For Pity Sake Publishing

Why For Pity Sake?

By Jennifer McDonald, our CEO and Founder.

During 2017, I’ve had the privilege of launching three books – As the Lonely Fly by Sara Dowse, The Swan Island Connection by Dorothy Johnston and The Last Double Sunrise by Peter Yeldham.

Each of these authors have previously been published by larger and more established players and when I’ve fronted launch events as principal of a nascent, indie publishing outfit, I usually get asked two questions – ‘Why the name For Pity Sake?’ and ‘Why go into publishing now when the industry is so disrupted and uncertain?’

The answer to question one is easy – I blame my dad, Keith McDonald, an Australian media executive of some note who begat four lively, headstrong daughters.  He exclaimed ‘For pity sake!’ liberally on all manner of occasions while I was growing up, anything from spending too long on the telephone to crunching the gears during a driving lesson.

Keith McDonald cropDad was also a dyed-in-the-wool numbers man who started his long career in newspapers as a finance writer.  And while numbers dominated his working life, he retained an abiding love for elegant words, artfully strung together. Bedtime stories read by Dad were a fixture of my childhood as is the memory of him occupying his favourite chair in the lounge room, a pile of books and magazines on a side table, his head buried in The Economist. The way Dad peered over his spectacles at you when looking up from whatever he was reading is an image we’ve captured in our book stamp, affectionately referred to as ‘Keith’. You can read more about my wonderful father here in one of the first blogposts on, dated 26 November 2014.

The second question about starting a publishing enterprise in an industry (and a world) where disruption is now the norm is a bit harder to answer.  Truth is, I only started For Pity Sake to publish my own stuff because I’m a coward and couldn’t face the inevitable rejections from traditional publishers. Weirdly though, as soon as the shingle was hung, previously published authors of no small notoriety started crossing my path.  While the eventual publication of these worthy writers’ works has come with its fair share of commercial challenges (read more about this here), I’ve never once gotten the message from the Universe that this is the wrong thing to be doing.

As a commercial boffin of newspaper publishing, my Dad may have questioned the financial motivations behind establishing a publishing company in such uncertain times. However, I believe he would have heartily approved of the books we’ve published to date in various formats (print, ebook and audio), the authors we support, and indeed, the notion that there’s no greater joy in this world than abandoning oneself to a good read. For pity sake!

Compliments of the season from all of us here at For Pity Sake Publishing. Let’s do it all again in 2018.

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  1. Sally Smith Reply

    I loved reading about your memories of your father. Something that developed as a bit of a surprise in my own manuscript was the strong sense of childhood memory and how this affects our experiences and life decisions, sometimes without our even realising it. I also enjoyed reading your linked article about your early commercial challenges. I haven’t read the book, but found Sinek’s TED talk very thought provoking and an inspiration to find the Why in my workplace challenges. Maybe it’s time to bring that question to my personsl and writing challenges too.

  2. Sally Smith Reply

    Oops. Please forgive the typos. Can I get away with blaming my phone’s ‘keyboard’?

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