Inspired Quill’s Birthday

It’s publishing house Inspired Quill‘s birthday this week, and as one of their writers I was asked to contribute a post to celebrate the auspicious day. Hopefully you were able to trundle over there and see my post, but for those of you who are link challenged, here it is reproduced:

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, Inspired Quill!
Happy birthday to you!

Whilst Inspired Quill takes a little time to work up the breath to blow out the candle (hint: it’s a trick and it relights itself), I’ve been allowed to take over the blog. What I’d like to do is take you a year back in time, so let me fire up my personal time machine (what, you don’t have one of those? How odd.) and let’s set the date for 8th April 2011. Now, tuck your elbows in, read the safety information, and let’s be away!

If you would have told me here on the 8th April 2011 that in a year’s time I’d be writing a blog for Inspired Quill’s 1 year anniversary and have had my first volume of poetry published with them, then I’d have said you were mad. That’s the me that was me last April. Not the me that’s here now having travelled back in my time machine. Look, this is all getting a bit confusing, so if you’ll allow me I’d like to jettison the time machine analogy and just talk to you normally, okay? Okay. If you’d have told me that I’d have had a book published by Inspired Quill a year ago I would probably have laughed in your face. This is not because I don’t believe in my work – I do. Maybe two years before that I’d have told you it was all rubbish, but I’ve grown as a writer in that time, and I like to think I’ve got some objectivity about the quality of my work. That said, I still would have laughed in your face.

It’s not that I hadn’t thought about getting published either. I think everyone who writes, whether it’s fiction, poetry, or prose, thinks about one day getting published. For me it always seemed a long way off. I’d never submitted anything to a publishing house, and wasn’t even sure how you would go about submitting to a publishing house, let alone getting them to accept you. It all seemed daunting – you have something they might want, but they have everything that you want. They have all the power.

This is of course one of the great things about Inspired Quill – they use their power wisely. What I mean by that is that whilst they look to take on the best talent and submit the manuscripts they accept to rigorous editing where appropriate, IQ is a friendly and open publisher. I didn’t feel daunted sending in my manuscript. I felt a little anxious, of course, as anyone does when someone looks over their work, but I didn’t at any point feel put off from giving a submission a whirl. That’s a great thing when you’re an unknown voice; after all, it’s not as though new writers don’t have anything to say. Every great writer started somewhere, and I think, to a certain extent, some publishing houses have forgotten that. Where other companies are less willing to take the “risky” option of a new author because of the uncertainty of a recession economy, Inspired Quill is an open and honest publisher that remembers that even, and perhaps most especially, in a recession, people still need great things to read.

But, of course, the openness and honesty doesn’t stop at the submission process. All writers fear the wrath of the red pen – the marginal annotation that tells you that what you spent hours crafted just isn’t good enough. Of course, all writers are their own editors to a certain extent, but we do live in fear of the criticism of the professional editor. Again, with IQ, this fear was soon vanquished. Alright, with poetry there’s not always a lot to edit, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t editing at all and in some ways there’s more riding on individual poems being good – there are less words to make a good impression with for a start. But the editing process was open and honest, just as the submission process was. I think it comes from the heart of the company – Inspired Quill don’t just know what it’s like to be editors and publishers, they know what it is like to be a writer.

So, as the smoke from the trick candle finally blossoms into the air and before we start off with a round of “for he’s a jolly good fellow!”, I’d like to take a moment to say how much I am proud to be one of IQ’s authors, and how much I look forward to watching this company, and its writers with it, develop in the next 12 months. I have little doubt that whilst IQ tries to blow two trick candles out, I’ll be able to say that openness, honesty, and indelible quality are still at the company’s heart.

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