My Book Deal
I first began my writing career after much coercion from my husband Neil. He constantly nagged me to write a book of our true story of paranormal encounters. But I was not keen to relive what was a traumatic event, and I didn’t have confidence in my own writing.
Neil seen in me what I could not see myself. Looking back, my love for writing was there all along. My favourite subjects in school were English and Art. I loved being creative and my essays were always well marked by my teachers. They weren’t always impressed by my imaginative flair though, as every year my report card read the same thing; “Caroline’s middle name is daydream”. I’m still a daydreamer and it has assisted me greatly in writing my fiction paranormal detective series, the first of which is due to be released in March.
I had a lot of fun writing crime thrillers due to my experience as a police detective, and given our recent brush with the paranormal, I found myself giving the story a supernatural thread. I prepared my manuscript and synopsis before searching Writers and Artists Yearbook for agents and publishers. While browsing the internet I also found boutique publishers Bookouture and submitted to them a couple of weeks later, on the 17th September.
I considered self publishing should things not work out – it seemed a sensible option as I had an existing fan base waiting to read my books. Yet found myself being drawn back to Bookouture’s website. They were fresh and dynamic, and their authors had nothing but glowing praise for them. But would they be interested in my paranormal crime books? They were a publisher of women’s fiction, and although they stated they were accepting all genres, I couldn’t see any crime authors on their list. I told myself not to get my hopes up, but checked my emails a hundred times a day while I awaited a response.
Not long afterwards I received two full manuscript requests from another agent and publisher. While I was thrilled to submit for their consideration, I was also on edge. What if they made me an offer? This may sound silly to non authors, but my protagonist DC Jennifer Knight felt like a real person, and I wanted to place her in the best possible hands to fulfil her potential. I decided to make Bookouture aware I had received two full MS requests elsewhere. After all, it seemed only fair to let them know as I had submitted to them also.
I was thrilled to hear back from Bookouture’s Oliver Rhodes the same day. He emailed to say their pitch team actually already flagged up my manuscript, and were looking at it closely. My submission was well timed as they were in the process of hiring a crime editor. I couldn’t believe my luck. I met with the lovely Keshini Nadoo in Chelmsford to discuss the book in the end of October. We signed contracts in November for a three book deal, and the press release went out in December.
I’m so happy I signed with Bookouture. They’ve been amazing from the outset, and I’m very privileged to be working with them. I have come so far in such a short space of time, but I worked very hard to get here. I’m still working full time as a police officer. I have four children and I’ve worked hard to learn everything I can about the publishing, marketing and writing industry. I’m also a workaholic. Sadly this does not reflect on my housework which gets delegated to other family members at every opportunity!
To other authors hoping for a deal I would say have confidence in yourself, get an independent assessment of your writing (because family members will always tell you it’s great), work with an editor if you can, and make reading and writing a daily habit. I listen to audio books on the busy days when I don’t get time to sit down and read. In the car, walking the dog, even in the shower! If your writing is good and you put in the work you will make it. Just be original and stand out from all the other books out there. My book deal was bittersweet as my mother passed away suddenly before I was signed. She always had faith in me and supported me all the way with my writing. I had a little tear after the press release went out because I knew she would have been so pleased. Needless to say I will be dedicating my first book to her and hoping that she is celebrating somewhere too.