What was clear and crisp yesterday, is out-of-focus today.

I will have a bit of a rant today. It’s a pacman day: that means I have hit the wall and need to get unstuck before the ghosts get me. Pretty sure you all know the game.

I have noticed that my book is listed in an online shop of a large New Zealand bookstore chain. (Of course it is, as it is in the Nielsen database and I assume they just republish this database). However this online store shows the book as currently unavailable, which irks me, as it is not unavailable at all. To the general punter it sounds as if it were out of print. So we wrote a nice  letter to the chain with a fact sheet about the book, asking whether they would consider stocking the title as they have it in their database anyway. We even offered them to send an evaluation copy.  It didn’t take them much more than an hour to respond and say it is too specialised. Mmmhm I wonder how they came to that conclusion without engaging.  Furthermore they told us they will take it off the database. (Which is difficult, since I believe they just re- publish the Nielson database). Later on that day we got another email saying they won’t take it off the database, but just order a book from us if someone asks for it. Surprise! But nothing achieved.

This got me thinking about the whole publishing world again. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My book could be viewed as a vanity book or self-published as I am a partner in the publishing house that published it. What is a ‘real publisher’? After all I studied publishing for 3 years and set up a publishing house before, which I successfully sold. I adapted my career path when I came to New Zealand as I wasn’t confident enough with the language. I moved into writing computer books for the German market. I have been sole or co-author of around 30 books. So I wouldn’t really call myself a novice. But gee I am happy that books are not cream cakes and we don’t have to sell them by the weekend. Thankfully, they won’t perish.

Of course not much has changed in the publishing world since Gutenberg… until the Internet came along. We all know that. Generally I am very much in favour of the institution of “the publisher” to ensure quality through the editing process and vouching for well researched and well written stories. But it reminds me so much of the time when computers started to move into offices. I met a lot of 40-year-olds then who said they don’t have to learn computers, it won’t affect their work at all. Ten years later they were too young to retire, but unable to find a job without computer skills.

Enough of the ranting!

On a more positive note: I met up with a friend yesterday to discuss the puppeteer workshops and it is all looking good here. I’ve nutted out a session plan which I will fine-tune after the discussion we had. Then we will take it to the next stage and test it with a group of people. This is volunteer work and I am really curious how it will all pan out.

The biggest hurdle I face is that there is the common misconception, particularly in this country, that puppets are only for children. I have been warned! In Europe, on the other hand, there are some amazing permanent troupes with elaborate stage shows. My puppets are different, as they are not professional performers. With my workshops I want them to become confidants for the participants. I would so love to unleash their creative juices.