OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
We are a young and dynamic company with a proven track record of helping writers to get published. In the changing world of publishing we provide writers with the up-to-date advice and guidance they need to see their books in print.
BubbleCow edits writer’s books, fine tunes their synopsis and provide personal mentoring. Yet BubbleCow offers much more. We can provide professional advice regarding self publishing, ebooks, digital media, printing, the use of social media, writer’s workshops, marketing your books and much more.
The people behind Bubble Cow are authors too – can you tell us about their successes?
BubbleCow is a family run business set up by novelist Caroline Smailes and myself. Caroline is a bestselling writer of literary fiction with three books in print: In Search of Adam, Disraeli Avenue and Black Boxes. She is published by HarperCollins. I have written mostly non-fiction, specialising in History. I have spent a number of years working in the industry as an editor and researcher, especially for the writer of the popular Horrible Histories series Terry Deary. Caroline and myself were both providing editorial services on a freelance basis for a number of years before setting up BubbleCow.
You can improve authors synopsis to send to agents/publishers. What are your top 3 tips for approaching agents/publishers?
1. Don’t be rubbish – If you are to stand any chance your work has to be the best it possibly can. Edit, re-edit and then edit again.
2. Be focussed – Make sure you pick the agent/publisher that is right for your work and aim your pitch directly at them. You are better to make two or three focussed, well thought out pitches, than loads of random approaches.
3. Be realistic: It may be that a writer is sitting on a best seller. If this is the case then go find and agent and let them approach a big publisher. However, it may be that a smaller independent publisher is the correct choice. If this is the case, forget the agent and approach the publisher directly. Thirdly, it may be that your book will be best marketed and sold by yourself. If this is the case then a serious approach to self publishing may be the way forward.
How can mentoring help writers with their goal of being published?
Our mentoring programmes are very popular. I think one key to their success is that we only take on writers we feel have a shot at producing a commercially viable book. We would be just wasting people’s time and money if they were never going to reach the standard needed. We then match the writer with a suitable published author. These are authors who have an experience of the industry but in most cases also teach Creative writing and have had previous experience mentoring writers. The final step is that we work hard to match books with suitable agents and publishers. This is all part of the service and we take no scouting fee.
I am always looking to talk to publishers with the aim of matching them with new writing talent.
You blog and use twitter (@bubblecow) – what do you recommend authors do to promote themselves online?
The key here is to produce a ‘web.’ A writer should set up a blog. It is important they blog regularly about a topic that will interest their readers. It is also important they put as much biographical and book information as they can on linked pages. The writer must then look at using social media (Twitter, Facebook and Linked In) to build their web presence. The aim is to push potential readers to the writer’s blog. It is a long process and requires a subtle approach to marketing yourself.
Blog interviews are also helpful!
In the current economic climate, are new authors likely to get a big publishing deal? Are authors better off looking at self-publishing at the moment?
It all depends on their goals. Deals are still being done but the standard has been lifted high. Books now need to be not only well written but have clear market value. I have found that some very good books are struggling to find the RIGHT publishing deal. If a writer is confident they can market their own book and put in the time needed to run a mini-business, then self publishing is a real option.
How can people contact you?
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