Newsletter no.173, May 1st, 2021

Yes, please!

Or in other words, the publishers like the story I’ve just submitted. Hurray!

This is another Bea Abbot story and involves some really nasty characters who all get their comeuppance in one form or another. The manuscript will now be going to a copy editor who will find all sorts of things to query, and pass them back to me. I will then have a tantrum and retire to bed . . . and then I will tell myself that it won’t kill me to deal with the queries, and I’ll set about dealing with them and send the changes back to my editor . . . who will then reset the manuscript and pass it on to the printer, who will then produce a set of proofs . . . which will then be sent to me for final corrections, before finally it is printed! And then distributed.

While all this is going on, we will be having a polite argument about what is to go on the cover. Now this is a minefield, as you can imagine. The publisher knows what buyers – especially in America – expect to see on the cover of a crime novel. The answer, for them, is BLACK! Me, I like colour. Nowadays my name is printed bigger than the title of the book. That, my friends, is considered to be FAME!

Now, the title of this next book is ‘FALSE FACE.’ The suggestions for the cover so far are: a portrait of a faded film star, and a Venetian-style mask. Guess which one I had in mind? Spoiler alert: Piers has been commissioned to paint a Diva who thinks of herself as an orchid. I’ll let you know which idea is put into practice.

Anyway, says she gloomily, it will be months before the finished books are sent to the distributors and some will be sent by sea across the Pond and Down Under . . . when they can then be pre-ordered and, oh dear! Doesn’t it seem to take for ever? I remember the days in which I used to send a manuscript to a publisher and the book would be on sale within six weeks! (All right, those were children’s books so much smaller and I’m writing for grown-ups nowadays.)

Yes, Please!

In the same breath as the editor accepted False Face, she also said she’d like another Ellie, please. So, before I start worrying about the title, a contract was winging its way to me. Delivery: probably ten months. Yes, I know it’s a long time and I might well be able to write it more quickly, but my eyesight is not what it was, and I may need longer to produce the story. I have managed to reproduce a plan of Ellie’s house, thank goodness. I needed to do that before I could start on the story!

Back to basics: the short story accompanying this newsletter is called ‘Corin’s Gift’ and you can access it here.

A blessing on all who are kind enough to listen to the woes of the elderly and isolated who live in our midst.

Veronica Heley