There are two reactions when people know my job; I’ve started to wonder if I’m both Jekyll and Hyde, at the same time.
It is not so much that people ask me what I do, it is rather that when they hear what my job is, they make assumptions.
You see: I’m a publisher. To some that makes me one of the good guys. To others I’m evil incarnate. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in fact. Both at the same time.
Dr Jekyll, the old friend, the nice guy, the one who helps people out; I publish books teachers quite like, and indeed, if you fancy writing a book, it is possible I can bring it to the attention of teachers all over the UK.
Edward Hyde, on the other hand, evil personified; he’ll probably take your book, eat it, and then set fire to your house.
Now, to explain…. I don’t think I am suffering from dissociative identity disorder (although on the other hand, if I am, how would I know?) which was the condition that Robert Louis Stephenson was told by others he was in fact writing about.
Stephenson later said he was so appalled at the idea that he was describing an actual medical condition rather than an allegory, he burned the original Jekyll and Hyde manuscript and started again. (There’s no evidence for this, but it all adds to the book mystique; it was probably dreamed up by his publisher’s head of publicity.)
But no; when teachers send me books to consider for publication I do not burn them. Not at all. Never. Not once. Really. Not at all.
No, my colleagues and I read the outlines and if we like the outline and think we could sell a fair number of copies, we ask to see the whole book. Then if we still like it, we arrange for printing or creating an e-book. Then we advertise it a lot, all at our own expense, and then we pay the author a fee for each book sold.
Edward Hyde, had he been a publisher, would, I suspect, have killed off each of his writers. If you are worried about this you can look me up on the police database. No charges for attempted murder of authors on file.
So that’s my point: we are the good guys – the Dr Jekyll without the propensity for assassinations or personality changing potions.
And indeed as the good guys we have even published a Graphic Revision Guide for The Strange Case of Dr J and Mr H, suitable for GCSE Literature students.
I’d recommend you have a look – although preferably without first dabbling with any strange potions.
And if you fancy writing a book for us, there are details of how to go about submitting it here.