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So You Want a Book Contract? by Wendy H. Jones

I am thrilled that bestselling author, Wendy H. Jones has taken time out of her busy day today to share her experiences of the world of publishing. Thank you for your time, Wendy. I have no doubt my readers will enjoy reading about your experiences.

When one starts out in this writing game the rose-tinted glasses make one think it is only a matter of writing a book and then publishers and their money will be beating the door down. Visions of hordes of adoring fans flit through the mind, then dash back in and claim squatting rights. Ah, the naivety of youth – youth being in a literary sense and nothing to do with age. It is not long before reality sets in and those rose-tinted spectacles, no matter how trendy they may be, are tossed to one side.

Hands up if this is, or was, you? Before you feel too bad, I can assure you, you are not alone. Every writer, living or dead, has felt the same at some point in their literary career. You’re in good company. Before you think it is all doom and gloom and you might as well give up right now, hear me out. Let’s take those publishers. Whilst we would all love a publishing deal with a six-figure advance, this is not going to happen for everyone. Sorry to burst your bubble. However, self, or indie, publishing is now a valid route to publication. My first series – The Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie Mysteries was independently published and then I got publishing deals for two other series. I also independently published another two series. Which leads me on to being a hybrid author. I would like to differentiate between this and a hybrid publishing deal, which is where the author is asked to contribute money towards the publishing process. A hybrid author is where an author is both traditionally and independently published as I am.

You may be asking how I managed to get publishing deals after self-publishing. The answer is twofold. Firstly, I promoted the heck out of my books, starting before I wrote the first word of the first book; they were selling well which meant publishers were interested. Once a writer has a platform, publishers are much more likely to take a punt on them. Whilst publishing is about getting books into the hands of readers who will enjoy them, it is, first and foremost, a business.

The second reason I got a publisher was networking. Yes, good old getting out there and making friends. Along the way, I supported other authors, and attended as many writing conferences and literary festivals as I could. I spoke to people, got to know them and kept in touch through social media. Talking of social media, I also used that to its best advantage. This does not mean spamming everyone with buy my book but about being genuine, again chatting to people and getting to know them. I have volunteered to support online activities and even set up my own crime festival. In other words, I am everywhere and support both writers and readers to the best of my abilities. This meant I got noticed and is possibly one of the reasons I was able to sign a publishing contract.

May I finish by saying I do have a series of books aimed at writers, called the Writing Matters Series. You can find out more via my website. I wish you all the best with your publishing journey. All power to your elbow, I’m rooting for you every step of the way.

The Author

Wendy H. Jones is the award-winning, international best-selling author of The Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, The Bertie the Buffalo Picture Book Series, and Writing Matters series for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the CEO of Authorpreneur Accelerator Academy, the president of the Scottish Association of Writers and hosts The Writing and Marketing Show podcast. She is currently writing a series of historical fiction novels based around the life of a 19th Century Surgeon in the Royal Navy.

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Lots of interesting and worthwhile points made here, Wendy! Definitely networking and mutual support and encouragement seems to be the key.

Val Penny
Val Penny
Feb 01, 2023
Replying to

I’m glad you found it useful, Sheila.

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