I have to say, sometimes even rejection can be encouraging. The next three "NO"s, between September and November 2010, all seemed legitimately, sincerely sorry not to say yes. They were all South African publishers, and they were all extremely complimentary, and they went to great pains to say how it pained them to have to say no but with the children's picture book market being what it is in SA (teeny tiny weeny winy) they tend to publish books of local interest, which The Illustrious Mr. Blimp isn't, but I should really try to find a publisher overseas, where I might have more success.

It might sound like either grandiosity or denial, but that's what I was thinking. I mean what's the point of publishing a book and selling ten copies? Sure, you get to say you're a published writer. But I'll be honest, my ambitions are to sell at least a hundred. A thousand would make me happy. And a few thousand may even get me 15 minutes of fame and $15, if not a fortune. As a friend of mine once said, "I'm an artist, but I'm also a businessman".

So I bought me a copy of The Writer's Handbook, as suggested by one of the rejectors and as recommended by JK Rowling, and I began the unexpectedly time-consuming task of going through every publisher in the UK and quite a few in Ireland, Australia and America, and asking whether they'd be interested in seeing my humble offering and, if the answer was vaguely affirmative, sending it to them.

Some are happy to receive it by email. Others are surprisingly old-fashioned and environmentally insensitive and insist on hard (paper) copies of the manuscript. I must say, though, that it is rather nice receiving a snail-mailed letter to say "we have received your manuscript and will be in touch in due course" (which generally means 3 to 6 months but can be up to a year, or never).

So the rejections that followed, I'm proud to say, come from publishers in a country where people actually read. And where the English language was invented, so to speak.

By the way, anyone know what the deal is with using pics found on the web? Can I get into all sorts of trouble? And if so, do you have any suggestions?