From I was in highschool I was writing, but just in my diaries (this was always written in my secret code!). Then when I started working and then living on my own, I started to write a semi-autobiography centred around a croaking lizard. That is still on hold after it was given negative reviews by my brother (as if he knows anything about publishing!).
Then when I went to England to study from 2001 to 2003 I created two different update series. ‘Guildford Chronicles’ really started out by letting everybody know how I got on with the flight and so on (including having to return to Heathrow when I discovered I had left my radio in the baggage hall!!). Then I would periodically email every week or two weeks to let them know what I was getting up to. Oddly enough, it never dawned on me to keep any of what I wrote, until my father, who is not given to whimsical ideas, said “I hope you’re keeping these”.
More and more people emailed back to say how much they looked forward to what I wrote. One British lady who was a regular guest of the hotel in Grenada where I worked, said she printed off the two or three pages (yes….I am long winded sometimes), poured herself a G&T or a glass of wine, reclined in her chair and read it out to her husband!
The subject of Guildford Chronicles was mostly about school and life on campus. When I moved up to Nottingham to a small town called Beeston, ‘Nottingham Niblets’ became more about my housemates who I had given nicknames suck as Messy Bloke, Bike Bloke and the Chinese couple called Li Ping and Lucy Lui.
So I’ve kept them and people keep asking “when is the book coming out?” But that requires time and most importantly, a publisher who would want to publish it! Who wants to hear about Yamfoot’s trials of being back in school after 12 years, her weight loss dilemmas and such the like, unless they know her?
This morning, I was reading The Monday Interview in The Jamaica Gleaner (always very interesting, done by Barbara Ellington) and Ian Randle was the subject. First I thought Randle was caucasian. I am actually published in one of his books. He focuses more on academic and the scholarly stuff (yes, Miss Yamfoot is an all rounder…..academia, cricket, life….). I took this paragraph from the interview where he tells what an author needs to do before coming to him. All budding writers take note….
BE: What does the prospective author need to know before he
comes to you?
IR: The author needs to do his research, investigate us to see what we do before coming with something we don’t publish. We have a catalogue on our website. Don’t send us a manuscript; the first
contact we need is someone telling us what they are working on and if we are interested, we will ask for a proposal in which you sell the product and yourself. We will both be clear on what you are doing, why it’s different and who would be the market.
We ask for something on the author and then we ask for some marketing information, who will buy it and what is your level of
exposure. Then the author has to follow our style guidelines. If we like all that we ask for the manuscript. Once the manuscript comes in, if it’s a scholarly and academic book, we send it for academic review, we ask experts in the field to read it and give us an assessment. Some don’t need that. The author is asked to respond to their critique/feedback and they will end up with a better manuscript.