I was happy to see my short story collection, ‘Tell it Not,’ published by Red Heifer Press USA, for two reasons. The first – well anyone would be pleased wouldn`t they? The second – well, ten of the seventeen had already appeared, in journals, or collections. This fact gave my inner doubting self a reason to trust the whole procedure. Pleased now that I did so.
I recently received an enthusiastic offer of publication from a newish publisher, offering me a hybrid contract for the publication of my novel Paper in the Cracks. I contribute £489 to the process, and from then on it is plain sailing. Well. It is according to the publisher, but isn`t, according to the Society of Authors, who checked over the contract and advised me not to sign it. Who do I believe? My inner doubting self prefers to follow the SOA advice, even if this means that for now Paper in the Cracks remains unpublished. Do get in touch if you`d like to read it by the way. It`s an autobiographical novel, the last section of which takes place in Jerusalem before and just after the Six Day War in 1967.
Stories and a novel are one thing, in my writing career. Plays are different. My inner doubting self has a harder time here. My first ever play, a one act play, The Piano, got onto a shortlist of 19 out of 300 entries in the Royal Exchange Contemporary Theatre Series. Decades ago! A few years after that The Song of Deborah got a lovely response from the Royal Exchange. `This writer has a fine poetic imagination,` someone wrote. And more.
During and after each production of each play – The Song of Deborah, Candlesticks, Xanthippe, even Fire in the Park, and every reading so far of Remedies, there have been people reacting with respect, laughter or tears, feelings. A scout from The Really Useful Theatre group wrote a red hot page of commendation re The Song of Deborah. This play, he said, needs to go straight to the West End.
Well. Clearly, my plays haven`t yet gone straight to the West End. But they have reached some really good directors, and some great venues. And no I`m not lying when I say that some audience members have been moved.
So what has stopped me self-publishing some of them? Probably only the fact that who knows, after the next production, someone really will snap up a play and it will indeed head straight for a mainstage performance somewhere.
But in the meantime, I am going ahead with the project. I will publish a collection of 4 or 5 of my plays. Just need to find out how to do it.