How to Land a Book Deal: Part One

It’s been a long time. During this long time I’ve done my best not to go broke (I’ve failed at this), mad (failed), bald (failed) and generally not become too dispirited (failed). I’ve also been trying to get a book deal (not a failure yet, but it will be) about the life of a freelance journalist. The book will be loosely based on Pitching the World, which in turn is loosely based on my life as a (failing/failed) freelance journalist. It’s about a writer trying to pitch 642 magazines (with hilarious consequences), and although it may never see the light of day – may not get written, even – I’ve given myself a chance.

The traditional approach to getting an agent to represent your book or a publisher to publish it go roughly like this: you write a few sample chapters and a synopsis of your book, send said sample chapters and synopsis off to an agent/publisher, wait and get all heady thinking you’re going to get published, wait some more, get a bit down, get a generic rejection letter. 

Such an approach doesn’t fly with pitchingtheworld. For a start, the mental paralysis of ‘damn, I’ve got work to do’/’damn, I haven’t got work to do’ has rendered me incapable of sitting down and having the clarity to write three chapters. And a synopsis. Second, I couldn’t take waiting too long. When I had a stab at writing a novel in my early twenties I went through the process outlined in the above paragraph and found the waiting – much like the novel I had written – unbearable. Third, I just don’t like such a typical approach. Pitching the World is, if anything (and it could well not be anything: it could be nothing), about taking an unusual approach to becoming published. 

‘And what is this unusual approach?’ I hear you cry. Well, that will have to wait until next time. ‘And when is the next time?’ I don’t hear you cry. Soon. Maybe tomorrow. I will say though, that this unorthodox approach has not only set up a (kind of) meeting with an agent next week, it’s a (kind of) meeting that will last for two days. And no, the unorthodox approach doesn’t involve threats, crying, kidnap or mind altering drugs.


3 responses to “How to Land a Book Deal: Part One

  1. It’s all about numbers and persistence. Judging by the amount of complete drivel which actually makes authors muny, almost anything can get published eventually.

    And look at Harry Potter. Over one hundred rejec tions, then £600 million in the bank and rising.

    I know an author wot rote for telly and then rote some reely boring books that were so unreadable I coodnt read them.

    But he made millions, ennit !

  2. Christopher Goodfellow

    Tell me you convinced an agent to sit in your dank studio, smoke fag ends from the ashtray and eat beetroot?

  3. Why will your book be ‘not a failure yet, but it will be’?

    I for one think it will be a roaring success, a gripping yarn of impecunity (Beetroot) peppered with excess (fags, booze), a rollercoaster of insight into the freelance journalist’s highs and lows, and a perspicacious account of the state of the modern writing industry.

    Perhaps the failure, as you call it, will be your failure to handle the ensuing fame?

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