Rocky Road to Publication
“…I feel there is a dangerous narrowing in the world of publishing and literature at present. And the range of allowable opinion and narrative has become actually quite restricted — even as we are told we live in a culture of increasingly open choices... The fact that A.J. has not just conceived and imagined so completely this wonderful narrative, but has in every sense produced it himself, is a wonderful challenge to that narrowing..."
— Prof. Declan Kiberd
(at the launch of the self-published edition of Tommy Storm)
In a Galaxy, Long, Long Ago...
AJ Healy wrote Tommy Storm in early 2002, but publishers turned downed the book for the next four years with a variety of comments:
"Kids would never 'get' this story - it's too difficult for their little minds."
"This book might eat into sales of our other books."
"It's not the right timing."
"This book will never sell."
"A book for kids AND adults??"
"How come I get paid so much?"
"In a choice between a good book with an unknown author, and a mediocre book with a 'celebrity' as the 'author', we prefer to go for the 'celebrity'."
In the meantime,
many readers of
and not involved in the publishing business
– seemed to love
the book and didn't seem to mind too much that AJ wasn't flaunting a new
facelift plus a sixth wife in the latest celebrity magazine.
They just liked the story.
Just Don't Do It
And so, in 2006, after yet another person said: "Why on Earth don't you get this book published?", AJ decided to self-publish Tommy Storm.
"There is no way you can publish a work of fiction and make a success of it." So said the publishing experts – and the more those in the know tried to tell AJ he was a fool, the more it fuelled his determination (and stubborness).
AJ spent under €10,000 (less than £7,000) to design, produce, market and distribute 5,000 books* (plus take out trademarks on the Tommy Storm name). In the end, c.3,000 copies were sold (in bookshops across Ireland) before Tommy Storm was picked up by a UK publisher - Quercus.
* All books
were laminated with spot-UV varnish i.e. produced to top standards.
Click here to see an image of the original book.
(c) 2006 AJ Healy