THE PANELLISTS: Yours truly, Judith Falloon-Reid, Ian Randle and moderator Joy Simmons-Brown.
“You’re work isn’t truly published until you’ve exhausted every possible avenue of making your work accessible to readers,” remarks Ian Randle. “As a writer you need to ensure that there is an audience for your work, and you try to widen that audience as much as possible.” Randle, who was addressing the Talking Trees Literary Fiesta on Saturday in Treasure Beach during a panel discussion on the evolution of the publishing industry, also encouraged writers with hopes of landing a contract with a publishing house to research the industry thoroughly. “Do your homework. Find out what [the publishing house’s] preferences are to see if they fit your material.”
Randle, who is now a “happily retired” decades-long veteran of the publishing world, mostly via his very own and highly-respected Ian Randle Publishers, further emphasized that his company has a simple 5-point checklist of criteria in selecting (and possibly later accepting) manuscripts for publication: (a) the work should possess some literary merit (b) marketability (c) appeal to a minimum number of people (d) allows for cost-effective pricing (e) the publisher should love the work.
“We don’t want you to send us your manuscript right away. First, we want you to sell us the idea and then we see where it all goes from there based on that initial presentation,” says Randle, adding that should the house decide to go ahead and publish a selected work, “the publisher absorbs 100 per cent of the risk.” And within 9 months to a year the finished product could be in book stores.
The day’s discourse on publishing was, however, not restricted to publishing houses as the options now available to writers also include the ever-accessible self-publishing route (which Judith Falloon-Reid highlighted) as well as the fast-growing electronic media, including e-books and e-zines, elaborated on by TALLAWAH’s Tyrone S. Reid.
In the end, the consensus ascertained: In the modern day, hopeful writers and established successes fortunately have a wider range of options within their grasp to bring their work to the attention of the world. But of paramount importance is the quality of the work that you deliver.
Talking Trees Lit Fiesta: Recap of a delightful day in Treasure Beach