Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Polyamory, polyfidelity and non-monogamy: new approaches to multiple relationships... certainly the most cumbersome sub-title of any Five Leaves book, and the cover of Breaking the Barriers to Desire: new approaches to multiple relationships would certainly be in our top three of worst covers (so bad I'm not putting it on here). In our defence, it was published in 1995 when we were still learning about covers. And typing 1995 makes me realise that yes, Five Leaves is a year older than we normally advertise. Have to bring forward our twentieth birthday bash.
Anyway... every two or three years I wince, when polyamory and all that is back in the press again. There's been a telly programme, which I did not watch, and today Laura Penny (who else?) is in the Guardian advocating non-monogamy.
Just to be clear, polyamory is not something that the Five Leaves batallions get up to in the office when proof-reading gets all too much. We'd never publish such a book now, but several of our early books - commissioned in our pre-flight year as Mushroom Bookshop Publications - were about sexual politics. Not that we've got anything against sexual politics, or polyamory for that matter, but our areas of publication quickly changed once the link with the Bookshop had gone. The book itself, edited by Kevin Lano and Claire Parry, sold reasonably, with the still-extant American magazine Loving More buying the last 150 copies. And that was that. Except it wasn't.
Twice, late in the life of the book, the Guardian and the Sunday Mirror featured the book through no effort our our part. In both cases we got loads of phone calls (in those pre-email days), from journalists wanting copies for further features and reviews. The second time the book was featured thirteen journalists rang, including one desperate journo at The Sun who called several times. Like we would talk to The Sun. And the number of calls from the public or people wanting to order the book? In each case, next to none. The second time it was three calls and bookshops worldwide were scarcely troubled by as many people ordering the book. By then we had no copies to give out to journalists anyway.
All we could conclude from this was that journalists were (and perhaps are) REALLY interested in non-monogamy and that the public was (and perhaps is) not, other than maybe those involved in responsible polyamory who had already bought the book. We still get occasional calls, but the book is long gone and we have lost touch with the editors and contributors.

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