A Novel Journey Pt 4… double agents/triple agents and DIY

So, for two books, I’d garnered the support of three of the country’s top literary agents… all of whom had at one time been decision makers at publishing houses.

Imagine my disappointment then, and that’s putting it mildly, when as time ticked by I had to accept that none of the current editors were prepared to make an offer, on either book. ‘I just don’t understand it’ was Peter’s first reaction, followed by ‘I’m very disappointed’. He is a man of few words but always succinct and to the point. Broo was equally deflated. ‘Why can’t they see what a seriously good book this is?’ she posed.

Both went on to explain that I had come along at the worst possible time for the publishing industry. The fact was that very few new authors were being offered publishing deals. The market had tightened dramatically and ‘risk’ was no longer a word in an editor’s vocabulary. And of course the truth is I was a risk, as is any new writer, and even with the backing of some of the country’s most respected literary agents that element of risk remained. The only ‘non risks’ it appeared were those with a proven track record of sales, plus of course the usual sprinkling of ‘celebrities’ who can sell on image alone.

It was extremely frustrating. I guess had I received negative feedback I would have given up a long time ago but with all those positive responses the ‘so near yet so far’ scenario played devilishly with an indefatigable spirit. If only those agents had still been publishers themselves, if only somebody else had made the key editorial decision, if only, if only… It really was a difficult thing to accept.

By now, a fair few friends and colleagues had suggested that I should publish via Kindle and sell direct on Amazon. I wasn’t as aware about this new method of publishing as some and had never really given it due consideration.

Then just this last few months I read that for the first time Amazon had sold more kindle books than paper books and I realised what I was missing out on… after all these were books that had been read by professionals and praised by them too, it wasn’t as if I had to worry unduly about the quality of the product. It was time to put my marketing hat on, or at least ask for others to help with the fit. I am eternally grateful for the help of friends like Tina Orr Munro and Tim Kevan.

Tina is the author of the excellent ‘Ellie Foster’s English Coursework’, a cracking tale about a teenage girl’s struggle with her dysfunctional family, and I thoroughly recommend it. I had helped her to market her own book, which I found much easier than marketing my own! Tina is now returning the favour and is much more tuned in than I to the wonders of social media. Tim, who until very recently wrote the babybarista blog in The Guardian has written the books first official review. He’s an excellent writer and his books ‘Law and Disorder’ and ‘Law and Peace’ are full of pithy observations about life at the bar. His review for Kiss and Tell can be found on amazon and elsewhere on my website at www.tjcooke.com

So this brings me up to date, a novel journey indeed… The novel is finally ‘out there’…

and one other very big thanks, To Gina, for all her hard work in preparing both my radio advertising website www.soundssorted.co.uk and my writing website www.tjcooke.com

tatta for now…