The year 2021 slips away; 2022 starts to gather pace.
We are now one year on from when I finished my period of being mentored, and finished the final version of This House.
This House is a translation into English of Sian Northey’s first novel, Yn y Tŷ Hwn, which I worked on throughout 2020. I was posting monthly on this blog during 2020, but decided to post just six-monthly updates from then on, to document my search for a publisher.
You can read my experiences with Publishers A, B, and C in my mid-2021 post, here. When I left off, I was about to pitch to Publisher D. Unlike with Publishers A and B, I did not get a polite letter of rejection. I got …
… nothing. One presumes one is rejected after a certain time has elapsed since the pitch.
The search comes closer to home
I decided to take a different approach. With Sian Northey’s help, we approached a publisher based in Wales. As Sian is a well-known figure on the literary scene in Wales, there was no need to persuade this publisher that Yn y Tŷ Hwn was ‘like’ anything. It would be aware of Sian’s work and likely readership. I was aware of the quality of its products.
Nevertheless (can you tell what’s coming?), we got a very polite and super-supportive email … of rejection.
Although Publisher F’s website says it does not intend to publish novellas (This House is novella length), I’d met a representative of this publisher at a seminar, pre-Covid-19. I wrote to this editor. They said Publisher F would be happy to consider This House. Progress!
Again, because they were already aware of Sian as an author, there was no need to sell This House as being ‘like’ anything this publisher already produces.
Publisher F told me in December 2021 that This House had cleared the first hurdle. It is now being considered by the entire editorial panel. We wait.
The joker in the pack – Publisher G
Per the well-known law of sod, while This House was being considered by Publisher F, Publisher G – a UK-wide publisher – tweeted in late November that it was opening a submission window during December. The call for submissions included literary novels and novellas.
I let both Publisher G and Publisher F know of my situation, and both said they would allow simultaneous submissions on this occasion, so I submitted to Publisher G at the end of December.
There was no time to investigate this publisher’s products ‘in the flesh’, and in any case it would seem that it is just now expanding into literary fiction – there don’t seem to be any literary fiction novels or novellas available on its website.
Once more, we wait.
The champagne is still on ice
In my last monthly post of 2020, as my year of being mentored under the Literature Wales scheme drew to a close, I wrote:
So maybe now, at the end of 2020, I can put the bubbly on ice, but not pour it for a while yet.
Well, at the end of 2021 the bubbly remains on ice, one year on from that. Will Publisher F make me an offer? Will Publisher G?
I have a few things in progress on the literary translation front. I’ve entered the John Dryden Translation Competition with an excerpt from This House. A win in this competition would raise my profile with those publishers I approach in the future. However, I won’t know whether I’ve been successful until much later in the year.
Again, to raise both my profile and Sian’s, I shall shortly be submitting my translation of a short story from Sian’s latest collection, Cylchoedd, to the Asymptote and Trafika Europe journals/websites for literary translations. If it is accepted by either or both, this will be a small lever in furthering my search for a publisher for This House.
Whatever else happens (or doesn’t) …
… I have a successful proofreading and copy-editing business. I also regularly translate children’s novels and other books, for money. I’ve recently finished the English version of Rhedeg yn Gynt na’r Cleddyfau, an adventure story set at the time of the Rebecca Riots in Wales. It’ll be out in 2022.
I’ve just started the translation of another children’s novel which will also come out in 2022, to coincide with the centenary of the Urdd Gobaith Cymru. It’s set during the Second World War, and starts with children of ‘undesirables’ being sent out of Germany on one of the last Kindertransports before war is declared. They end up with their exiled father in Aberystwyth, in Wales, but I can’t say more than that or I’d spoil the story.
My creativity comes out in other ways too. During the autumn of 2021, I’ve been doing part of an environmental art project. I shall restart this soon, when the weather improves.
Words ©Susan Walton 2022. Photo of hourglass by Paula Guerreiro; photo of letter ‘E’ by Girl with red hat; photo of letter ‘F’ by Hello I’m Nik; photo of letter ‘G’ by Scott Evans; photo of champagne by Thomas Owen – all on Unsplash. Photo of Cylchoedd cover ©Gwasg y Bwthyn 2020; photo of Rhedeg yn Gynt na’r Cleddyfau cover ©Gwasg Garreg Gwalch 2021.