Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My favourite 'Bushism' has the remarkable GW saying, "The trouble with the French is that they have no word for entrepreneur."
That fostered a long-running family joke; eg 'The trouble with the French is they have no word for menu / restaurant / bon mot' etc.
Last night I tried the word out in its English context, joining session one of ten of an entrepreneurs' workshop here at Plymouth University. I walked into an eager room of 24 people keen on starting up a business, and noted I was twenty plus years older than most of them. I guess I'll never learn when to stop starting over.
The big idea? I know of too many wonderful books that are too edgy to get through the commercial publishing system. Times myself a book has found favour with editors and managing directors even, only for some marketing director to spike it, corporate culture having a stranglehold on 'raw' talent in that edgy sense of 'raw'. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, D.H.Lawrence, so much of our canon came into being because some spunky little independent dared get behind them. So I aim to set up a publishing house to bring great yet edgy books through to readers, using the best of viral marketing, new publishing techniques etc.
First, I realize, I need to establish my own 'elevator pitch', my one-minute sales job when I've trapped someone in a lift (last night's session was on networking skills). Then on to marketing next week, led by a guy who spins the perfume elements of washing powders. Walking home I thought, 'Why bother? You've got your writing career and teaching career, who needs another one?'
Then I thought of the writers with great books who can't get them out, and who wilt through lack of validation. I thought of the readers (me included) who thrill to the margins of life conjured through great writing, who know life comes in more vibrant ways than is usually packaged for us, but struggle to find those books in the regular imprints. I do know we need this publishing house of mine.
SO I'll be back at my entrepreneurs' course next Tuesday night, and see if 2008 can be the year in which this long-held dream takes shape. More anon.


Anonymous Adrian McEwen said...

Good luck with it all. This entrepreneur lark isn't always the easiest of things, but I'm told it's worth it :-)

2:00 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

all in its own good time, I realized! I ended up pulling back from that course, realizing I was still in that frenzied freelance mode that sees you charging at every possibility. Big breath and nothing new till after Easter, that's my latest word of advice to myself.

5:12 PM  

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