17: The Summer Season

Posted in Diary posts on September 26th, 2010 by Peter Baker

26 September 2010

Normally I’m fairly obsessive about having copy quintuple-checked. I draft stuff, sleep on it, look at it again, wait until the weekend (when I’m calmer) then look at it once more. I rely upon the steadying hand of my heroic editor and grammatical protector, Sid McLean, and try not to do anything rash.

When sending out a sample I also send an email containing links to the website. For my first pitches I decided to save a day, lose the front-end copyediting then have Sid look at the website-introduction email retrospectively. He emailed straight back pointing out that I’d said ‘it’s’ when I’d meant ‘its’. Read more »

16: Submission

Posted in Diary posts on August 31st, 2010 by Peter Baker

31 August 2010

Back in April I looked at the traffic stats on the website for the first time in months. They described a j-curve from October through March – by which point the site was getting 1,500 hits a day. On the 28th I was informed that my work was being discussed in Vanuatu. By then I was getting a stream of requests – and increasingly impatient demands – for the published product. Clearly, it was time to find an agent.

Read more »

15: Earlings Twilight

Posted in Diary posts on August 5th, 2010 by Peter Baker

5 August 2010

My first home, the place where I grew up and the spiritual hub of my family for the past few decades, is a house called Earlings.

Earlings is a seventeenth-century Flemish cottage and a grade-three listed building. It lies on the outskirts of the village of Dedham, in the north Essex countryside immortalised by John Constable, the second most famous British painter of all time.
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14: Preliminary Reconnaissance

Posted in Diary posts on July 23rd, 2010 by Peter Baker

23 July 2010

In the early noughties, I worked for a consultancy called Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson). At one point during my time there Accenture (not really a competitor, but a comparable organisation) started advertising on the London Underground. Read more »

13: The Three-Point Plan

Posted in Diary posts on June 29th, 2010 by Peter Baker

29 June 2010

The organisational structures which underlie the publishing industry are fickle, profit-seeking institutions. Persuading one of them to accept a manuscript is extremely difficult. Three quarters of books don’t make back their production costs, let alone turn a meaningful profit. Last year in the USA (the world’s most important market for English-language books), over 150,000 were published.

How many have you heard of? 0.1% of them? Read more »