Thursday, December 09, 2010

Conf 654 - Farewell to Agent 2


Well, I've done it. After several years of having a hard-won, top agent who happens to be a lovely person well-respected by the writers I know, I've written the farewell email.

About 2 and a half years ago she submitted my 3rd novel, the one I've written over the course of this blog, to both literary and commercial editors. 2 commercial editors loved it. There were meetings and emails but both editors were eventually over-ruled by their bosses (the editor's clout in the big publishing houses isn't what it used to be, see the editor's lot).

Then it all went quiet. An agent can only do the big submission once in a novel's life. If it fails, it fails. But she kept me on her list at least. Left with the hope that one day she'd come across an editor who was seeking out my sort of fiction, I got on with my non-fiction. As she couldn't represent those I began my experiments with ebooks. Then she offered a non-fiction commission last summer, a quick turnaround buy-out, but it happened to coincide with the only time I'd be away from London in years. So all in all it was just one of those could have but wasn't meant to be situations. Then a few weeks ago I noticed I wasn't on the agency's website any more. That was it really. A few emails followed. All friendly. But back to square one.

Not quite. The novel's mine to submit now. Or publish. And, looking over it again I'm quite loving it.  Needs some tweeks and updates but it's all there. Ready to go.

I had a quick look around at some other literary agent websites. I can't believe some are still asking for 3 chapters and a synopsis by post. All agents read their material on Ereaders now don't they? American literary agents seem so much more approachable and net-savvy than UK ones. This one, Chris Parris-Lamb, sounds the business. Young, energetic and just the right mixture of old style/new style. And here's MediaBistro's GalleyCat database of the best literary agents on Twitter.

Sigh. Maybe it's time to emigrate.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Launch Day, Talli!

Authors have always been told by their publishers that they have to be (agh horrible word alert -) pro-active in promoting their book. The days of taking an advance and sitting back whilst publishers booked media appearances and promotional tours only ever really existed in writers' wilder fantasies. Well, I do have one (non-celeb) friend this happened to. I, and all her other author friends, watched agog as she secured a Radio 4 book prog, several USA tours, limos the lot. But winning the lottery has far better odds.

In the wake of the NanoMo national novel-writing month, and the fake Amazon reader review hoo ha Julia Stephenson wrote  in the Sunday Times last weekend about her own experiences of getting her novels published ("with jealous friends, poor sales and the need to puff your work under false names, a novelists's life is to be avoided" News Review p2). However pragmatic and down to earth you are, when reality kicks in it can be quite painful. Post-publication depression has always been part of the 'becoming a writer' journey many don't survive. They either give up or worse, and it has little to do with overall success (I hold that PPD contributed to both Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf's untimely ends). The big problem in the past was that you were reliant on so many outside factors you had no control over whatsoever: the publisher's sales teams and publicists, bookshop buyers, newspaper and magazine reviewers, warehouse distributors etc etc.

But all that is changing. As ebooks become part of the establishment, new bestselling authors of the future are just as likely to debut online as in the bookshops. In the long run, more likely. No longer will they have their arms tied behind their backs waiting for their turn in front of the overworked publicist's eye. There's so much authors can do now to promote their own books and none, that I know of, is doing it with more energy, fun and creativity than Talli Roland.

For months now Talli's been building up a buzz about her novel which launches today as an ebook (ebook first, paperback later, that's the way it's going). She set up a blog, I'm not sure if she's the character in her novel or like the character in her novel. Anyway, Talli's not her real name. She then asked over 400 bloggers to help her hit the Amazon Kindle chart running by writing about her novel on this day. It's called a Web Splash!

So, without further ado, I hand you over to the lovely Talli Roland.

 Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon UK Kindle Store

Amazon US Kindle Store

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

I'll be on Twitter all day, keeping people up to date on Amazon rankings with the hash tag #TheHatingGame. Along with posting updates, I'll also be serving virtual champagne, chocolate, cupcakes and assorted fizzy drinks for everyone. Pop by on Twitter and say hi! Make sure to use the tag #TheHatingGame so your tweet won't be missed. I'll also be guest posting on Strictly Writing, talking about the importance of social networking (big thanks to Debs Riccio for organising that!).

All good luck, Talli. I see from Amazon UK Kindle Store Sales Ranks it's all kicking off brilliantly.

Meantime, over on my Done & Dusted blog we've just announced the winner of the first E-cloth comp and  another free, easy and quick to enter, competition has just opened: click here to win a car cleaning kit!
Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.