Thursday, June 09, 2005

What I'd really like to write - really?

I wrote a week back thus:

"I'd be even happy to write for a publisher like West-kirjat who made four large-sized paperbacks with ugly covers in the mid-sixties."

Here's one of the books West-kirjat published. It's by one Ylpö Salonen and it's called "Hekumat kirot/The Curses of Lust". Yes, it's ugly and the book has been reported to be pretty bad. And it's actually a reprint. Ylpö Salonen is a pseudonym, but no one knows who it really was. Except the guys at West-kirjat - whoever they were. The first edition came from Kustannusliike Kaleva in 1932, and I think that was as small as West-kirjat. At the time it was called "Suvun kirous/The Family Curse".

But hey, whoever Ylpö Salonen was, he got some money out of this (unless the book was pirated). The same with Kaarlo Nuorvala, the hacker extraordinaire. He got a reprint from his mildly erotic South Sea novel "Etelän rakastava tytär/The Loving Daughter of the South" that had earlier been published by E. Viljanteen kirjakauppa (the book shop of E. Viljanne, whoever he was) in 1946. It was published as by Alex d'Ornot (catchy pseudonym there, huh?). (I'll put the cover of that book here in the near future. It's just as great as "The Curse of Lust".)

It's intriguing to think what kind of world was out there when these things happened. Couldn't happen nowadays - unless in the just as confusing world of POD publishers and vanity presses. There are dozens and dozens of authors who published a book or two in the seventies or eighties and dropped out. Now they can have their early work reprinted or even new ones. Finland has some professional authors who have had books published by vanity presses - Harri Raitis and Boris Hurtta, for example. (Hurtta's publishing career (check it here) reminds me of those bygone days of West-kirjat and other entrepreneurs.)

But for some reason I'd be more happy with West-kirjat and E. Viljanteen kirjakauppa, cheapo houses they may have been. Maybe it's because you can't live by writing for vanity presses. There are of course exceptions, but no POD books have been bestsellers in Finland, as some seem to have been in the US. But maybe future will prove me wrong. We'll see.

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