Sunday, 5 June 2011

Landing a Two-Book Deal

So here's my big news of the week. I have signed a contract with Pan Macmillan for a further two books!

I can't tell you how excited that makes me feel. Getting Pariah published was wonderful, but you never know whether your first book is a fluke. Seems like it wasn't. Pan Mac want me for a while longer yet.

I have to confess that I've known about this for more than a week. Here's the story.

Immediately after finishing Pariah, I made a start on my second book (good advice - see my previous post). It took me just over a year to write, and I sent it to my editor, Will Atkins, on March 9, just a few days after the publication of Pariah. I thought it might take him a while to come back to me. I also worried that he wouldn't like it, even though I felt it was, in many ways, better than Pariah.

In fact, Will came back to me just two weeks later, on March 23. What's more, he said that he thought the sequel was 'superb.' And, better yet, he made me the offer of a two-book contract.

It's at this point that life got a little awkward. I'm not agented, so I had to handle the contract negotiations myself. It was interesting, to say the least, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. What I would recommend to other authors in a similar unagented position, however, is to get your contract looked at by the Society of Authors. Becoming a full member costs only ninety pounds, and one of the benefits of that is a full contract vetting service. I can't rate this service highly enough. Although the Society informed me that the vetting process should take approximately 5-10 working days, I received feedback from them within 24 hours! It was detailed feedback too, with a clause-by-clause breakdown indicating where improvements might be possible.

So we negotiated. Some things were agreed to; others were not. Perhaps I could have obtained better terms via an agent, perhaps not. In the end, though, we struck a deal, I signed, and I sent the contract off.

And then Royal Mail lost it!

So I sent it again - Special Delivery this time, which is a terrible rip-off for a simple set of documents, but I wanted to make sure it got there. It did, and Pan Mac countersigned and sent a copy back.

I'm now under contract again, with all that entails. Specifically, I have a deadline I have to meet for book three. But I've also now received the first part of my advance, which helps to make the pressure that little bit more bearable.

As I said above, the deal was done a while ago, so why the delay in telling you? Simply because we were waiting for the trade press announcement, which appeared on June 1. In case you haven't seen it yet, you can find it in this article in the Bookseller.

Now I'd better get back to writing!

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