Introducing another of our members, Ann Pearce who discovered a hoard of beautiful and poignant poetry by her late father.
In 2006 my father moved from Essex to Sale in Cheshire in order to be near the family. Needing constant care he finally agreed to be nearer to us all. During the packing of his worldly goods for transport to the north I discovered some 39 poems that he had penned throughout his life. They were scribbled in lined books, on scraps of paper and used as book marks and some in envelopes secured with rusting paper clips. My daughter and I collated them, together with the more recent poems we had already collected, got them bound and gave him a copy for that Christmas.
Over the following years I gathered from him and from relatives, the stories behind many of these poems, and after his death in 2013 wrote the stories into a book as an homage and so that the family would not loose his story or his poems.
Once written and proof read and edited primarily by my lovely daughter, I set about the task of deciding what, if anything, I would want to do with it. Here I was, a mediocre writer at best, with this piece of whimsy that felt strangely heavier than that. Should I have it bound and distributed among the family members, leave it stored somewhere in a book or on a shelf or perhaps just pop it in an album of sorts and hope that it won’t get lost.
I had written for years, nothing earth moving of course, just for my own amusement, but had a couple of shorts published, which elevated my ego, to Superstar status, so, how about publishing? Crikey, now I was cooking. So, I had to ask myself some very hard questions and answer them honestly and realistically. First, would any publisher want this book that was part poetry, part auto-biography, and initially even part picture book. Therefore it had no actual genre. Secondly, for a publisher to take the chance on an unknown writer telling the story of an unknown man from a wholly irrelevant time, who wrote largely amateurish poetry, would be a stretch.
Nevertheless my ego pushed me on and I decided that I should join the growing number of self publishers. I read up on many ways to do this and heeded the dire warnings of those publishers who promise everything while you end up paying them thousands of pounds for very little work. The other pitfall is losing control of your work, ending up editing it out of existence and seeing a final work that is not really yours at all. No, this was not for me.
The book that had started as a tiny ambitious glimmer in 2006, had become so very important to me. It had to be right, it had to be accurate, it had to be honest.
Finally, after online discourse with many publishers of the ilk, I found the one. I ended up having many telephone conversations with the woman who would become my book mentor. The fees were not exorbitant and within my reach. I was given complete control. What type of cover? I could even use my own artwork if I wished. The title? My publisher was extremely helpful. Size, paper colour, typeface, all discussed and advised on. I can’t say that it wasn’t a lengthy process, this after all was my first attempt, but the final result was worth it all.
It was published on Amazon in 2014 as a paperback and as a Kindle ebook. I could have taken advantage of the publisher’s service offered to publicise the book, but she advised me that it was probably a waste of money. WASTE OF MONEY? GOOD GRIEF! But of course she was right. The Great-Granddad Who Flew, you see, was a very personal little number for which there was, to put it mildly, a limited market. I agreed.
In 2019 this heavily re-written work became, Miss Rose’s Leg, the title of a poem and story from the book. Again, the publisher was a great help on how this should be done. By now I had learnt to take her advice.
|Morning – 9 September 1958 by Edward Pearce|
The birds sing, the flowers open,
And dawn begins to break.
The sun peeps through clear blue sky
Upon the clear blue lake.
Daffodils – green and water lilies there
All fluttering at ease
But only they can stir
Caressed by the gentle breeze.
Up on the valleys through the glens
The whisper of morning run.
Men, women and children alike
Arise to greet the sun.
Life, love and happiness
All start dawning.
But the very best time of all
Is the bright and wakeful morning.
From concept to final publication took 13 years, mainly because I was inexperienced, unsure and unclear as to my aims. Surprisingly, many more copies of this book have been sold than I have friends and relatives, which is heartening and, though it was not initially my intention, I have made a few bob.
Miss Rose’s Leg – And Other Stories (Available on Amazon, hard copy or Kindle) Click here
The experience gave me the confidence to do it again, a bit like childbirth, I was willing to have a second go and so my publisher now has two more books in discussion so to speak and I hope to have them both ready for publication before summer. One of them is an academic tome and the other is a collection of short stories and poems.
The other thing I enjoy is the use of many nom de plumes. It is fun and I don’t feel the need to be recognised. Hmm, could it possibly be that I’m afraid to be recognised? Either way it amuses me. I feel akin to J K Rowling and Robert Galbraith. I consider myself closely associated. After all we are both women…. Or are we?
So, finally dear friends, my advice is to go the self-publish route, find a publisher who listens to you with your interests at heart. Take your time, don’t rush, do your research, have a clear destination for your work in mind. Don’t over-reach, know your limitations, and we all have them, some more than others. Be clear in your mind the reason for wanting to publish this work rather than filing it. Writing is the easy part, what to do with your work when it’s finished is the problem for most. Writing, like all art forms has to be enjoyed, releasing thoughts that would otherwise be left dormant in us all. And what good is that?