When my agent, Anne Williams, phoned me to say that Avon was interested in my first novel, Saving Sophie, I was driving to pick up my sons and had to pull over to take the call. I remember that moment with absolute clarity, but because of my excitement and being so flustered, I can’t actually remember much of what was said during that call! I had to email Anne the following day and ask her to tell me again – in writing – so I could take it in.
The road to publication can be a long and stressful one. However, for me, this wasn’t the case (OK – maybe there was some stress involved!)
Once I found out from Anne that my book was going to an acquisition meeting, the nerves kicked in. After the initial wave of excited screams of ‘I’m going to be published!’ I realised there was still some way to go. Yes, they were interested, but there were others to convince. What if the rest of Avon didn’t like it? It could all stop right here.
I’m delighted to say that they did like Saving Sophie – and that’s when things started to move really quickly. And why? Because the plan was for me to be a digital-first author. Now, with a print deal, my debut book might be accepted for publication, but not get into the hands of readers for another 15 – 18 months or so. As a digital-first book, Saving Sophie was going to be published in a matter of months. And that made my head spin!
It was like, until that point, everything had been going in slow motion. The writing of the book took a year, the editing took weeks, then waiting while it went out on submission… It felt like forever. Now, suddenly, it was all systems go. We had a meeting to discuss the book and Avon’s plans for it, then my editor went through my manuscript and edited it, then I edited it some more, and then it went to the copy-editor, then a proofreader. Meanwhile, the cover was being designed, the copy written, the marketing plan drawn up – and so much more behind the scenes. It was a whirlwind of activity. And all through it, Avon kept me up-to-date, answered my many queries, and put my mind at ease again and again. They are such a fabulous, enthusiastic and professional team to work with, and the entire process of getting that first book out there was brilliant – and mostly easy!
The big advantage of digital-first publishing is definitely the speed at which a book can be published.
For a brand new author, being able to get people interested in your book prior to the paperback publication is hugely beneficial. After all, not everyone is willing to pay out for a paperback from an unknown author, but they are more likely to take a chance on a 99p or £1.99 ebook, as the success of Saving Sophie proved! As well as the amazing digital and marketing team at Avon who worked really hard to promote Saving Sophie, I also had the good fortune of having support from the blogging community. I came across some brilliant, passionate bloggers and reviewers who really got behind my ebook publication and ensured word got around – and they continue that support which is fabulous.
Together with Avon I have every confidence that my books will continue to reach new readers. I’m excited for what the future holds as Avon continues to go from strength to strength, and I’m proud to be published by them.