How the hell did YOU get a deal??

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Publishing

Okay, so I’m getting asked a lot “How?”, as in “How the hell did you get a book deal?”. Folk, including me, are amazed I landed a deal first time, first draught. I happen to think there is a very clear reason for this, and it has fuck all to do with talent or skill. This post is not intended to piss anyone off, or to sound ‘lofty’, because nobody is more aware I’m an asshole than me. I think it is because the content of my book is very dark, and explicit in its humor.
From my point of view, and this is done in hindsight, there are so many forums, clubs schools telling you what to write. how to write. With magic formula’s. Telling you what agents want to see. So they have something to sell. Well, if everyone is writing the same stuff to the same formula, the results must be formulaic hasn’t it?
From my own perspective, agents are dictating safe material that they think they can sell. So there is so much the same. Lots of cooky bookies, crime fiction, and safe chick-lit. Not my cup of tea at all. You work has to be pretty bloody outstanding, as in enough to melt a cheese sandwich good, to climb above all the other thousands also doing the same.

In a room full of people singing the same song, if one suddenly started singing a different tune it would stand out. That is how I landed my deal. My book is pretty hardcore in it’s humor. In fact it’s fucking offensive. It was written for me, my peers, and around the conversations we find funny. It isn’t for a wide audience. My mum, who I’m pretty sure is dead (or at least I hope so), wouldn’t read it. It’s not a conservative ‘wide appeal’ device. It’s a laser guided weapon for a specific group. I then researched and sent it to Agents and publishers. I did my homework first though. I targeted those who I thought wanted to take a risk. It wasn’t all about volume revenue, who wanted to challenge. My belief is that guys read forums, and post dumb shit to each other. The dawn of the kindle ebook shit played right into my target.

That’s how I think I got my deal. It’s very different in just about every element and I think it was in some way refreshing. My book is a specific flavour. It is certainly different. When I sent the manuscript out, I applied a warning, telling of it’s gross, sick and offensive content. There is very few titles like it, hence it has it’s place like the cult following by Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh. Not that anyone has asked my advice, but if they did I’d say fuck the formula, fuck the rules, the creative writing teachers can stick it up their arse and go write. Write till it hurts. Get drunk, get angry, do anything to feel something and write how you want to write.

It is my belief that reading material will become more like music. Too many fear the ebook, and I think this has to be the mainstream, old school publishing houses. Remember the days of Vinyl and DVD. Where you went to a store to buy music. But it is choice by proxy. Because some music monopoly, has sold the music to a franchise of shops, so that the selection on the shelf is a selection pre-selected. By that I mean you can buy from what they want you to by. I remember the first time I found an independant record shop, and discovered amazing and rare tunes like ‘The Huduguru’s’. As amazing as this shop was, it struggled then closed. This was long before the internet and mp3.

What amazed me was the choice of flavour of music. Books will be the same. At least I think so. The brave publishers will prosper because they will understand wide appeal often doesn’t exist. But there are individual groups that love specific types. So there will be more raw edgy material that cuts into your soul and leaves a scar you love. I got my deal because a publisher with vision was prepared to take a risk. They read my manuscript, laughed and even though they were laughing at stuff they thought they shouldn’t, it was kind of like a guilty pleasure. They showed it to others, they laughed too. It may not be ‘One Day’, but I wouldn’t read one day. Time to evolve or die.

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