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Here comes the rain again…

by on December 2, 2013

I’ve said quite often that writing can be a lonely business, and it’s true. But what is also true, now more than ever, is that the internet has given us all access to an amazing support network. We can talk, often only to ourselves (I’m used to that) and find that people right across the globe can in fact be listening to us (I’m less used to that). In fact, and in more truth I find this quite astonishing, my blog is actually read by lots of people right across the globe. Greece and the US already today, yesterday Germany, Australia – wherever that is – and the USA. It’s quite amazing, isn’t it? The world shrinks everyday, as if it had been run through a tumble drier on too hot a setting.

Anyway, talking as I do to a lot of authors, I find one thing still hangs on for us all in this mutable, changeable world of writing. Most of us (and realistically almost all of us if we were being honest) would still give our eye teeth for a publishing contract from one of the Big 5 Publishing Houses. And that is no reflection at all on Safkhet Publishing who handle my fantasy series The Banned Underground. I know that they would love to offer their authors the sort of financial backing we envisage we’d get from say, Random House. As they aren’t multi millionaires they can’t, and we -their authors- know that and appreciate that they do their best with their resources and it’s up to us to get off our bums and work at the marketing as well.

A couple of years ago one of my heroes Sir Terry Pratchett launched a competition on his website – the prize was a Big 5 contract for a first novel and that novel would have his personal endorsement. I’d already signed with Safkhet Publishing, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life as it turned out, yet still I felt a twinge that I could not put something forward for that competition (having a contract excluded me from entering under the rules). And yes: I felt somewhat envious the day the winner was announced, envious of his shiny new posh contract, his agent, and Sir Terry’s endorsement of his book. And as it turned out, Christopher Moore’s endorsement too. (If you don’t know who he is go and sit on the naughty step. And get at least one of his books.)

And now, two years later? I’m still happily with Safkhet Publishing, who have my sixth book (Have Frog, Will Travel) in copy editing. The Banned Underground series is an underground hit: now selling everyday, although largely through Amazon, and the satisfaction I get from knowing that is enormous.

And Michael Logan, the competition winner? This is his story. And you know what? I bet he’d offer to change places with me today. Not a chance of me agreeing: I know when I’m well off!

http://www.multi-story.co.uk/pratchett-diary.html

I don’t normally plug my own work on here, but since this has actually been a serious post (not a habit I intend to acquire) why not have a peep at the website?
http://www.thebannedunderground.com.

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19 Comments
  1. Often, there’s a huge disconnect between an author’s perception of what a Big Five contract means and what the reality is. It’s important to remember that the majority of authors who sign with a big publisher are in the same boat as self-published authors or authors who have signed with smaller publishers–like us, they have to do a majority of their own marketing. Most authors achieve big sales and a fan base through hard work. I’m very happy that all your hard work is paying off, Will. I expect your fan base will continue to grow and even though you might not be an overnight success, you will end up exactly where you want to be. You deserve all the happiness your writing career could possibly bring you.

    • Tricia, that’s very nice of you, thank you!

      I rather feel I would have ended up the same way as M Logan if I’d won the TP prize.

  2. Rebecca Douglass permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. It makes me feel better about my decision to go the author-publisher route. I may not know donkey dung about marketing, but at least I’m not having expectations crushed!

    • It’s nice to see that the grass isn’t always greener,isn’t it?

      • Rebecca Douglass permalink

        Yeah. Though a little sad to see how few people are getting to live the dream! I’d be pretty happy to be where you are, though. So you can always find some greener grass if you look. . . 😀

      • Ha! You should walk a mile in my shoes before you decide you might like the fit.

      • Rebecca Douglass permalink

        True. Which I guess was part of the point of your post. . . sales, though. Actual sales. Those I could like.

      • I would love to sell a thousand books in a year. That’s my next target, because that used to be ‘economically viable author’ band in the traditional publishing houses

  3. Interesting, Will. I knew the joint winner. Hmmm? I’m not going to comment too much (because I’ve been around the block – no comment from you here please, Will 😉 ), but it’s definitely enlightening. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. The best line… “If my publishers have a secret shit list, I’m pretty sure my name is scratched at the top in red ink, underlined twice with a few exclamation marks for emphasis.”

    He’s a ‘successful’ author and the poor bloke is clearly about as successful as me. I’ve stalked all his social media accounts to make him feel better… or frightened… I’m not sure which. But actually, I really felt for him.

    Cheers

    MTM

  5. Great post, Will. Did I tell you I collect frogs?

  6. Most of them hop about in my limited experience. Are yours ceramic, then?

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