The view from the Galley
Here’s our most recent newsletter. It contains a few great reviews of Randall and a few other things we thought we should mention on the website:
Once more, I start this email with an announcement that Eimear McBride has won a prize. She’s just scooped the prestigious – and rather lovely - Desmond Elliott prize for debut novels. There are more details on their site, and many of them very flattering, so naturally I urge you to take a look. In the meantime, I’m sure most regular readers of this letter already know my feelings about ‘Girl’. Some probably worry that if I effuse any more, I’ll upset the balance of the universe, some terrible hole will be rent in the space time continuum and history will start going in circles. So I’ll try to hold back and just say that I’m overjoyed both for the book and for the continuing boost that the prize will give to Eimear and her career. Now, we just have to wait to see what she does next. I’m guessing it’s going to be astonishingly good.
Before I leave the prize entirely I thought I’d quote you a bit of the chairman of the judges, Chris Cleave’s speech:
“Debut fiction is the bravest, most exciting and purest form of the art, but today’s forces in book retail are lethal to new talent. Publishers are much less able to take risks on unconventional first novels, so I believe that it is now up to established authors to seek out, champion and amplify the best new voices.”
“Eimear McBride has had widespread recognition for her achievement, but she is the exception after a fight of almost a decade. We writers now have a responsibility to raise up the next generation of novelists – to be an antidote to the short-sighted venality that seeks to crush publishers and their flair for taking risks. Otherwise the McBrides of the world will go unheard and – crucially – unread. It is up to us now to make McBride’s triumph a rallying cry, and not the novel’s last stand.”
Agreed. Almost. I do have a slight caveat in that Amazon aside, most people in book retail Galley Beggar have encountered in our brief history have actually been pretty durn splendid. From the Book Hive onwards, it has been physical shops and the people who run them who have really helped ensure our books have got out there. Every time I go into – for instance – Foyles, I feel gratitude. But Cleave’s essential point is a good one. Writers should take risks and supported in that. As a publisher, this is a clarion call. We need to get behind writers. We also need to have faith in readers. Editors don’t have super powers. If a book impresses them, the chances are it will impress plenty of other people too. So we should give those readers a chance to see it. More to the point, we should give you, our readers, a chance to judge for yourselves. And a chance to share in the joy, pain, and wonder of good literature.
[That sounds a bit pious, doesn't it? Anyway, I do believe it. To temper the holiness, let me also try and use that last sentence to cynically link to my next paragraph:]
On the subject of good literature, oh yes, the reviews of Randall are coming in. I’m very conscious of my dreadful habit of filling these letters with boasting, so I’ll try to just give a precis. They’re AMAZING!
Here’s John Self.
Here’s Toby Lichtig in The Torygraph.
Here’s a videoblog from William Rycroft.
Here’s JJ Marsh on Bookmuse
Here’s someone whose name I can’t print because it will get this letter clogged in the spam filter… but whose review I’m sure you will love.
More soon. In the meantime, you can still buy signed copies of Randall from our store. But there aren’t many left. So snap them up while you can.
In fact, here’s an inducement. Randall ends with a little mystery. A few people have been getting in touch on Twitter to say that they’re confused. A few more have been getting in touch with the answer and to say how clever that Gibbs is. Since so many people are interested in the mystery, we thought it might be fun to do a giveaway to the next five people to contact us on twitter in and tell us where Randall hid the big rude painting. But shhh!!! Send us an @ message telling us you know the answer, we’ll follow you, and then you can direct message. We don’t want to spoil the fun for everyone else. Winners will receive this little beauty:
Aren’t my newsletters long? I haven’t even got to the Singles Club yet. Or our big announcement.
That’s right. Big announcement. We’ve signed some new books. One I can’t tell you about because it’s very much a work in progress – oh but what progress, and what a work. I hope to reveal more soon. One is about the downfall of Borders in the UK and is by a brilliant new talent called Megan Dunn and will make you want to cry. And laugh. Because it’s funny too. One is called the Weightless World by Anthony Trevelyan and Elly and me fell for this book so hard I worry that the author must think we’re kind of stalkers. I can’t tell you how much I love it. Love all three of them, in fact. I can’t tell you because, they don’t come out for a year, and I’ve got to wait a while before I can really start to gush. But don’t worry! The ONSLAUGHT will come soon. I’m very excited.
Right! Singles Club. This man, James Clammer, is some find. (So kudos to onetime Galley Beggar, rock star and bookseller extraordinaire Rory Hill for finding him for us.) This story is a special kind of amazing.
There is no blurb for it. It stands entirely alone. You just have to read it. Trust me. And you just have to know what a Cruellne is. And how to say it…
Finally, you may have read the recent depressing stories about author income and how ‘author income’ is, in fact an oxymoron nowadays. In case you want a quick summary, I drew a graph:
But! In spite of that, I love amazon. Oh yes. I’m on the side of Barry Eisler and all those claiming that Bezos will liberate them. I also believe that water flows up hills, cats have gentle loving personalities and global warming will be beneficial because it’s too cold some places anyway.
In fact, why don’t I just come out and say it? I love Jeff Bezos too. I could just cuddle him all day long. I’m sad now in fact, because I’m all alone in my office, without a lovely oogly Jeff beside me to squidge and pat and coo over.
Come on Jeff! Move into Galley Beggar Towers! We’ll have such a good time. We can watch old episodes of Friends, wrapped up in a blanket, in front of the fire, toasting… Hey! Jeff! What’s that you’re putting in the flames? Hey no! Stop! Jesus Christ, Bezos. That was too much.
Why did you destroy that?
That was wrong Jeff. Wrong.
It didn’t take long for that fantasy to pop.
You sick, sick, fucker. No. That’s enough. You’ve done enough. Go away Jeff. I don’t want to stroke you any more…
As usual, I’m also going to use the end of the newsletter for a few adverts, where you can safely ignore them, or kindly indulge me, depending on your fancy:
Firstly, please join The Singles Club so we can pay writers to write. Here’s the blurb:
We have a fantastic new subscription system set up for our Singles Club so that you now only have to make one payment to get hold of 12 stories. But how to go through the ins and outs of paypal payment systems without boring the dirtbox off you, I don’t know. Probably the best thing to do is to head over to the relevant page on our site, where I’ve tried to give a brief, but to the point explanation, and to take it from there. The important things to know are that:
(1) Subscribing saves you the trouble of going to the site every month to get your fix of superb ebook literature – we’ll just email you the files every month.
(2) Subscribing (so long as enough people do it) will enable us to start giving our authors money up front on for each story. Yes! We are going to pay people to write short stories. It’s like the golden days of the 1920s. Only they’ll be in electronic book format instead of Strand magazine…Anyway! You get the idea. This is a mighty fine way to keep authors doing what they do best – entertaining you.
(3) It costs £12 a year, or £1 a month, or less than a meal in Pizza Express. Unless you have a voucher.
Secondly, if like me, you love PG Wodehouse, then you’ll like and love this.
Thirdly, our website is here. It’s getting a revamp soon. It’s going to be slick.
Fourthly to donate to Galley Beggar Press and earn yet more of our gratitude, click here.