Sunday, March 16, 2008

Playing Football Fiction

I'm looking for a publisher.
Seriously, I am. My masters is finished. I wrote a book for it. A novel about football. Well actually it's about 3f's. Football, fightin' and the things people do to each other when they love each other very much (and sometimes when they don't). It's about a lot more than that obviously, but it keeps things simple if anybody ever asks me.

It was shortlisted for the 2007 Queensland Premier's Literary Award Emerging Author category. Let me tell you, it's easier writing that down than it is telling people. Some astute judges really liked it and some very smart MA examiners did as well, so it's definitely got something going for it.

It's about a Scottish lad struggling in Australia - a subject close to my heart. It's about cultural bridges, or the lack of them, and how easy it is for immigrants to become entrenched in their own culture when they're living somewhere else.

For Scots in Australia, so far away from home, the view of the auld country can take on a purple heathered state of mind. The back-at-home ideology never leaves any of us, but in the hearts and houses of a stubborn few, it can become exaggerated. Scotland starts to look like it does on the top of a shortbread tin. A wee scottie dog wearing a tartan jacket at the feet of a piper wearing a serious pair of puffy cheeks in front of a castle, one of the famous ones, by the water on a warm summer's evening.

All that's missing is the malt.

Hey, I get like that sometimes myself. I hanker for a good fish supper, the patter and the pub. I'm in the process of buying a kilt as I write this. So I'm not saying I've moved on, but I've settled in. I don't think I'll ever stop wondering what it was that made it so hard though. I like the sun and the warmth and the beach and being able to take the bairns to the park without a raincoat or their wellies or lighting a fire when we get in. But like the one on the tin, I feel like there's something missing from the picture.

Hey, the book's not autobiographical by any means, all I'm saying is, I'm intimately familiar with the territory.

Some Tartan Hyde, was the original title, but it'll be The Simplest Game from here.

Like I say, I'm up for it. I'm actively looking for the pass into space, a publisher willing to pursue a unique perspective on football fiction and put it into print... so if ye know any body that might be interested...


Paula Weston said...

Now, let's not turn this into a lovefest, but I feel I have to throw in a supporting comment here, having read The Simplest Game.

I really enjoyed the book on a number of levels and for a number of reasons. Naturally, it helps when you know an author, and reading their work gives you a greater insight into the way their brain works. But Poker, you're novel was so much more than that.

As I've said before, your novel has one of the strongest narrative voices I've read for a long time. It made the read so much more engaging.

I also liked the way it made me thing about what it means to be Australian, and what it means to call Australia home when you've started life somewhere else.

(Oh, and I learned a thing or two about that game with black and white ball.)

I have no doubt this novel (and many others to follow) will find a publishing home. And when it does, not only do I want to be in charge of the publicity campaign, I also want a signed copy!

Salty Letters said...

I'll say a little prayer for you...( and for the publisher ;) )

Keep up the faith!

the ink-stained toe-poker said...

Thanks Westie. I'll give ye the $50 next time I see ye. No seriously. Thank you for the kind words and your help. I don't know about a signed copy though, I kinda figured that outside of immediate family you'd probably be the only other person who might actually buy it. If I give you a copy I'd lose my only sale.
I'm really pleased you enjoyed the book and got so much out of it.
At least now we can talk about proper football.
Thanks again for the support.

Salty thanks for the divine inspiration, I need all the help I can get. I loved your blog about the sand castles. It's a lesson that's easy learn but enigmatically easy to forget too. It's nice to be reminded of the simple things in life.
Thank you.

Ria said...

Have you tried self publishing like Matthew O'Reilly originally did and snowballed from there?
What about online publishers? I would love to read your book? Have you got it downloadable somewhere with a paypal account setup?
I will also email you a friends name, she has her own small editing and publishing business. She might have some good advice for you, not sure if she publishes blokes football novels, but it is worth a shot!
Good luck!

Eamonn said...

self-publishing..don't go there not until you've had a load of publishing house rejections.

Start with Harper Collins, if you really think the book has what it takes, and if it was in for an award why not.

In fact I'd send it to six of the biggest publishing houses, go into the bookshops and see who have published broadly similar books.

What have you got to lose. A wee note saying "No," that ain't gonna hurt, not really is it.

Your'e a Scot afterall:)

the ink-stained toe-poker said...

I'm looking at sending it to publishers in the next couple of weeks. So your comments are timely.

Yeah - I'm not keen on self publishing. Apparently publishers aren't keen on it either. It means there are copies out there they don't have control over.

Like you pointed out yourself a wee 'no' is the worst that can happen. I'm just doing some editing on it and then I'll send it to anybody I think might be interested.
Thanks for the advice.