Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Hungry and homeless writers
It's tough out there. Five Leaves makes it clear on our website that we are not reading submissions, mostly being a commissioning press. Our plans are worked out until 2013. But still they come. In one recent week the pitches included: a novel by a well-published and respected but not big-selling writer which had been sitting with a publisher that has now decided to cut back its UK fiction; an option to paperback a good crime novelist whose publisher is now finding it impossible to sell paperback rights to the bigger publishers; a first poetry book by an internationally published US novelist; a third poetry collection by a reasonably successful poet whose publisher has lost Arts Council support; a book by... but I need not go on. In that week I could easily have taken five titles that would have fitted happily on our list, but we already publish to the limit. There have always been, will always be, pitches, more than we could read let alone publish, but what has changed is that many more people who would otherwise have found a place are approaching us. We can't help. Nor can the editor I spoke to earlier from a poetry press who has turned down 27 published poets since the Arts Council withdrew support from some previously supported presses.