Every writer dreams of that first phone call – you know the one, where a dream publisher rings you up and wants to offer squillions for that darling manuscript you’ve deigned to send to them – well, we can all dream.
In my experience, the reality is somewhat slightly different. First off, I didn’t just knock out a book. My overnight success took years to happen! There were written books and rewrites, rejections and then raised hopes, there were offers from agents and interest from publishers and then, back to the drawing board once more.
When that dream phone call did come, it was actually an email and it came when I wasn’t even checking my phone! It had been a busy week or two, with a full-on schedule in the day job, four children, a husband and everything else that life throws at you. It started with a call from my agent saying there was interest in the MS she had put out on submission, but now they wanted to know what I had planned to write next. The truth is, that at that stage I was almost completed the following novel, but like most writers I know, the hardest part of writing a novel is putting together a synopsis. For those of you who have never written a synopsis it’s like seven shades of hell – you basically have to squeeze the essence of your novel into five hundred words, including the ending – (no surprises) and put it such a way that it pops higher than every other synopsis sitting on the editors desk. So, it had been a week of even earlier mornings and later nights to get a pitch written for the first novel and a synopsis for the second. By the end of the week, I’d happily dived into a few days of being technology free, opening only texts and trying hard to ignore emails.
And then, it happened. The OFFER was not at all what I had expected – my agent first explained who the publishers were, who they’d published and how they’d made bestsellers out of so many writers before me. It almost felt like a sales pitch, until I read the final line…. They are E-publishers’ which meant…. (well, dot, dot, dot…)
I was very familiar with eBooks. I had been a reluctant convert, for many years clinging that boring old fart adage of ‘but I love having a real book in my hand, the smell of paper, the cover, blah, blah, blah’ I still hear people say this and just switch off now. The kindle revolutionised my reading life. I still read books, but the vast majority of my bed time reading is on my kindle which is easy to hold, requires no distracting page turning and is much gentler on the eyes. The kindle had been pressed on me by my agent, as much to learn about what the MS looks like on the page as anything else – everyone reads on kindle in publishing, darling!
Familiar with eBooks, is not the same thing as being familiar with the eBook publishing business. I read through the offer – it read like a sales pitch, it actually took quite a while to settle on me, but I knew, from the moment I talked with my new publisher, Caroline Ridding, I very much wanted to be in her team. Caroline is a legend in the publishing business and probably one of the nicest people to work with. Best of all, she wanted me as one of her first authors and I was beside myself with excitement! Things might not have played out in the way I’d dreamed, but I wasn’t complaining, everything felt so very, very right about it all.
Since signing on the dotted line, I’ve published four eBooks with Aria Fiction – they are an imprint of Head of Zeus. I’m very glad I did, because the books did very well and thanks to that, HoZ decided to publish in book form – so far I’ve had three titles published – with The Girl I Used To Know out in paperback this July.
The whole journey has been a great learning process for me. There is a huge difference between the experience of eBook and print publication. I could probably list a dozen simple differences but in a nutshell while the same book will have similar readers – my books appeal to women (mostly) in their thirties and above who enjoy grown up contemporary fiction. The route to the audience is vastly different.
Ebook publishers focus their attention on on-line promotion. I can’t count the number of people who have come back and told me I should be on the TV or radio talking about my books. However, in terms of eBooks – neither of these two avenues are really big spot lights. Now, once you go into print, then this coverage is probably invaluable, but the truth is, most eBook readers tend to pick up their next read either from the final page of their first book or the suggested reading panes directly below their home pages. It makes for a lot more time to concentrate on the writing of the next.
The other big difference is of course in price. The eBook sells for between 99p and generally less than five pounds. The idea is to sell a LOT more copies! And with the right people behind a book, you would be amazed at just how many books are sold.
The eBook market is a funny thing, as a writer there’s a fast turnaround, if I had time to write four books a year, my publishing house would be thrilled to take them – so long as they are good! For most print books, readers expect just one book a year. A book is an investment, readers will have an idea of what’s coming out and what they’re going to read – this year people will be looking forward to the new Kate Atkinson or James Patterson – they will try maybe one or two new authors, but will steadfastly stay with what they know they will enjoy.
The fast turnaround means, for me as a writer you’re generally between two to three books at a time. This year, I’ve signed a second contract with Bookouture (Hachette) to bring my crime books set in Limerick to readers under my own name Geraldine Hogan. In real terms, that means I’m editing two crime books, (publishing in August and December 2019) writing a new contemporary fiction book – under the Faith Hogan name and I’ve been editing The Girl I Used To Know for print publication in July.
Over the last year, there have been major changes in Head of Zeus, with new people arriving and some leaving to start on exciting pastures new. Ultimately, like everything else in life, all change tends to turn out for the best – I suppose, like everything else, we shall have to watch this space to see what happens next!
(c) Faith Hogan
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
Her latest digital book, What Happened To Us? was published in October 2018.
2019 sees the release of two books into mass paperback, the first – My Husbands Wives in March and the second, The Girl I Used To Know in July!
Faith was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
About The Girl I Used To Know:
Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.
Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.
Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Marian Keyes, Rowan Coleman and Veronica Henry.
Order your copy online here.