After an exciting writing process and extensive editing by Agnes Mika and Annette Kruisbrink, the book Feast on Six Strings, Five Years or Guitar Festival Nordhorn was finally ready for production.
I found a Printing on Demand company in Pumbo that offered a lot of service: assistance with layout, various formats, you can have a book made individually and an on-line ordering service. I decided to park the book there.
First a test print, I chose A4 because I was used to that. That went fine, but the book became quite large, not a pocket that you can easily read. That’s why I went back to A5. Great size! The test print looked nice.
I wanted to register the book on the order site. An ISBN was requested there. Obviously, I didn’t have that, then you have to register at the Central Bookhouse. And that cost money.
“Do it!” Said my love Erna, “then it is completely finished and it also officially exists!”
So to speak, done in no time. However, it turned out that you need a publisher prefix, with which you can initially request 10 ISBNs. In short, I had to start a publishing company!
Well, that’s what I did and that’s how Mark’s Publishing House was created!
After a few weeks I received my prefix and my ISBN. Of course, I had to adjust my book again, but yes, Pumbo is patient. I was proud of the result, including bar code for my ISBN.
The first edition was 40 books and a few were ordered online. With the sale it unfortunately did not go as smoothly, but well, maybe I have lost them for the next lustrum of the Guitar Festival Nordhorn.
I still have nine ISBNs that I can use for a number of new publications under my own management. One of them is the so-called Nicci French project, a co-production by co-writer Corine Binnekamp and myself. But we first have to do some work there!
Nicci French Project
Writers are often loners, people who come up with worlds in their own isolation cell, for example to escape their loneliness or to bring their own message. At least that’s how I started. In the safe cocoon of a diary that I hid well from looks other than mine, I hesitantly described how I experienced the world at the time in uneasy words. Ever-expanding sentences outlined a still-disputed truth. In writing, apparent fiction sometimes hides what your daylight cannot tolerate.
That was the start. A safe haven without an exit to the sea, the metaphor for readers. With a clear appetite for the magical realism of how I wanted to be, but still couldn’t get.
It is of course not hip, an adolescent who writes diaries, that is nothing for a boy, who must be sporty and chase after the girls. Deep thoughts behind a desk are not part of that. So I didn’t write to be read. To compensate for that, I drew comics in my diary and sometimes on request from others. Small ones, you know, four five pictures at the most. The highlight is a publication in the yearbook. That was the very first time.
In such a cocoon you do not allow anyone, and certainly not those for whom (and why) you actually write. Let alone someone who could change something about that world. Two or more writers on a single sheet, that was impossible. If you are god in the depths of your thoughts, you cannot use a pantheon. Let alone competition.
Can you, as writers, work together? In literature you hear little about writing together. Are there no writer’s collaborations? Yes indeed (the Internet is my friend in the investigation). You often encounter them in the thriller genre in particular. A well-known example is Nicci French (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), a pseudonym behind two writers. We also know Sjöwall & Wahlöö, Lars Kepler (Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho) and indeed the Dutch couple Escober (Berry and Esther Verhoef) as writing duos.
It is striking that in a reasonable number of examples writing and living together go together, even though the writing pad does not have to be in the same room. Which does not mean that you, as writers, must have an intimate relationship, although writing together is an intimacy in itself. It is striking that the thriller genre apparently lends itself well to writing together. If you have to, you can kill each other’s main characters on paper.
The subject of this post: A Nicci French Project, an attempt to write together. I read few thrillers, the designation is not mine. Corine started with that at a given moment. Perhaps I should go and read a Nicci French to see if that characteristic is correct.
To be continued as soon we both have back our writing fun and eliminated some major hindrances for cooperation.