Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Before we were officially open for business, in the not too distant past, I distinctly remember the day when Adrian and I sat together to brainstorm how to launch ourselves as publishers on the world. We figured that one of our main tasks was to try to come up with a way to let the writing community know that we existed. If they came to us with their blood-, sweat-, and tear-stained manuscripts then we could publish said manuscripts and then we'd be officially in business. Simple. Yes?
Two years ago, shortly after this conversation took place, we attended the Morecombe and Vice Crime Festival, our first public outing into the world of crime as publishers. We weren't yet official but we went along with a dream. We also had a logo and a list of things we needed to do in order to become official (incidentally, I still have that list somewhere - written in a cafe in the peak district). Before we went to Morecombe and Vice we got some business cards and leaflets printed. We felt awfully grown up doing this. The purpose of the business cards is obvious, the leaflet was to be our call for submissions. We went to the festival with high hopes. Incidentally, we did get one submission from that weekend (from someone who is now a successfully published author - not with us, more fool us - and also now a friend). That one submission was all we needed to give us a purpose and make us official.
Then, of course, history took an interesting turn as many reading this will know, when Robert Daws approached us. We will be forever grateful for his faith in us. Thereafter, as we started work on the Rock series, we needn't have worried about finding writers. Our social media profile and news of the Daws-Hobeck collaboration spread, and we began to receive a steady flow of submissions, from some incredibly talented people (and some not-there-yets too of course). Adrian and I regularly pinch ourselves at the quality of writing we have in our stable - yes, Hobeck team, I mean you. You are all bloody brilliant!
Over the past eighteen months, as well as taking on those now in the Hobeck team, we have also had to turn down some very talented writers. Sometimes it has been a case of the right manuscript, wrong time or wrong manuscript, right time. Some of those people have later emailed to inform me that they have found homes for their books and others have gone the solo route, with success. Some have also gone away, worked hard to improve their craft, and returned to us. I admire that. A few months after we properly got going as Hobeck, we got to a point when we had to shut the door. We didn't like doing that but we had to.
However, a few weeks ago Adrian and I decided to open our doors again, for one month only. We figure that we have room for a couple more authors and we are at a stage with our existing authors when we have capacity to work on a couple of new projects. So we wanted to see what happened if we flung those doors open again. What has so far happened is - at least as I type this on 3 September - we have had a lot of emails. Already I have had to start a spreadsheet to keep track of the September submissions.
When I opened the Hobeck inbox on the morning of 1 September, I felt a little like Graham Chapman in the iconic scene from The Life of Brian when he flings open the window, totally starkers, to see a world of faces and he's utterly baffled and humbled by the sheer weight of it all. Adrian and I are always amazed and flattered that there are people out there who want to have the Hobeck cat on their spines. It does feel very humbling.
I only wish we could publish everyone. It is always hard to have to pick and choose. We tend to react on gut feeling when reading submissions. So I'd better make sure my digestive system is in good working order on the day we take our September submissions to a cafe to read. Adrian and I read independently of each other, and thus far we haven't yet disagreed on the yesses, the not quites, and the unfortunately nos. Our guts are in sync.
I'd better stop blogging now, I have submissions to read. Before I go, I just want to wish good luck to all those who have submitted to us so far over the last three days, and to those who might yet give it a try. Even if you don't end up in the Hobeck stable, I sincerely hope you will find a home for your work and I sincerely thank you all for showing an interest in us.
Every writer deserves a home, even if it can't be this one.