuned.

39 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL news Scott!!! I can't wait to see the list of titles. But the first question is: Dead Tree or eBook or a combination of both, with eBook and Publish on Demand for the Dead Tree?

    Jerri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jerri. I think it will be both e-books and print-on-demand dead tree books, but I'll have more info soon. (Sorry I haven't replied to your email yet either--it's been a bit hectic!)

      Delete
  2. Love that what started out as a dream will soon become a reality, Scott. Looking forward to your big reveal...something tells me I'm going to like it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is fantastic news, Scott! Good for you for getting out there and pursuing your dream - I'm sure we'll all benefit from it come fall!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Claire! Can't wait to share more information.

      Delete
  4. This is wonderful news Scott. I am sure I will end up buying them all. (As long as they are paper!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle Ann. Yes, I think they'll be available as e-books and physical books both.

      Delete
  5. Happy Third Anniversary, Just love it when I see you have a new post - all the best

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just "discovered" your blog and your kind of reading is right up my alley. BTW, I own a vintage copy of Something Light. It's delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found the blog. Yes, I was forgetting, I actually read Something Light too and enjoyed it very much.

      Delete
  7. Happy anniversary! Can't wait to see what the titles are. Like a couple others have mentioned, I hope they are in paper. I tried Kindle and just can't manage the leap to digital. Too old I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Melissa! I am gradually reading e-books more frequently, and they are very convenient, but I admit that a part of me still prefers holding the real book in my hands.

      Delete
  8. Scott, Scott, Scott... How can you leave us hanging like this? Well, whatever the news, it's going to be BIG, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to leave you hanging, but I should have more info soon. I hope everyone thinks it's big news--I'd hate for it to be anticlimactic!

      Delete
  9. Happy Blog anniversary
    Must be proper books and in the UK I so hope? although costs may mean e books I guess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reminding me, Sue, to mention that yes, the books will be available on both sides of the pond! And yes, both physical and e-books.

      Delete
  10. Happy anniversary Scott!!!! WOW - can it really have been three years already? I hope you know your blog is on permanent bookmark on my computer. Being a librarian, I looked something up - third anniversary is traditionally leather.
    In honor fof the big day, I am moving my copy of Cluny Brown to the absolute top of the TB Pile! That copy is also a gift from a fellow DESsie, Becky. Maybe I will even watch Forbidden Street, the DVD of Britannia Mews.
    AND as for your other news - WOW WOW WOW!
    OH BOY!
    Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tom! I think I prefer for all of my anniversaries to be honored with paper--in the form of books, of course! I do think you'll enjoy Cluny Brown.

      Delete
  11. Congratulations on your anniversary, this is one of my favourite blogs. Your other news is so exciting! I can't wait to find out which titles you'll be publishing so I can add them to the already overflowing tbr shelves (either real or virtual). Good on you for following a dream!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lyn! I can't wait to tell you more!

      Delete
  12. Good heavens! Scott, I am so delighted by the news of your publishing endeavor and I wish you every success!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mmmm. Just musing over your Possibly Persephone list as a starting point. I would happily buy about 17 of these (two I own and one I don't like at all - I won't say which). I wonder what you will call the imprint. Congratulations on the blog birthday too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Grace, now I'm dying to know which one you didn't like! Maybe you can email me about it? The Possibly Persephone list might give you one or two clues, but all I can say as a hint is that I think three of those titles are already in print again and a fourth (the Margery Sharp) is presumably being considered by Open Road, so my titles won't include any of those four!

      Delete
  14. I once wrote to Persephone about Britannia Mews. The reply was that they love it but Virago still has the rights (and to her other books?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually thought Virago had fairly recently reprinted The Eye of Love and its sequels, so I was surprised to see those on Open Road's list. But rights do change hands sometimes, and must have done in this case, and if it results in more of Sharp's titles being available, it's a good thing!

      Delete
  15. This is the best news I have heard for a long time! I can't wait to see what you publish (I know I will read them all). Congratulations on your anniversary. I read your blog all the time, and have read many of your posts over and over, just wishing.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Hopefully we'll make some of your wishes come true and make some hard-to-find books available again!

      Delete
  16. Happy jumpy claps! I do so hope this works out for you.
    Maybe your readers could be part of a subscription plan: we pay a certain amount and get a first crack (and discount:)at titles...or something like Persephone but without the horrid shipping costs. This has wonderful possibilities written all over it...best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jessica! Definitely the shipping costs for our books should be reasonable, as they'll be available in both the U.S. and U.K. (and Canada!).

      Delete
  17. Wonderful news, Scott, I'm looking forward to hearing more. Returning worthwhile books to print is doing God's work.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What wonderful news! - congratulations and a big thank you in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've only just found your blog, but I'm thrilled at this news and can't wait to hear about the titles. (I was already thrilled about Margery Sharp being digitized. I own most of my favorites, but have never managed to buy a copy of The Eye of Love. Though I have been lucky enough to read Rhododendron Pie several times.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Willaful. And I know many people reading this will be envious of your reading of Rhododendron Pie! By the way, I clicked through to your blog and found your review of The Innocents, which I've just finished reading. Thank you for adding some valuable perspective to that novel!

      Delete
  20. Oh my goodness, how could I have missed this? My excuse is that real life in the past few months has been frantic and that I have read barely anything blogwise for ages.
    But now that I am peacefully back in the Czech Republic I have time to catch up and the first thing I read is your exciting news!
    Best of all - I can just carry straight on and read all of it!
    Good luck to your endeavours Scott. I know for myself that dreams can come true....

    ReplyDelete

NOTE: The comment function on Blogger is notoriously cranky. If you're having problems, try selecting "Name/URL" or "Anonymous" from the "Comment as" drop-down (be sure to "sign" your comment, though, so I know who dropped by). Some people also find it easier using a browser like Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer.

But it can still be a pain, and if you can't get any of that to work, please email me at furrowed.middlebrow@gmail.com. I do want to hear from you!