Are You An Undiscovered Children’s Author?… Exciting New Anthology Seeks Writers

April 18, 2011

If you’re an unagented and unpublished children’s writer, here’s
an exciting chance for your work to appear in a prestigious

‘Undiscovered Voices’ is a new book of excerpts from unpublished
children’s novels.

The anthology is sent to literary agents and editors to
raise awareness of these undiscovered talents.

No less than 13 of the 24 selected authors from two previous
anthologies have secured publishing contracts, or have been
for or won literary prizes.

These include: Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize; The Branford
Boase Award; The Blue Peter awards and The Carnegie Medal!

The anthology is being produced by members of The Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators British Isles

Any unagented and unpublished writer can submit writing from now
until 1 June 2011.

Full submission details can be found at:

Wishing you the publishing deal and success you deserve.

Is Your Book Deal The Best It Could Be? – What Authors Unwittingly Sign Away To Publishers

October 9, 2010

The antics of some publishers never cease to amaze me. What makes me gasp even harder is that most authors – even experienced ones – are oblivious to what they’re unwittingly signing away.

In the euphoria of finally getting a book deal, many authors overlook the fact that they are getting rather a raw deal in their publishing contract. This naiveté prevents them from getting deals that are better for them and better for their books.

I was reading a publishing contract for one of my client recently. He’s a prominent celebrity, regularly featured on TV.

Here are some of the things that I flagged up, before he signed on the dotted line:

* World Rights & Film Rights *
In one fell swoop, the author was signing away his UK rights, world rights, TV rights, digital rights, film rights, to name but a few. All for the grand sum of – wait for it – £5,000.

A decent literary agent will sell your UK rights, your German rights, your US rights, your Australian rights, etc separately. They’ll also sell your film options separately. If any publisher suggests you hand over all rights, make damn well sure you are paid a decent sum for it.

And here’s the thing, once they have these rights who says they are actually going to do anything once they have these rights? Ideally, there must be a clause committing the publisher to some sort of definite action regarding these rights – otherwise they could easily end up gathering dust in a drawer somewhere.

* Break Clause *
Now here’s something else that’s vitally important. What if there is a strong demand for your book, but your publisher decides not to reprint it? Or what if it is remaindered, but you can’t persuade them that your genre is suddenly fashionable again? Or supposing, many years after your death, one of your forebears would like to publish your out-of-print work?

A break clause allows the rights to revert to the author after a certain period – usually 3 years after a book has been remaindered or goes out-of-print. It ensures that a publisher does not retain the rights indefinitely.

* Competition Cause *
As most successful authors know, the big money is in the upsell. In other words, higher priced products – such as home study courses, CD sets, DVD sets – which are spin-off products from your book.
If you are planning to repurpose or rewrite your content and sell other similar products, beware ‘competition’ clauses that tie your hands. This is particularly relevant when it comes to non-fiction books.

* Options On Your Next Book *
Many times, publishers request the option to consider the author’s next book before it is shown to any other publisher. The author is so thrilled and flattered by this that they overlook that this isn’t necessarily best for them or best for their book.
Sure, if a publisher pays for this option, that’s great. But if it’s just a clause in your book contract that commits you to offering them your book, without any commitment on their part to accepting it, this just ties your hands. It’s a rather one-way deal!

* Print Run *
Ideally, your book contract will specify an exact print run for your book. Many publishers will print 3000 books and think that this is a good print run. Others will print 35,000 books. In rare instances, the number will run into millions.

Unless you know this figure, the royalties percentages in your book contract are essentially meaningless.

* Deadline *
Make sure there is a realistic deadline for your book. My client was committed to a two-month deadline to complete a 60,000-word book. He planned to take two months off to write it.
Had he ever written a book in such a short timeframe before, I asked? “No,” was the answer. This ridiculously tight deadline again favoured the publisher, but left the author little leeway for rewrites and changes of plan.
Give an estimate for the length of time it will take to write your book, then double it!

* Publication Date *
The launch date for a book is an important part of marketing. Dieting books are much more likely to sell in January when everyone is making New Year resolutions, for example. Horror books sell better around Halloween.
Ideally, your book contract will contain a specific publication date, which shows that some thought and effort has been put into the marketing of your book.

* Marketing & PR *
Ok, marketing and PR. I’ve lost count now of the number of disillusioned authors who complain to me of lousy (or complete lack of) marketing and PR for their books. It is rare indeed to find clauses in book contracts committing to specific marketing and PR strategies. However, if you can get one of these into your book contract, you know that a publisher is serious and committed – and your book will stand a much better chance of success.

This is just a brief overview of things to look out for in your book contract – especially if you are going it alone and negotiating without a literary agent. Weigh up your options and consider every clause carefully.

After working with me, my client was able to go back to his publisher and negotiate a much better deal by deleting some clauses and asking for others to be inserted.

Your book is one of your most valuable assets. After spending so much time and effort writing it, don’t be too speedy in signing it away!

How Authors Can Make More Money From Their Books

August 12, 2010

I went for lunch with a best-selling author this week. I took him to Malmaison in Oxford (a former prison, but now a very swish 5 star establishment).

The author has sold over 50 thousand books and is one of the leading experts in his field. He’s published 3 books with a major publisher.

He’s at the pinnacle of his literary career. So hey, he should be rolling in it. Right?

But you know what? In his own words, he’s made “chicken feed” from his books and he’s still stuck in a job he’d rather not be in.

His work leaves little or no time for his true passion, writing.

“I’m coming up to retirement,” he said. “But I’ve yet to make any real money from my books.”

50 thousand books… that’s 50 thousand readers!

But like so many authors, he has NO idea who these readers are! He has no names or addresses. No means of contacting them.So the power rests in the hands of his publishers who dictate what his publishing advance and royalties will be – which is not a lot.

So here’s the advice I gave this author: start collecting names and addresses and building a list of your readers. Start a free newsletter for them. Put an opt-in box on your website to collect names and addresses.

If possible, automate the newsletter. Use a service such as or, so that you can send out emails to your subscribers at the touch of a button.

I know I keep banging on about this, but having your own database or list of readers is an absolute MUST if you’re ever going to make money as an author.

The first sale of a book is always going to be the hardest. The second – to a converted ‘fan’ – is so much easier.

Millionaire authors know that ‘the money is in the list’. They never waste an opportunity to promote themselves or build their relationship with their readers by writing blogs, newsletters or ezines.

This means they collect names and addresses when they give talks or lectures. When they give radio or TV interviews, they use it as an excuse to mention their websites. They use the spare pages at the back of their books to advertise their ezines.

The big money is rarely in book sales. It’s in higher-priced products and services that are linked to the book.

Know who your readers are… Get to know them, understand them, build a relationship with them.

The majority of authors don’t know who their readers are… don’t make the same mistake.

Want To Win A Writing Prize? Think… Write… Believe

April 27, 2010

Here’s an utterly inspiring story from one of my subscribers, Douglass Davies. I loved this so much I wanted to share it…

When Douglass first started writing screenplays, he used to hold up an All Star baseball trophy in the mirror believing and feeling it was an Oscar.  In his own words, “I was just a rookie firefighter”.

Yet that year, he received his first paid screenplay contract for a movie produced for under $1million, entitled COACH. The producer had mortgaged his farm to finance it – a massive risk for him.

The film was made and completed. That year it was considered with 43 films produced internationally through the Christian Distributors Association.

One Sunday morning, nearly a year later, a producer phoned Douglass to inform him that he he’d won Best Screenplay at the ceremonies in Hawaii.

Within days, he was holding in his hands a gorgeous (and heavy) Oscar-like statue. He placed it next to the baseball trophy in his office.
It was a defining moment for him.

Speak it and believe it. Extraordinary things can happen if you do.

Last Call For £2K Writing Prize: Midnight Tonight

February 1, 2010

Hundreds of entries have been flooding in for this year’s writing prize…

Our dear postie has arrived with his shoulder bag weighing him down for several weeks now.

The poor bloke will no doubt be delighted when the deadline runs out at midnight tonight!

Entries have been coming in from all around the world… Australia, America, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, France, Italy, to name but a few.

We won’t get down to looking at the entries properly until tomorrow. And then we are going to be REALLY busy.

I’m so excited about the prospect of working with the winner on their book and their writing over the next 12 months.

My aim will be to get them thinking and acting like a professional writer as quickly as possible. In other words, I’ll be helping them find the shortcuts that it took me over 20+ years to discover!

There’s little I love more than seeing writers set themselves huge goals and then helping them achieve them.

Don’t forget, there are additional prizes worth another £1,500K for the runners up.

If you haven’t submitted yet, there are just a few hours left…  The deadline is midnight tonight folks!

‘All Publishers Are Idiots!’

January 13, 2010

Imagine walking up to a stranger in the street… and asking for £1K.

“I’m going to the races,” you say. “When I come back I’ll have doubled or even tripled your money. Hell, I might even surprise you and make a cool million.”

Do you think he or she is doing to hand over the money? Erm. Tough one, but probably not.

Ok, this is the type of letter that I regularly receive in my mail box and I never know whether to laugh or cry:

“What iswrong with the publishing industry is they are stale, they won’t tyake a chance with none published writers. I have never had a bad letter about my writings only (enjoyed your book good luck) or words to that efect. If they enjoy my stories (children’s stories) why not take a chance!?!”

Shall I answer or would you like to?

Why do publishers and agents reject books? Hmm. Tricky.

Writers Block

January 13, 2010

Writers often ask me: “What about writer’s block? What do I do on days when I feel less inspired than normal?”

Well here’s my answer. I’m not a big fan of ‘writer’s block’. It smacks too much of ‘can’t do’ for my liking. I’ve never been one for letting things hold me back – life is far too short.

So consider this. What if you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Or if you don’t feel like taking your kids to school? Or if you don’t feel like going to work or speaking to your clients?

You just get on with it of course!

Of course there are going to be times when we feel less vibrant, less energetic, less inspired than others.

But it is essential is to keep going. It’s important to keep writing – even if it’s for only 30 minutes per day – no matter whether you’re feeling inspired or uninspired.

Treat your writing as a ‘career’, not a hobby.

If you’re feeling particularly stuck try a change of scenery. Write in a different room. Or if you’re used to sitting in front of your keyboard, try speaking into a dictafone.

Just treat this as a temporary challenge that you intend to blast through.

Before not too long, you will have that same creative spark glowing bright again.

A Bestselling Book… In Just One Day

November 23, 2009

Woo hoo! I am so excited to tell you about the launch of a new book I’ve been featured in, ‘The Power of Persistence’ by Justin Sachs (Motivational Press, November 2009).

Last week, we released the book to over 500 thousand people in one of the largest Motivational Press book launch promotions to date.

Our goal was to have our title be a best-seller in its category by the end of the day! 🙂

And guess what? It climbed the charts and we reached our goal by end of day! How cool is that?

It has been an exciting process of getting some of the most extraordinary authors, athletes, speakers, and experts to come together to write stories for the book and I am very proud to say that the finished product is an incredible inspiration for people to see how powerful persistence can be in creating success in your life.

We have developed some incredible partnerships and have put together over $3,500 in bonus items for everyone who would like to buy a copy of The Power of Persistence.

We have some exciting bonuses from people like Jack Canfield, Loral Langmeier, and many more!

Check out the book by going to

Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested in creating more success in their lives!

Publication Day – The Most Disappointing Day Of Your Life?

September 26, 2009

I was chatting to a senior commissioning editor at a publishing house this week.

“What we really should be telling authors is that the day their book comes out will probably be one of the most disappointing days of their life,” he said.

Why – when publication  considered is the ‘pinnacle’ of success for so many writers?

Sadly, for many authors, publication is a huge anti-climax.

Amidst all the hype about getting a book published, this is something that’s rarely talked about openly.

This is because many authors, when they hand over their manuscript, also hand over responsibility for marketing and PR of their book.

They may be hoping for lots of reviews in mainstream media or a flurry of readings. But these don’t always materialize.

Too often these days, I hear from disillusioned authors who feel that their editor or agent has done “next-to-nothing” to publicize their book.

Or they don’t like the marketing angle or the ‘genre’ chosen by the marketing team.

The solution? Take matters into your own hands at least three months before publication date.

Compile a list of people to send review copies to. Write your own press release and get interviews on national and local media.

Leave posts about your book on relevant forums. If you haven’t done it already, contact celebrities to get endorsements for your book.

Learn as much about marketing and PR as you can – and apply it. Write a blog. Set up your own newsletter. Organise a virtual book tour.

Give away sample chapters or free reports to mailing lists that are likely to be interested in your subject matter.

In short, create hype and excitement in the run-up to your launch.

Your book is your baby. No-one else is going to love it, nurture it, or cherish it as much as you are.

Never leave the responsibility for promoting your book in someone else’s hands, even if they are a mainstream publishing house.

Make sure your publication date is a day of excitement and celebration – the big event it deserves to be.

Writing a book does not end with its publication – this is exactly when the hard work begins!

Writers – Don’t Do It!!!

September 2, 2009

I just HAD to write this blog as it concerns a publishing ruse all writers should be aware of.

I certainly wasn’t aware of this before now… so I’m sure it will catch some of you by surprise too.

I have to say that I nearly fell off my chair when I heard about it.

A first-time novelist has just sent their book to what they thought was a publishing house.  The publisher told them their book wasn’t of a high enough standard for their list. However,  it was suitable for self-publishing with their sister company… At a cost of… drum roll… £10K for just over 100 books.

£10K folks! Are they mad? Do they really think writers will fall for this ruse. Obviously not all that mad, because the writer who told me about this was considering paying this sum.

Please, please, please do your research before considering anything so drastic.  Most publishing houses are charging in the region of £2.5K per 1000 books. That’s around £2.50 per book. If you want a smaller print run, then you’ll be paying even less.

It’s easy to feel disheartened and crushed when you’ve had one too many rejections. Yes, you can feel like you’re never going to reach your goal. But there really is no need to go reaching for your credit card when you’re offered a ‘solution’ that costs £10K. This just reeks to me of manipulation.

If you’re having no luck getting your book published, then learn about marketing, get a mentor, rewrite your book, have someone check over your pitch.  Look at independent publishing houses or take a SERIOUS look at self-publishing.

Self-publishing is NOT – most definitely not a ‘second best’ these days. For someone of an entrepreneurial mindset, it can actually be a better option than a mainstream publisher.

But NOT when you are paying £10K for a handful of books. That is vanity publishing not self-publishing. You and your book deserve far better than this.