Catch Up : Sam Smith

“Catch Up” is a series of posts in which I discover what the writers I previously interviewed have been up to.

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Catch-up – 4th May 2021

When Paul Brookes interviewed me in 2018 it must have been just before or just after the Carmarthen Book Fair, where I met David Norrington. I actually bumped into him in the town car park, where he was panicking over not having change for the parking meter and needing to get along to the book fair and get set up. I leant him change enough for the meter, told him to pay me back later as I would also be at the fair. (Over the years, going to book fairs and the like, I’ve learnt that there is more friendly cooperation between  publishers, especially us indies, than competition. We tell one another of printers that might suit, pass on tips re websites, venues, etc.)

Later that day David sought me out at The Journal stall, repaid me, and looked over my display, which had some of my own books as well as Original Plus publications. He didn’t seem so much interested in my recent novels and collections as in those few out of print titles that I had looking for a buyer. He also asked what I was working on and talked of his own press, Wordcatcher Publishing, and what he was hoping to achieve with it. There were two of my out of print titles that he seemed particularly interested in – a Boho copy of Problems and Polemics and the SF series, the unMaking of Heaven.

When I got home I sent David the MS of my latest SF novel, Once Were Window Once Were Doors and of my eco-novel, Trees. A week or so later there began an exchange of emails which culminated in me taking along, as requested, copies of various out of print titles to David’s garden office. David explained how he was endeavouring to build up Wordcatcher’s backlist and that he wanted to put out new editions of some of my titles.

I have met up with many enthusiasts in publishing, not all of them able to deliver on their promises, along with more than a few wanting to make money out of me rather than with/for me. David though was running no vanity press, all would be standard royalty contracts. No advance, but I didn’t expect one. A few weeks later three books arrived, Problems and Polemics, Rooms and Something’s Wrong. All with brand new glossy covers.And it didn’t stop there. I turned up at a Cardiff hotel for a meeting of Wordcatcher authors to find David unpacking two more of my titles, The Secret Report of Friar Otto and The Care Vortex.

I had not anticipated anything like this happening to me. And it carried on all through 2019, when David brought out all five books – Balant, Happiness, You Human, Not Now and (renamed) The Eternals – of the unMaking of Heaven SF series. The covers for them, of his own design, were exceptional.

How quickly we adapt to new circumstances. Because, although gratified by all these new editions, I was impatient to see my eco-novel, Trees, in print. David though wasn’t confident what genre Trees  should be in, and didn’t seem to understand my urgency. So I found myself quietly pushing for it to be published. On 4th March 2020 Trees finally made it into print. Guess what happened next?

Before I could arrange a proper launch for Trees we were in lockdown. And that’s been it more or less since. I’ve entered my mini-collection of Mock Sonnets & Other Lives for a couple of US competitions. Unsuccessfully. I thought of seeking publication through competitions would guarantee some publicity. But one has to win for that.

As the lockdown wore on and Wordcatcher was forced into abeyance I put aside book promotion and concentrated on each of The Journal issues and on my new detective series. I now have almost 3 novellas under the umbrella of Disclosures. Their titles are The Bride Vetter, Donny’s Puzzles and A Woman Wronged. Still unsure how best to publish them – as one book or 3 separate novellas. Now that Wordcatcher is slowly coming back to life I’m waiting to see what happens next there. David always has plans. How will my books figure in them? Once Were Windows Once Were Doors still languishes in his slush pile.

Here is the link to my 2018 interview with Sam Smith: Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Sam Smith | The Wombwell Rainbow

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