My Publishing Journey
by Ted Tayler
My friend Tom Sangster said one evening, when I recounted a story about when I had met such and such a singer, whose hit song was being murdered by a covers band in the corner of the pub we visit most Fridays ‘You really ought to write these stories down you know’. I wasn’t sure who would be interested. He said I’d be surprised. People of a certain age ARE nostalgic about the ‘golden era’ as they see it, of groups and singers from all over the world. The decade or so I was performing in saw an incredible upsurge in different styles of music and fashion; people travelled like never before. The world became a smaller much more vibrant, exciting place than the one our parents had grown up in.
Despite my reservations, he persuaded me to think about trawling through my memory banks and writing down as many stories as I could remember (which were fit to print!). Even if the only people to see the outcome were my children and grandchildren it was better that the stories were there, in print, than lost for ever once I had popped my clogs!
I started in early 2006. Around eight months later I had a collection of anecdotes, but no real structure. I also discovered, after asking someone to knock my manuscript into shape for a publisher, that I had committed a cardinal sin! My compiler was pulling her hair out! My stories jumped about from 1962 to 1968, then back to 1965, all over the place. Publishers HATE that she told me! Why didn’t I get a proper beginning and ending and organise the stories in chronological sequence, as far as was practical.
After my ‘52 card shuffle’ as I manoeuvred the stories into the correct order, plus some re-writing and additional stories that suddenly came back to me from the ‘mists of time’, it was almost 2009 before I had a manuscript that looked maybe ninety-nine percent like the book which finally appeared in print.
My next task was to trawl the internet, searching out UK publishers who were still in business and looking to publish memoirs or autobiographies. As you can imagine, in 2009 things were starting to get decidedly difficult, so potential partners were thin on the ground! I diligently read all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ on submissions and selected a dozen to approach, then with a finely honed synopsis and where appropriate, a couple of sample chapters, I fired off my submissions.
Rejection hurts! Of course, the rejections in the case of a submission to a publisher aren’t that quick in arriving. Over half don’t even have the decency to reply. Then there are the standard letters akin to the ‘Dear John’ letters that we all dread which tell you very little except that they have dumped you! These start turning up anything between a month and three months after you have attached the first class stamp to your submissions envelope.
I was lucky. I got 4 ‘Dear Ted’s’ which commented on an ‘interesting proposal’, and a ‘well written, well observed commentary on the era’ but also mentioned ‘extremely full lists in the coming months’ ‘very few titles being commissioned at present’ or even ‘no longer actively pursuing memoirs or biographies’.
Because you believe SOMEONE will be keen to snap up your book and publish it post haste, of course, you don’t quite know when to accept that you have lost the first skirmish in the battle for global domination. Around six months after the submissions were sent out; I stopped looking wistfully up the driveway for the postman to be approaching with a letter that carried glad tidings. The manuscript was consigned to the dark corners of my computer and marked down as ‘something to get around to again when the economy starts looking up’ and I occupied my time with my family and my advancing years.
When the spring of 2011 arrived with an unseasonably warm spell just before we flew off to Ibiza at the end of April, my wife Lynne went out with one of our daughters for some retail therapy. She returned with a ‘freebie’ booklet she had picked up, with some interesting articles she wanted to read, plus the usual liberal sprinkling of local adverts. I picked it up and idly flicked through the pages one afternoon, deciding whether to risk chucking it in the recycling bin or double checking with her first.
I spotted an advert for a local firm which offered to ‘help you get your treasured memories in print’. Cepia Books were duly contacted and eight weeks later the book of memories was listed in paperback and kindle on Amazon as ‘Coming Soon’!
The proof copy arrived from the printers around the same time & I couldn’t put it down! I sat in the garden for a quick proof read, then, as I needed to pop to the bank I walked into town carrying the book! Pathetic isn’t it? Just casually laying it down on the counter as I checked the details on my paying in slip!
At sixty six years of age, after five years of writing and waiting, my first book was published.
Genre – Crime / Thriller
Rating – 18+
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