Book publishers, who needs 'em?
From: Graham Meltzer (
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 06:22:31 -0700 (PDT)
Hi all

This is a rather sad tale, so I'll spare you much of the detail.  But I'd
really appreciate any feedback anyone can offer.

Some of you will know me as that Australian researcher who comes by every
now and again asking pesky questions and taking pics. I have been
researching cohousing for 10+ years now... originally spent time in Denmark
and since 1996 have visited the US and Canada 3 or 4 times to research
cohousing communities, mostly in the West.  Initially I worked on a PhD
which was completed in 2000, and subsequently on a book which is an updating
of the PhD, adapted for a general readership.  I've worked on the book in my
spare time over the last 4 years, spending perhaps 6 - 9 full time months on
it and a grant of US$10K on the travel. It comprises roughly one third
theory, one third case studies and one third analysis.  The case studies are
all Pacific Rim - Canada, US, NZ, Australia and Japan. I've had numerous
people read drafts and the feedback has been very favourable.  The cohousing
communities included as case studies have all seen the mini chapter I wrote
about them and the feedback in every case was very positive.  And they all
loved the pics (I do commercial photography as a day job).

I finished the manuscript about a year ago and set about finding a
publisher.  I've been negotiating with two, then one over the last year.
Yes folks, it's taken 12 months of negotiation to get to a point where, this
evening, I get and email from this firm (a UK publisher of sustainability
related books) suggesting that they would be happy to send me a contract IF
I'm prepared to make the following changes .... and the letter goes on for
two pages more. This is after several similar demands over the last 6 months
which I've gone along with.  But this one, I'm afraid, has broken the
camel's back.  I've basically lost trust in them and the process and have
decided to go no further with them.

I don't have the heart or the stamina to start the same process over again
with another conventional publisher.  So now I'm getting to the point.  Does
anyone have any ideas or experience or suggestions to offer that might help
me decide what to do next.  The choices are numerous.  I could self publish
... expensive.  I could turn it into PDF files and put it on my web site and
ask people who download to maybe donate something.  Of I could do that more
seriously ... ie make it downloadable for a price using PayPal.  In either
case the number of takers is probably going to be limited.  Or I could
forget the whole thing and get on with my life.  Or there might be other
options people could suggest.

Sorry to have taken up so much space, but I really think it would be a great
shame and loss for the cohousing movement if this just dies at this point.

Best wishes
Graham Meltzer

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