I love DIY. Well, actually, I hate DIY with a passion, and cannot paint a simple kitchen without mixing matt and gloss paint. But the piece of DIY that I’m currently about, I rather like.
I had a spot of bovva with my debut novel The Cat Kin, in that I wanted to bring out a sequel and Faber, my beloved publishers, didn’t. Looking at my last royalty statement I can sort of see their point – 4000 copies sold won’t buy many publishing lunches – but thankfully I’m not alone in believing this attitude a bit short-sighted. Encouraged by a variety of lovely people, I’m taking steps to ensure that the sequel Cat’s Paw is finally published independently, so my readers, few as they may be, can at least share some of the fun I had writing it.
Technically, this will not be the first appearance of Cat’s Paw. It was briefly available through the print-on-demand service Lulu, but after various recommendations from other authors I am issuing the final (promise!) published edition through Back To Front, an imprint which specialises in out-of-print children’s books. Cat’s Paw doesn’t quite fit this description, but happily they’re taking it anyway.
And I must say I’m rather enjoying the process. I’ve been able to commission the cover art myself and have been involved at every stage, from typesetting to pricing. I’ve never objected to editorial input to my writing – in fact I’ve rather missed it this time around – but I do have the dubious satisfaction of knowing that it’s all my own work.
It’s still a little frustrating that my book was the victim of a common sense failure. Many publishers now pursue a strategy of series books, since standalone novels are said not to make enough return. This is clearly what has happened with The Cat Kin, yet the sequel was turned down – in defiance of this very logic. Still, the best way to cope with a setback is with positive action, and it feels very good to know that my sequel will finally reach a few readers who would have been denied it. I wrote that cats ‘heed no words nor walls’, and I think that’s good advice right now.
Anyway, The Cat Kin: Cat’s Paw should be up and running, with luck, in the next few weeks. I don’t expect to make a noticeable income from publishing this way, nor do I expect many actual bookshops to stock it (though Amazon will) – but at least I will be laying to rest a mortal fear: that I was to remain a one-book author. Now I must get back to laying to rest my new mortal fear: being a two-book author.