Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Great Blogger Book Deal Handicap 2009




Annie Rhiannon, To The Left Of The Midwest, picaresque account of travel through interregnum United States, 4-1

Christopher Campbell-Howes, Thirty-Six Steps To Vienna, picaresque account of travel to Vienna to pay homage at the grave of Beethoven, 5-2

Robert Self-Pierson, Moonwalking: Discovering Britain By Full-Moon, picaresque account of travel through Britain under a full moon, 6-1

James Henry, The Curious Cabinet, children's fantasy novel, 8-1

Geoff, Contains Mild Beryl, acerbic comic poetry, 9-1

Great She Elephant, The Trouble With Toyboys, a work of what I'm reliably informed is termed 'women's commercial fiction', 6-8

Tim Footman, as yet untitled biography of Leonard Cohen, 3-1

Hannah Blonde, Blonde Moments, 'Sex and the City meets This Life', 8-5

NEW ENTRY Dave East, My Dear Sally, second edition of definitive biography of female Methodist preacher Sarah Mallet, 7-4 on

Patroclus, The Pictish Trial, pop-academic rebuttal of Dr Richard Cox's 'Language of the Ogham Inscriptions of Scotland', 100-1

Which of our redoubtable bloggers will follow Bête de Jour's early lead and score a book deal this year? Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, and let the great Blogger Book Deal Handicap 2009 commence!


BPP said...

I was approached by a publisher, and told 'em to go fuck 'emselves. Blogs made into books are shit. If I wrote one, it would be just as shit as all the others.

If you've a hankering to be a book-writer, why the hell are you not doing that instead of wasting your time writing blogs?*

*Not aimed at you personally, just a general question

Billy said...

I'd like to see your book.

Bowleserised said...

"If you've a hankering to be a book-writer, why the hell are you not doing that instead of wasting your time writing blogs?*"

I should pay you to turn up on my blog, Facebook page and email account and say that on a regular basis. Do you accept PayPal and spare buttons?

Annie A said...

Let's assume I shouldn't be writing anything, seems I had to look up the meaning of both 'picaresque' and 'interregnum' on dictionary.com.

Geoff said...

I was going to publish on Lulu and buy a copy myself. But if anybody knows of any publishers with a sense of humour willing to publish a load of failed poems it would save me the formatting problems.

I would think Wife In The North's forthcoming novel, The Forsythes' Aga, would be favourite.

GreatSheElephant said...

I don't understand odds so this means little to me. But if I don't get a deal (if I ever finish the damn thing of course) then I will self publish. I did actually own a publishing company for a short while but I had to give it to Citizen of Woking.

Jayne said...

Just don't illustrate them yourselves with felt tips. Or do the cover letter in pencil (even better than green ink as an insanity alert).

I got one today that was about an animated wheely bin...

wv: squarons - boring cousins of the Mysterons...

patroclus said...

BPP: Good for you. I think some blogs would make good books, and they're a good way of exploring ideas and testing them out on an audience, but for the majority, the blog format works just fine. Especially as they're usually enriched by the comments, which you can't get with a book.

Billy: I think I might skip the whole book thing and just challenge Cox to an arm-wrestle. Hello Dr Cox, incidentally, if you're reading. I did enjoy your book really, and it was very convincing.

Bowleserised: Are you writing a book too? Can I add it to my list?

Annie: Erm, it turns out that 'picaresque' doesn't mean quite what I thought it meant. I thought it meant the kind of story in which the protagonist goes on a journey and has lots of adventures. Apparently, it means something to do with rogues of low birth. Rest assured I don't think of you as a rogue of low birth, but as an adventurous traveller.

Geoff: I don't know any publishers, but I do like your poems, although I only started reading them today. I wasn't aware of them before.

GSE: I have no clue about odds either, and no one should set any store by the ones I've given, if indeed they even make sense.

Jayne: Animated as in talkative? Or was it a book of flick pictures?

Jayne said...

The story was of a brown wheely bin who went off and had adventures. Don't ask. And it had several very nice pictures (in coloured pencil) of said bin looking rather scary with HUGE teeth and manic eyes.

patroclus said...

Aha, a picaresque bin story. It sounds brilliant.

Fat Roland said...

I'm going to collate these comments by rewriting them onto a piece of A4 and pretend to Random House it is my new stream-of-consciousness novella.

Sylvia said...

I caught the last hour and a half of Robert Elms' show on BBC Radio London today and he had a very interesting guest on called Maria McCarthy who gave lots of tips on how to get published. He then went on to talk about his own publishing experiences, and a publisher actually called up - Metro Publications.
Anyway, give it a listen. The irony is that it cut into my own writing time.... Ah well, the vehicle for a certain actor will just have to wait a bit longer.

wv - downy. Hmm. OK. Which female GW character was accused of having a hairy face....

Bowleserised said...

(I have a book deal but it's not connected to the blog. It's all about a flying wheelie bin)

Annie A said...

It's okay, dictionary.com didn't say anything about being of 'low birth', it just said I was 'an engagingly roguish hero'. Cowabunga.

I'm listening to that Robert Elms show now. I'd never heard of him before but wikipedia says:

"He is renowned for his dislike of The Beatles, and of John Lennon in particular (he has called 'Imagine' the 'worst record ever made'), to the point where he refuses to play any of their music on his show."

I love him.

Tim Footman said...

I think mine's going to be picaresque. By either definition.

Dave said...

I'm working on the second edition of my book. If I can be bothered.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the infamous Maria McCarthy.

Sylvia: if you want an indication as to why she's been successful / appearing on local radio / generally making a name for herself as a publishing guru and (bizarrely) driving expert, check out the following. It's one of the 10,000 emails she has sent en masse, which currently reside in the inboxes of media types across the land.

It's all about self-promotion, you see, although I'm not sure she mentions that ...

Dear all

I'm the author of The Girls' Guide to Losing Your L Plates and The Girls' Car Handbook, both published by Simon and Schuster. I also teach Path to Publication courses at Bristol University and have lectured on how to get published at Bath, Daphne du Maurier, Ilkley, Warwick Words and Salisbury literature festivals. I've also done lots of media work on radio and tv.

I can offer advice on common questions such as

How do I get an agent?
Lots of tips for this - how to present your manuscript well, going to writing talks and conferences where you can meet agents personally, entering writing competitions, scanning The Bookseller for news of agencies that are just setting up (I got my own agent via the last route....)

Is it true that you've got to be young, beautiful or a celebrity (and preferably all three) to get a book deal nowadays?
It certainly helps... though I'm sure we can all think of successful authors who don't fit into any of these categories. Being 'promotable' is about more than youth/beauty - it's also about the ability to talk engagingly about your work, being a recognised expert in your field (for non-fiction) and other factors. Not the end of the world if you're shy though... JK Rowling is and she's done alright!

I'm worried that an unscrupulous agent or publisher might steal my book idea - what can I do to prevent this?
In the case of fiction, this is v unlikely - fiction isn't so much about the topic of the story as about the way we handle it. After all, lots of people could have written a book about a boy who goes to wizard school, but that doesn't mean that they would have been as successful as the first Harry Potter. The situation can be rather different in non-fiction - but basically there's no copyright on ideas, so you wouldn't really have any comeback if your idea did get stolen. But the best tactic is to avoid getting paranoid and put your sample chapters together to such a high standard that it's clear that you're the person who should write it.

How much will I earn? How soon can I give up the day job?
Please check out 'How to get a book deal - part two' for more info on this.

I can also cover general stuff about the publishing industry - for example, how much a book's cover can influence sales (a friend's sales went up by 70% when they re-jacketed her books), why publishing companies pay about £6K to have a book in one of those 3-for-2 promotions at Waterstones, how books which are overhyped and given huge advances (of say £400,000) can end up selling only 15,000 copies, how the author usually gets 50p per copy of a paperback book - and the bookseller gets £4!

I'd also be happy to do a phone-in section and give advice to listeners' questions about how to get published. Please do check out the testimonials section on my website - examples include -

'Your workshop was, for me, one of the best of the festival. It was so informative and entertaining - and I've never seen attendees make so many notes!' Rachel Levy, Events assistant, Bath Literature Festival

'I want to thank you for running such an excellent workshop at Ilkley Literature Festival. I've had such enthusiastic feedback from participants who clearly got a lot out of it.' Rachel Feldberg, Ilkley Literature Festival

Best wishes


(I'll leave it to patroclus to decide whether or not it's ethical to publish material of such a personal nature. However, my conscience is clear.)

GreatSheElephant said...

incidentally, the working title is:
'The Trouble with Toyboys'

Bowleserised said...

There's loads more better and more detailed advice on getting published – plus it's free and on the web.

patroclus said...

FR: Do it. The Friday Project will probably snap it up.

Sylvia: I was going to ask you to share Ms McCarthy's wisdom, but I see that The Done Thing has beaten me to it.

Bowleserised: Excellent. Wheelie bin fiction is so hot right now.

Annie: Robert Elms is right about 'Imagine'. It's an atrocious song.

Dave: Goodness, yes. Remind me what yours is about, plus title (if any), and I will amend the list accordingly.

TDT: Well I don't think Ms McCarthy would have much grounds for complaint, given that you're merely bruiting about her expertise to another few people. I'm heartened to learn that one doesn't have to be young and beautiful to have a book published, although naturally everyone on this list fits that appellation.

GSE: Post duly updated!

Dave said...

'My Dear Sally'. .

spinny said...

Annie, you've just triggered a rush of ultra-short-term-nostalgia.

In my very early days of blogging I remember running off to the dictionary to look up 'picaresque' after visiting this very blog (soon followed by 'baroque', 'Green Wing' and 'who exactly are these Picts anyhow?')

I know all about The Interregnum (the Cromwell one) cos i done it at school like.

and.. at the risk of offending other people here: GSE I really can't wait to read your book.

rob-sp said...

'A roguish hero of low social class.' Perhaps that can go into my blurb.

Thanks for the odds. Better odds than your other half is that? Like GSE, I've never been great when it comes to betting - which begs the question why am I trying to get published...

patroclus said...

Dave: Thanks for that, post duly updated.

Spinny: Oh god, I expect I got it wrong then too. Plus I see I used 'bruited' and 'appellation' in my comment above, what is *wrong* with me? I'm also excited (not in that way) about GSE's book, just from its title.

Rob: I have no idea about betting really, but I gather that if I put a pound on your book getting published and it does, I would then be able to afford half an hour sitting by someone else's lamp and the temporary use of a shopping trolley at the Co-Op on the roundabout. Everyone's a winner!

Sylvia said...

Ah yes, Robert Elms. His programme is a real gem for Londoners. He has a bus route of the week, which is highly amusing, as everyone contributes with their particular memories. It's also very educational, learning about unkonwn bits of London. His regular guests include Maxwell Hutchence and Alice Rawsthorn.
And he plays very good music!

rob-sp said...

Certainly worth the risk then.

FirstNations said...

writing porn. shopping it about. hope to get paid. that is all.

Anonymous said...

Hi nice Blog. Home Based Business opportunity-Work from Home is the leader in the industry and we can show you how you can take advantage of this fast-growing industry to build your own business and secure your financial future.