Friday, 13 May 2011


One thing we cannot tolerate in a prospective BB author’s manuscript is Deus ex Machina – that magical intrusion on a hopelessly inept plot when the day is miraculously saved by unlikely divine intervention on the desperate hero’s side, like a winning lottery ticket picked up from the gutter by a down-and-out on his way to chuck himself off a bridge somewhere in the closing chapter.

But we can handle DXM with a hearty smile and a yo-ho-ho (even a bottle of rum) when our magical Mr Fix-it comes in the shape of a qualified and experienced editor in the very nick of time … even if we did have to kidnap him from lazy semi-retirement, messing around on the river in his beloved boat.

So, ladies and gentlemen, pipe aboard the new member of the BeWrite Books editorial team, ‘Captain’ Ian Morrison; a man of impressive qualification, experience, patience, passion for the word, ink in his veins, a few well-spent years under his belt … and who enthusiastically surrendered to the BeWrite Books’ Jolly Roger when we hove alongside and press-ganged him into service.

With things moving as quickly as they have at BB over the past year, we’re deep in the … er … well … the sheets. And we have been in urgent need of a hardy hand on the editorial crew to help keep us afloat and  navigate the Good Ship BB to avoid running aground on a slushpile. And Ian’s been ‘impressed’ … both in naval terms and in what he’s seen of our work to do just that.

That’s why you’ve seen his address included in some emails over the past few months.  He's been keeping a weather eye and sniffing the breeze. Hardy old tar that he is, he’s still in process of learning the BeWrite ropes as midshipman but will soon become a free-booter like Hugh McCracken, Sam Smith and wot I am: at the helm of his own ship and forging one-on-one relationships with his author shipmates and land-lubbing readers. Broadsiding the big boys.

With Ian’s expert help, we’ll swab the decks of our editorial backlog more quickly and steam ahead so that we can release even more expertly prepared BB releases from here in.

By semaphore messages tonight, I discovered that Ian is five months younger than I am, has even less hair (but is a tad taller), lives in a beautiful UK city and is surrounded by family and friends (he probably thinks of them as ‘crew’).

His father gave him a taste for the salty print industry as a linotype operator in Manchester, England, when Manchester was the biggest print centre in the world, followed by Moscow and with Fleet Street coming in third.

But Dad – sensibly – saw journalism as a mad move toward the boozy dark side (pirates in suits and on expenses) and Ian had to content himself with writing his heart out in short stories and, eventually, becoming a printer himself.

“Looking back,” Ian said, “I can now say they were happy days with friendly people. I remember them saying that, once I was twenty-one, I would be able to work ‘on the papers'. Maybe tying up bundles of newspapers or sweeping used lead from the floor. But writing was my goal.

“I spent time on day release at Salford College learning about the different types of printing presses, methods, paper-sizes, how to estimate the cost of producing the finished article. Then I moved on to a printing company in Bredbury, Stockport."

But with ink now running black in his veins, Ian never forsook his first love – reading and writing – and he turned to editing.

So when Manchester closed down – just about the same time as Fleet Street became a mere address in London EC4 – Ian gained diplomas in editing and realised his dream of partnering with wordsmiths who needed a helping hand to turn the good into the sparkling.

His track record is a sound log of success.

Now, with ‘Captain’ Ian's chest in the cabin, BeWrite Books has all hands on deck … and we’re – as always – ahead of the fleet.

Please drop Ian a welcome note if you have a moment. And – if you’re a BB author or BB author-in-waiting – rest assured that he’ll be around to help make the voyage from idea to realisation plain sailing.

Welcome aboard the jolly Good Ship BB, Ian. It's where we're all in the same boat and where there's always another horizon to steer toward.

Best wishes. Neil (Rear Admiral)

1 comment:

  1. A hearty welcome, Ian - having done the odd editing spree in my 25-year career, I almost feel I know you already. I have two novels with BB, and a husband who sails: a strange mix, but not one that would baffle you. An islander and a landlubber myself, I am currently trying to get my protagonists from falling off a freighter on the way to Antwerp. Hope you're interested, because it might very well land on your desk one day. Neil has piped you on board with his usual zest, I'm happy to see.