While some publishers refrain from reading anything in the slush pile (with understandable justification) and it’s safe to say that vanity presses remain for the most part a successful mechanism to gouge unpublishable authors, this Telegraph article imputes a potential “gold mine” within these flashless fens.
Consider the unlikely success of medical professor David Alric. Alric wrote a children’s novel called The Promised One and his tale of a schoolgirl who can talk to animals couldn’t find a publisher for his fiction — despite having authored several books on medicine. Alric paid out £10,000 to a vanity press and has managed to sell 80-100 books every Saturday at his local bookstore. He ordered a second run and he keeps the spare copies in his garage.
Alric’s success had no marketing behind it. There are no reputable reviews that appear to be available online. Nor does Alric have a website. There would seem to be little going for Alric but word of mouth.
But the real question here is whether this is a case of publishers being out of touch with the public or, if Alric’s book is a shaggy dog and if the peanut gallery here is ready to leap atop the elitist parpaet, the public perhaps having a paucity of literary taste. Either way, Alric’s success clearly indicates that the chasm between authors, publishers, and reading audience remains wide and needs to be bridged. And it’s enough for this showtunes-loving heterosexual to start singing “Matchmaker” and perhaps start a new publishing house styled “Chava & Hodel.”
© 2005, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.