'They' say that no-one is buying debut novels.
I saw a great post recently by Claire King which said 'No-one is buying debut novels these days. Publishers don’t want them. Agents don’t want to take on new writers because they can’t sell debuts. Booksellers are closing down and the way forward is 99cent ebooks. It’s all doom and gloom out there. So why bother? The chances are infinitesimally slim that you will ever get the book deal your heart is set on. Why not go to the pub, or get comfy and watch re-runs of Friends instead?'
Well, if this is true it is very despressing for those of us slogging away at the laptop day after day hoping to hit pay dirt. I read recently that even in little ole Oz, at any given time there are 10,000 mss languishing on agents/editor's desks. But is it necessarily true that you won't be optioned just because you're a debut author? Just remember that bad news sells. And a bit of sensationalism. The evidence shows that you are in with a chance even if you're a first timer. (Don't forget that some published authors are having trouble selling their second or third novels.) Uh, that's not necessarily encouraging is it? Sorry...
Claire tells of the success of ordinary writers, just lke you and me, debuting successfully.
Claire says: 'These people are not different from you and me. They are not better educated. They are not richer. They are not people with industry connections. They are people who sat down and wrote. A lot. And re-wrote. They have families and day jobs and they are busy too. These people are getting agents and they are getting book deals. Three cheers for these people:
Maria Duffy, who signed with Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown last autumn and has just signed a two book deal with Hachette Ireland. Her debut novel, Any Dream Will Do, will be published November 2011
D.J. Kirkby, who writes fiction and non-fiction and after self publishing her first novel, Without Alice, has just signed up with Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton
Liz Fenwick recently signed with Carol Blake at Blake Friedman and signed with Orion for her debut – A Cornish House - and a second novel…
Claire LeGrand (Who is 24, by the way!) has just sold her debut novel to Simon & Schuster
Kate Brown who just signed with Jamie Coleman at Toby Eady Associates for her debut historical novel.
Mariam Kobras who just signed her contract with Buddhapuss Ink independent publishers for her debut contemporary romance The Distant Shore
Kerry Hudson whose debut novel TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA comes out from Chatto & Windus in summer 2012
Claire McGowan whose debut novel sold in February to Headline and will be published in 2012. See her blog post about living the dream here.
Jonathan Pinnock whose debut Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens is out this September from Proxima Books
Rebecca Emin whose children’s novel New Beginnings will be published next year by Grimoire books.'
Now that's just for starters. You may have just broken through or you may know someone who has. Care to share? I could add Talli Roland to this list, who had a cracker of a debut with 'The Hating Game', sitting happily in the Amazon top seller list for months and currently doing revisions on her second novel 'Watching Willow Watts.' Now this little alliterative title makes me want to buy it already, so hurry up Talli. Less of the wine and more of the writing! And how about Ann Carbine Best with her memoir 'In the Mirror' (featured in next post)? Who said debut novelists didn't have a chance?
We know it's not all wine and roses. We all know the market is difficult and there are many brilliant writers who have got great agents and are still waiting for a publisher to buy their book. Or maybe they haven't even nabbed an agent. How frustrating. But what do you do while you're waiting? Write your next novel. You will succeed if you're determined (and the planets are aligned.)
So, write. Write today and every day. Check out the Twitter hashtag – #writegoodnews. Here you will make friends, watch others succeed and be encouraged, or drown your sorrows together.
Soon I will be posting one of the most inspirational posts ever about how one debut novelist succeeded in this writing game...watch this space...
Oh, and don't forget, if you write any type of romance you can show off every Friday at Romantic Friday Writers. Just a little flash fiction to keep your creative juices flowing...or give us a little peek at your WIP...