Born to be a Publisher

I’ve said it on the website, I’ve said it on e-mail, and now I say it again: We, that is Peirene, her German author Delius und I were quoted in the webite-home-024-smallBookseller! Yep The Bookseller. Malcom Burgess from Oxygen wrote a two page article on German literature in translation – and we are in it!

But that’s not all! Oh no! We are indeed en route to stardom.

Yesterday I received an email from a big on-line lit magazine in the US. They are planning an article on Peirene Press as part of their Frankfurt series and would I mind answering some question. Simple, straight forward questions, such as What made you set up Peirene? How are you plans coming along? What editorial guidelines do you use? I was of course delighted and immediately set down to answer in great detail. In fact I told a whole little story about how last year we had enough money to buy a car or convert the attic or install a fitted kitchen. Instead we decided to set up a publishing house. I was about to push the send button. Then I hesitated, something was not quite right with my answers. I just didn’t know what. So I rang up my business advisor ( formerly “husband” but I am no longer allowed to mention The Husband, see below)  and read questions and answers out to him. He stopped me after my little story.

“That sounds awful.”

“Why?”Always good to go straight into the defense. “It’s quite funny and well written.”

“True. But it sounds as if you only set up the publishing house because you had some money. What you need to get across, however, is that you would have set up Peirene regardless, even if you had to take out a loan. Because you have things to offer, that’s why you set it up. You really need to sharpen your act up, woman. You need to tell the world that you were born to be a publisher and don’t mention husbands and kitchens!”

“Oh really? Born to be a publisher? Such rubbish. No one ever was born to be anything. And let me tell you something, mate, if you were truly walking around telling your clients that you were merely born to be with them– you’d be out of a job tomorrow. Because no one wants such spineless creature. So you really are advising me here on something you yourself don’t practice. Thanks so bloody much!

End of conversation. I slammed down the phone, got up, made myself a cup of coffee, sat down again, stared at my little story. Of course I knew this business advisor was right. That’s why I called him in the first place. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I also knew why I couldn’t put my finger on it because I literally tend to forget that I have things to offer and that I honestly believe that these things are worth while and – after all I am intending to run a business – could make some money with it.

I rewrote the answer. Much more to the point. I did however stop short of  writing I-was-born-to-be-a-publisher. I leave that to the business advisor. And we’ll see who will bring the bread on the table in old age.

PS  As soon as the article appears I will point it out. You won’t miss it, I promise!

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