Here’s the second instalment of my series on books and writing AKA
‘How To Be A Penniless Author.’
Sydney For Under Fives was the first book to be written and published. I had been a voracious reader as a child and always wanted to write a book. Mind you, I had expected it to be a steamy thriller…
My eldest son, husband and I moved to Sydney in 1998, fresh from a year in Karachi. Tom was almost 18 months old and totally jet propelled.
Later he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, but in early 1999 we just throught he was a completely very hyperactive 20 month old.
We couldn’t find anything like it at all. But whilst I hunted the bookshelves, I was making notes of publishers who produced that sort of book.
I had worked as a TV researcher and producer and had done a lot of program development and pitch writing. So it didn’t take long to knock up a three page proposal for a book.
Here’s the first page:
(Never have written that sequel!)
I started at the top of my list of publishers, Pan Macmillan. Quickly made a call and asked if they accepted submissions for non-fiction, asked for a name, wrote a quick letter and posted it off.
How thrilled was I? A letter came back asking to see a sample chapter! Hastily, I wrote a chapter on all the best places to see animals in Sydney.
Jane Curry, now my publisher through her own company, was then at Pan and she and I had a meeting. We had such a lot in common, including small boys aged two years and huge, pregnant tummies.
A contract was sent and signed… and then I gave birth to son number two in October 1999. That certainly slowed down my work for a bit.
How To Write A Book – Some Thoughts On Commissioning
* Commercial publishers are commercial. If they think they will make money with your book, and it suits their list, they might well publish it.
* But remember, most publishers publish a variety of books, many, or even most of which, sell in fairly small quantities. But who cares? That first commission is a thrill and a vital first step.
* Don’t send a proposal to a company that isn’t taking submissions… keep it simple!
* If you do send a submission, send it to a real person.
I’m no expert at all, but this is what makes sense to me.
What’s the book you have in you?