Your precious manuscript, the personal history or memoire, the collection of short stories, the long-laboured over novel or that treasured exploration of a subject – how to get them on to bookshop shelves?
Technological change means that self-publishing has never been easier and there are a multitude of small ‘e’ publishing outlets. Amazon currently holds 17 million English language books and Smashwords 481,000 ‘e’ books. So, in one sense, publication isn’t a problem. Success after self-publication is another matter. UK publishing contributes £1.1bn to the economy, but, these days, even big publishing houses have small promotion budgets. What the publishers do have is clout – with the chain bookstores, with the prize committees and other media. A book stands a much better chance if it is published by a mainstream publisher.
So a publishing contract is the holy grail. But how to get one?
Creative writing expert Emma Darwin and experienced industry insider and editor, Philip Gwyn Jones will be telling folk exactly that in The Writing Game which starts the events at Omnibus Theatre at 11am on 12th May.
Emma, the great-great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgewood, was born and brought up in London( ‘though we can’t quite classify her as a Clapham Writer ). Her first novel The Mathematics of Love (Headline Review 2006) was listed for the Commonwealth Writers and Goss First Novel awards, long listed for the Price Maurice Prize and the RNA Novel of the Year. The Times described it as “that rare thing; a book that works on every conceivable level.” Her second novel, A Secret Alchemy (Headline 2008) reached the Times Bestseller list and was named as one of The Times Top 50 Paperbacks of 2009.
She has a doctorate in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths (UCL) and lectures for the Open University, as well as being a regular contributor to literary festivals and courses around the country, most notably York Festival of Writing, the Arvon Foundation and Writers Workshop (now Jericho Writers ). Her blog, This Itch of Writing, deals with everything from writing technique and process to the ins and outs of the publishing industry and how a new writer might navigate through them. I can thoroughly recommend her Tool-Kit, it brought back my days of teaching creative writing, many, many years ago. It’s free to access.
She has also written Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction (John Murray, 2015). Emma is a regular at the Tea House Theatre for Words Away, a monthly salon for discussing writing and books, which takes place in Vauxhall.
Philip Gwyn Jones is a seasoned editor and publisher with 25 years’ high experience at the heart of literary publishing in the UK. His early career was at HarperCollins UK, first as editorial director of Fontana Press and then as publisher of Flamingo. More recently, he was Executive Publisher at Granta and Portobello Books (which he founded in 2004) and is currently Editor-at-Large at ScribeUK, where he buys both fiction and non-fiction.
So, if you’re looking to find someone to publish your novel, your stories or poems or your non-fiction come along and listen as Philip and Emma share all the do’s and don’ts of publication and open up the publishing and writing world. 11 am 12th May Omnibus Theatre. Get your ticket now.