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My Publishing Experience

I finished my first complete novel, REM, in December 1995 and had already done quite a bit of investigation, by going through the Writers and Artists yearbook and collating a shortlist of a few publishers. I then saw an advertisement by Minerva Press asking all new authors to send in their work for assessment. The choice seemed an obvious one as I packaged up my manuscript and sent it to Minerva Press.

Minerva Press

The response was very quick, probably only about two weeks and I received a reply, and what a reply it was. I received the editorial review of my book which basically glowed in my hands. It said how well it was written, about the relationships of the characters, how good the story was, it was such a fantastic review. What really made the review was the fact that they stated it could do well if published under the Minerva Press Imprint.

Without hesitation I proceeded to step further into the deal. Then I found out that it was going to cost me money, a fair bit of money in fact - although I could pay in four instalments.

The explanation for needing to pay was obvious and logical. It merely covered the publishing costs as they were taking a risk on me as being an unknown author. It made sense and I knew nothing about the publishing industry after all, they were the experts. The risk seemed worth it, I had dreams of really making it with my first book!

To cut a very long story short. They suggest it should take between six to nine months for the book to be publishing although in fact it took eighteen months. July 1997 it was published.

Vanity Publishing

Minerva Press could claim all they like not to be a vanity publisher, although at the end of the day that is what they were.  And as much as I hate to admit it myself, I was taken in by them. This term is quite commonly used, although the exact definition is hard to pin down. Effectively Vanity Publishing is where the work is published and copies are produced for yourself and not for distribution to book shops.

Minerva Press claimed to offer the whole publishing package, although it took ages before some of the book shops could get hold of copies that people had ordered through them. So at the end of the day my book was available, although there was very little sign of any proactive marketing, all that we have seen is an unprofessional looking 'flyer' which is distributed to the book shops.

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