The best way to get a book publishing deal – Fast!

First of all, my apologies.

Sorry that it’s been so long since my last post on RWG. Honestly, updating the blog has always been at the front of my mind, just unfortunately at the bottom of life’s infinite To Do list as well.

But I’m back and, having given this place a bit of a dust off, will hopefully be delivering fresh writing career guidance from those that know on the semi-regular basis that you’ve come to half enjoy.

A bite-sized piece of advice to recommence with: I’ve just had the pleasure of interviewing Australian-born author Andrew Thompson, who has found success in the trivia book market. How much success? Well, his first attempt in the genre went on to sell 30,000 copies. So, about that much.

Thompson’s enviable sales figures were helped along not least by having the backing of a proper publishing outfit in John Blake Publishing, and all the marketing clout such a deal can bring.

When I asked Thompson how he managed to score a publishing contract, there was something about his answer that piqued my interest.

“I got pretty lucky at the start,” he said. “I wrote a trivia book and sent it to John Blake as I’d seen that he’d published similar books. He wrote back the next day and we signed a deal.”

Notice how Thompson considered himself lucky to have gotten a publishing deal? Don’t get me wrong, such an opportunity is always rare, let alone for a writer’s first attempt and with such a rapid, positive response. A return call with a publishing offer the next day? Most authors have to wait six months to get a copy and paste rejection letter.

But read it again and it’s clear that Thompson made his own luck: “I sent it to John Blake as I’d seen that he’d published similar books.” Thompson’s quick victory was perhaps less about luck and more the result of good research and targeting. Finding the publishers that were most likely to show interest in his niche and, in this case, nailing it first time.

The notion that a relevant, personal pitch is far more likely to grab a publisher or agent’s attention than a spray of hit-and-hope cold calls is by no means ground-breaking advice – but it’s rare to find a case study that supports it quite so well.

When you’ve finally finished slaving over your first weighty tome, of course there’s a temptation to simply fire it to as many publishers as possible, even though you know better. Going forward, hopefully Thompson’s example will jump to mind before you press send.

More from Andrew Thompson to come – and I should say that he has diversified beyond trivia more recently. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter @AndrewTWriter and find out more at AndrewThompsonWriter.co.uk.

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