I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Three Corners

It's been very difficult trying to work out which agents or publishers would be interested in taking a look at the novel I am trying to sell. More importantly though, deciding on which country they should live in is proving to be the real "fish on a bicycle".

There is a uniqueness to my situation. I am a New Zealander (and Irish), writing in British English, living in France. My book is about a troubled NZ Prime Minister who disappears during an official trip to Hungary, amid a crisis about ambition, sex and love. The story moves from Auckland to Budapest to Nice.

Now, there are some people who think it makes more sense to target New Zealand publishers because that is where the main character comes from. One British agent who saw the manuscript recently said the writing was very good, but indicated that it would be difficult to sell it in the UK. Can you start with a NZ publisher and see how it goes? he said.

Is that really the case? Would UK publishers not see this as something they could market? Of course there would be rights to be had in Australasia and France, which is a very big consumer of books. Another UK agent seemed to take to the idea and my writing, but after 10 months of email exchanges and revisions ended up not liking the way the story developed. (Changes have since been made to address some of his concerns, which I ended up sharing.)

I would prefer to have my book published near where I live. Marketing is very important and life would be a whole lot easier being close to the bubbling pot! I would travel, of course, if I had to, but it seems a shame to have that constraint (if it really exists).

The other market, of course, is the US. This seems like it could be a happy middle road to take. Would Americans want to read about this? The issues are universal, surely.

So, to cut a long story short, I have decided to target three corners of the globe - the fourth will be an option for later. I am putting myself out there in NZ, the UK and the US. The Blitz is underway! I just have to hope the fish are biting all over the place, and that not everyone is looking at their belly buttons! Of course the novel has to be good, no matter where one lives, and I am ready to be judged.

Meanwhile, I am cracking on with the new book, which is set in Dublin. A Frenchman in Dublin. Very European. One of the UK agents who saw the NZ story invited me to get back to her with the Dublin book when it's finished, saying she thought that would be easier to sell. Hopefully I will already have an agent or publisher by then.

6 comments:

Perry Middlemiss said...

As difficult as it may be, it might be advantageous to shop the two novels around in reverse order: get the Dublin novel out there and sold, and use the novel about the NZ Prime Minister as a follow-up.

That is, if the NZ PM novel doesn't sell first in NZ or Australia. From what I've been seeing lately, the publishing industry in the two countries seem to be pretty much intertwined. Which, from an NZ viewpoint, you can probably read as "dominated by Australia".

skint writer said...

Well done for getting so much interest and constructive feedback from agents and suchlike.

I can't help with marketing your book to agents and publishers because I've spent a long time trying to do the same with no results - that's why I'm publishing myself.

Maybe stop apologising for the setting of the novel and make a selling point of it. New Zealand and Hungary are both places that are a bit under the radar in the US/UK dominated world of English language publishing - but then Peter Jackson did all right with it as the filming location for Lord of the Rings.

Shameless said...

Thanks for the advice. It is a tricky one, and there is probably no hard and fast rule. I think it's just a matter of getting stuff out there and seeing what the trend turns out to be. I suppose it is something as well that agents are asking to see the material. There is hope yet.

Debi said...

As long as your skin is thick enough, I would send it out to anywhere and everywhere. You only need to have one response that's not a rejection and the interest you've generated seems to indicate you're doing something right.
If it's all a matter of being in the right place at the right time - and since you can't predict when and where that will be - it makes sense to cast your net as wide as possible.
Good luck!

Shameless said...

Thank you Debi for your comments. I think it's certain now that the net is going to be spread wide. I can't stand the thought of doing everything at a snail's pace, with months and months going by with not a lot happening. The big fish could be just beneath the surface!

Debi said...

Oh I know! It's all about creating and recognising that indefinable 'buzz'. If only it could be bottled ...