Friday, 23 August 2013

I've accepted an offer from Amazon Publishing!

This blog entry also doubles as ‘My story - part 5’ as it brings everything that’s been happening to me since I started out in writing and publishing right up to date, and as you can probably imagine,  I'm very excited about it! :o)

In part four I said that I’d been contacted by a literary agent.  I received an email from someone at Jenny Brown Associates enquiring whether I would be interested in having an agent given how well things were already going as an independent author.  I wasn’t sure myself because I was earning a living from my writing and I didn’t want to spoil that, but I saw no harm in meeting and talking about the idea.  Then pretty soon I was in London having lunch (and a few drinks) with Mark Stanton, who had recently been shortlisted for an ‘Agent of the Year’ award.

Not the actual lunch. This is one I
shared earlier in the year with Mrs.R. 
Stan (as he goes by) was very enthusiastic about my books and I really liked his energy, so we left it that he would see how far he could get in placing my books with a big mainstream publisher, knowing by the end of our conversation that it would have to be good deal if I was going to give up my ebook rights and enter the unknown.  So, when the contract came in the post a few days later, I signed it and I suddenly I had an agent again.

I'll get to the title of this blog entry now because not long after that I received an email from a senior acquisitions editor at Amazon Publishing who had noticed my books, possibly after the success of my first promotion with Bookbub, which shot To the Grave to No.15 in the paid chart.  Following the email we had a telephone conversation and I learnt that Amazon Publishing wanted to publish my next book and were possibly interested in the three I had already published myself through the Amazon KDP platform. 

My biggest concern about signing with any mainstream publisher has been advertising and pricing.  These two ingredients are of course essential to books sales unless you’re already a big name author and can command a hefty price tag for your books, and I’d already seen a few indie authors sign with publishers only for the price of their books to shoot up and their chart positions to slide down.  These were not concerns I had with Amazon Publishing, who are already experts in the ebook market and continue to price their authors competitively. The advertising potential speaks for itself.  I'm also very excited to see where Amazon Publishing are going to be a few years from now.

After that initial telephone conversation, just over a month passed where I was receiving regular updates on the progress of in-house talks.  Amazon UK were talking with people in, from what I can gather, and most of all with Thomas & Mercer, the Amazon Publishing imprint for crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers. 

The upshot is that an offer was recently made for a four book deal with options on book five, and I’m very pleased and excited to say that I've accepted it and that my Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Crime Mystery series is going to be repackaged and published with Thomas & Mercer from April next year.  There will also be audio books for the first time and hopefully translations, too.

I’m staying with my agent Stan at Jenny Brown Associates, not least because although I'm partnering with Amazon Publishing un-agented, you never know what the future holds and I still retain all film and TV rights should any offers come along.

I haven't signed anything yet, but the ball is rolling so to speak, and I'll be sure to let you know once I have.  It should all happen within the next few weeks.  I'd like to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has helped make this dream come true for me.  I'm very excited about what the future holds, and a little nervous, too, I guess.  I've had a poem by C.S. Lewis in my head while I've been thinking about what to do.  It's from The Magician's Nephew, the first of the Chronicles of Narnia that's always stayed with me.

Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.

I had to strike that bell!

UPDATE:  Just as I was about to hit the publish button for this blog entry, an email arrived from Amazon Publishing containing a draft copy of the agreement for me to check over.  Lots of reading to do now.  And maybe a little party.  :o)