Monday this week saw the arrival of the London Book Fair to Earl’s Court, and with it, a little more knowledge about the tics and tocs of the publishing world. You might recall that a few months ago I was e-mailed by Medallion’s foreign rights consultant asking if I’d like to drop by and have a chat with her. Well that happened on Sunday, just before the book fair, and the poor woman spent a whole two hours having her earholes bashed by my waffling and blathering about my books (well, she did make the mistake of asking!) Actually it wasn’t completely one sided, she shared plenty of interesting anecdotes about the world of literary agents and I came away much the better for it (not least because of the eggs on toast she treated me too – food always makes me happy). Our meeting reminded me how fortunate I was to get noticed in the first place; everything you read on the internet about those slush piles is true! So if you’re a budding writer hoping for a shot at getting published, always, always, always follow the submission guidelines and get everything as damned near perfect as possible, because making it through that slush pile is no easy thing.
It was a while ago – April of 2010 that I first received the incredibly good news that Medallion wanted to publish my novel, but I’ve since discovered that it’s not just a simple case of them taking my book, printing it, and then slapping it on book shelves. Medallion currently own the world-wide rights to publish The Soul Consortium, and The Beasts of Upton Puddle, but that’s just the start of it all. I hadn’t even heard of a foreign rights consultant until February! Her mission is to promote my books to publishers in individual countries. The London Book Fair is host to a great many scouts, agents and publishers from around the globe, all looking for the next big thing.
And so, armed with a brochure bursting with literary goodness, she showed me what else she was promoting. I got the feeling that this was what it all came down to – this is where the real selling happens. Each novel had a page or two dedicated to it. There was a picture of the author together with their credentials and any literary achievements that might stand out. There was sometimes a brief excerpt from the book, a picture of the cover, lines from ARC (advanced review copy) reviews, tag lines, and that all important sentence that’s designed to grab a prospective buyer by the eyeballs and convince them the book’s a guaranteed seller.
If they do like the look of it, they get a copy of the manuscript to mull over, and if they decide they want it, Medallion sell the rights to that publisher to publish it in that country. Ever wonder why some books have loads of different covers? Well this is one reason for it – different publishers in different countries get their own cover art. You learn something new every day.
So, cross your fingers for me. The book fair is over now but I’m told there has been interest in both my books. We’ll just have to see what happens.