On the home stretch …

The last script has come back from our hard-working proof-reader and been forwarded to the writer; to judge from the time stamp, 01.42, it was sent in the middle of the night my time – and since our proof-reader is at least on the same continent as us rather than on the far side of the world this means she was working very late.  I’m mentioning this so that everybody will know how much we appreciate her efforts – although we have also, of course, said that to her.

I had a bit of a shock the other day; Penelope Friday, who interviewed me a few weeks ago, asked for a picture to go with the interview.  Scary stuff – I have been known to crack the lens glass of cameras at 100 paces.  Fortunately, however, it transpired that a copy of the Press logo would do instead, and so I sent her one.  Narrow escape there, world!

Someone asked me this morning if I would be posting links to whatever reviews we receive and the answer is yes, of course.  Links will appear here in the first instance and will later be added to the website, although I will also make sure that the author is aware of them.  In addition I have promised one of our authors that for the first three months, until the first royalty statements are sent out, I will be posting weekly sales figures here on the LJ.

Administration-wise, the only remaining chore is to send off the relevant ISBN paperwork on ‘Aloes,’, Sea Change’ and ‘End of the Trail’ – which can’t be completed until I have a definitive page-count on ‘Sea Change’.  Then I get to work out how the heck to send deposit copies to the British Library.

Meanwhile, we’ve had another very interesting submission for the November list which is currently with our in-house reader, so it looks as if our continuing existence is guaranteed.  Not bad for a project that started life as an idle remark over a cafe lunch about a year ago, eh?

The online shop software has been defeated at last!

I have just succeeded in wrestling it to the ground and giving it the thrashing it so richly deserved!  We really are in the final stages of preparation for launching now; one script to come back from the proof-reader, two e-book files to be generated from it, and then the website and the online shop can be uploaded and in one week’s time MANIFOLD PRESS will be open for business.

I am having a lot of difficulty deciding whether that’s the tough part of the exercise more or less over, or whether the tough part is still to come.  It’s no good going to a huge amount of time and trouble to produce something if, in the end, people don’t show any interest in buying it.  That, of course, is the big unknown; watch this space.

Setting up the online shop …

… is a seriously freaky business.  You have to go through a whole list of countries to decide where you want your products to be available and where you are willing to accept PayPal payments from.  One at a time.  It involves making all sorts of decisions about places like Azerbaijan and the Heard Islands, and when you find you’re clicking Hong Kong, Hungary and Ireland all in one go it starts to get pretty surreal.  Will we ever have sales in Hong Kong, Hungary or Ireland, I ask myself?  But then, if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s that the target audience is wider and infinitely more diverse than my poor imagination can possibly comprehend, and that the world is getting smaller every day.  So what about Barbuda and Burkina Faso, then?  This is the kind of dilemma I thought I’d never, ever encounter.

Tomorrow, the world!

Ticked off …

… the last little complication with the .epub files.  It turns out .rtf doesn’t like footnotes (who knew?) and since the conversion software starts with .rtf files, the footnotes in ‘Dear Mister President’ were gumming up the works.  Don’t panic, it’s not an academic treatise, but when you quote lines of poetry you pretty well have to attribute them somehow.  So when it’s a .pdf it can have footnotes, but when it’s an .epub it needs to have endnotes.  Learning curve, right?

Another leap forward

We seem to have cracked the ‘second e-book format’ problem and will now be offering all our titles in a choice of .pdf or .epub files.  We have three titles completed and locked down in .pdf format, with the fourth still with the proofreader; in addition there is now one completed .epub file and the rest will follow quickly – we hope!  That just leaves the online shop software to set up, which shouldn’t be too much of a trial.  (Famous last words?)

Meanwhile a couple of our titles are already going out for review.  This is a complex process as reviewers have very specific requirements, but we’ll do our best to navigate a way through these alarming waters.  A couple of good reviews could do wonders for initial sales, and we hope thereafter to be able to rely on establishing a reputation for quality.  But this, of course, is the big unknown; how will the e-book buyers of the world react to what we have to offer?

Tune in next week.  Or, rather, the week after next.  We’re fifteen days out from launching now.

Progress report

Well, our third title has just come back from our hard-working proof-reader/editor and been forwarded to the author, and the last one has been sent off for proof-reading.  Unfortunately it’s the longest of the four and time is running short, but we have every confidence of being ready to launch on time.

We are still wrestling with the new software for e-book creation, which will give us our alternate formats, but that’s starting to behave itself at last, and we have the online shop to set up – although we don’t expect that to be too much of a hassle.  (Famous last words?)

At the same time, two very interesting proposals have come in for titles for the November list.  If they both work out as well as we hope, that might be our list filled already.  A bit too early to say yet, however, so if anyone is dithering over whether or not to submit work we would still urge them to go ahead and get in touch – there is nothing to lose, after all!

And so the countdown begins in earnest; only 19 days to go.  Wonder if it’s too late to run away and hide out in South America?  No, I don’t think I can afford the ticket – so if anybody wants me, I’ll probably be under the bed … shaking …

James Anson

Somebody – and I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was – asked a short while ago if there was any chance that we might be able to acquire the e-book rights to James Anson’s ‘Larton Chronicles’.  Knowing that it had been quite a long time since James entered into the present contract for ‘Larton’ we thought it worth enquiring in case the e-book rights had not been part of the original arrangement, but we have had a reply today confirming that all the rights on ‘Larton’ are tied up with the present publisher and James is not looking to make any kind of change at the moment.  It was certainly worth making the enquiry, but having no desire whatever to intrude on James’s professional relationship with the publisher we’re content to leave it at that.  But ‘thank you’ to the person who made the suggestion; it was a very good idea and we definitely appreciate the thought!

The website goes live!!!

It’s been a struggle – unfamiliar software, steep learning curve, yadda yadda, you’ve heard it all before – but at last we have succeeded in uploading the new Manifold Press website, which is now available at:


You’ll find details there of our first four titles, and our PROSPECTUS FOR AUTHORS is also available on a link from the main page.  If there’s anything else you need to know we’ll be here as usual, keeping you up to date on our progress towards the launch on 1 May, and you can always contact us on one or other of our shiny new dedicated e-mail addresses (see website for details).  However we’re expecting things to be fairly quiet now for a few weeks as we only have a few small matters to sort out – although at the same time we are going to start spreading the word as far and as fast as we can.

Meanwhile we are also, of course, turning our attention to selecting four new titles to bring you in November.  Several are under consideration but only one is definite so far – ‘The Definitive Albert J Sterne’ by Julie Bozza.  There will be more information about this later in the year, but for now all we’ll say is that we think you’ll find it a good, long, and very satisfying read!

Time for a rest now; this has been a stressful week.  We’ll be back when we have more to report.

A big step

Our ISBNs have just arrived by e-mail; we are now (or will be, by the time we launch) on the publishing map!  This means our first .pdf can be finalised and locked and even sent out for review – hooray!  Our hard-working proof-reader has promised our second script for later today, and her reward for this endeavour will be to receive the third almost immediately.  I am also hoping to have a placeholder website up some time tomorrow, and the site itself uploaded a week later; nobody should expect anything too sophisticated, but it should be reasonably smart and functional.  We’re gradually ticking off the jobs to be done, and our technical guru is coming in tomorrow to tidy up a few last bits and pieces and answer a few more questions.  After that, it should be downhill all the way!