03/08/2016
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

How to get a book deal

95e41c17-4ada-4f7f-8060-08670e521619

Matthew Smith, MD of Urbane Publications, has had more than 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry. Here, he offers some down-to-earth advice for writers hoping to net a deal.

• Just because you’ve written it, it doesn’t mean it’ll be read – not even by your friends and family. Be prepared for that!

• There’s never only one route to publishing success, it’s different – or should be – for every author. For many an agent may be what they need, but for others self-publishing can be a brilliantly successful and rewarding route for their work. Set your goals, then find the route that helps you meet them.

• Be patient and wait for the route that’s right for you. I’m always amazed when authors spend five years writing a book and then immediately publish on Createspace because agents/publishers didn’t offer them a £50k advance within 3 weeks.

• Don’t believe the hype – we often hear tales of huge advances, mega sales, film deals and runaway success. But they are very few and far between. Focus on what’s right for your book, success will come.

• There’s nothing wrong with writing for the love of writing. If you can find joy in your work and working with the right partner, be it agent, publisher, publishing platform, then consider that your success – you’ve already achieved what thousands of others never will.

• Please, please, please don’t chase or badger agents or publishers for a decision. Yes, to you it is the most important and vital treasure and everyone should treat it with reverence – but even a small independent like Urbane receives up to 50 submissions a week. Chances are if it’s taking time to get a response it’s because your work is genuinely being considered rather than rejected out of hand.

• Use social media to build a profile for you – not to just sell your work. We’re all people, and people are far more interested in other people than just being sold something. It’s tough for many authors but you have to be willing to engage if you want to build a strong and loyal readership. If you want readers to invest in your writing, then it helps to invest a little in getting to know them.

•Finally, don’t give up! Sounds ridiculous I know, but some of the greatest authors hung in there, committed to those that showed faith in them, and they’re now reaping the benefits.

For more details on submitting to Urbane Publications, see the September issue of Writing Magazine. For more details about Urbane Publications, see the website.

Back to "How to write non-fiction" Category

03/08/2016 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

What makes a good writer?

What makes a good writer? We've put together a checklist of skills that all contribute to being a good writer ...


Coffee break exercise: Art gallery

Can a painting provoke a new piece of creative writing? Find out in this week's coffee break exercise! ...


Jessie Burton: How to be a writer

The Miniaturist author Jessie Burton shares her experience and advice on how to be a writer ...


Read more, write better! Writing Magazine bonus content, November 2018

Background reading, exclusive extracts and more to complement your latest Writing Magazine ...


Other Articles

Coffee break exercise: Changing genres

Try your hand at several different genres in this week's creative writing exercise ...


The most popular book genres: what do your readers want?

What do readers want? What are the most popular book genres, by sales and by earnings? We break down the ...


Coffee break exercise: Suitcase

Pack a new piece of fiction in your portfolio with this week's luggage-themed creative writing exercise ...


Coffee break exercise: Jewellery

Use a piece of jewellery as the spark to create a gem of a new piece of writing in this week's coffee break ...