40 Degrees South: you’re welcome
June 3rd 2012 07:05
I have long dreamed of finding a book publisher with an open-door policy. A publisher with a two-word philosophy: Writers Welcome.
I haven't worked in the industry but I have worked next door, so to speak, in journalism. I understand a bit about the written word and a bit about the wider world, but I have never understood the apparent contradiction that book publishers, as they go about their business of publishing books, do not want to talk to writers.
If I were a book publisher, I have always thought, I would want as many manuscripts as possible to land on my desk. It might take time to assess them, and it might take even more time explaining to people why we consider their manuscripts unsuitable for publication, but what else, I ask, should a book publisher be spending his or her time doing?
What they appear to be spending their time doing is locking doors and hanging Do Not Disturb signs on them. Book publishers live in a secret world with high walls around it. What do they do in there? Their industry is built upon the art and aspirations of writers, but writers approaching book publishers are likely to find themselves snagged upon a barbed-wire-encrusted mantra of No Unsolicited Manuscripts Accepted.
Of course there was always the possibility that, in my lack of understanding, I was being naïve. The book publishing business has, after all, been around for a long time – almost as long as writing probably – and who am I to say they do it wrongly?
Well, I am about to find out. I have finally managed to have a look inside this secret world. I have walked through the door of a book publisher in Tasmania, Australia, named 40 Degrees South. I have had a good look around, and I have talked frankly to the people inside. They have been operating as a magazine publisher for 16 years, and as a book publisher for five years. They welcome enquiries. You can phone or email them. Or you can just walk through their front door and say hello.
They don’t charge a reading fee.
According to their financial statements, they have prospered.
So I bought the company.
This is not a dream. It is the realisation of a dream. I move to Tasmania on June 14 and I officially take over ownership of 40 Degrees South on July 1.
You can find me here. Phone calls welcome. Email welcome. Visitors especially welcome. And most of all, manuscripts Welcome.
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