An offer I couldn’t refuse

   So this is not a tale of a brilliant self-marketing campaign that led to a publishing deal, nor is it a case-study of a state-of-the-art submissions programme.

Nope, it’s a paean to serendipity, to great timing and to the need to tell anyone, even strangers, that you’re a writer.

In the confessional spirit of earlier posts, I stand before you and say: “My name is Ian Phillips and I am a bridge addict.”  No, I don’t mean one of those strange Channel-5-real-life-documentary people who form an emotional or even physical attachment with an edifice made of concrete, wire and piles.  I play the card game and have done so for years (it’s how I met my wife).

I was at a club, and finished a round of the competition early.  We chat sotto voce with our opponents.  ‘What do you do?’  ‘I write.’  ‘Oh, what?’  ‘Stuff for businesses, speeches and the like.  And you?’ ‘I’m a publisher.’  ‘I’ve also written a novel.’  ‘Really!  What’s it about?’ 

I give her the elevator pitch (something I really recommend - I’ve worked hard to try and summarise it in very short phrases, usually starting with my equivalent of the legendary pitch to Hollywood for ‘Alien’ (‘Jaws In Space’.)  Mine: ‘A Kosher Satanic Verses.’

‘I’d like to read it.’  We had a subsequent chat over the phone and I sent it to her.

I hadn’t heard of Alliance Publishing Press, but really liked its use of Print-On-Demand (even if the end-product can’t benefit from the versatility of traditional print).  The industry norm of investing working capital in stock and distribution, let alone advances, seems to me somewhat archaic.  Surely it was in everyone’s interest to pour resources into increasing demand.  With the explosion of channels for selling as well as communicating, this seemed completely logical, modern and, most important, author-friendly.

I was also drawn to the benefits of working with a small company.  I like knowing precisely who’s going to be doing what with my book – and interacting with them.  The atmosphere was more collegiate, more personal, than I would imagine a large publisher to be.  They readily surmised that I am somewhat anal, so the notion of being genuinely consulted on issues like marketing and design was both seductive and a relief.

I sat down with the whole team and they were really enthusiastic about ‘Grosse Fugue’, even while flagging concerns about the ending.  Believing that all things are resolvable between those committed to progress, I decided to commit.  All that was needed now was to do a deal and get edited.

The deal was easy.

Ian Phillips is a freelance writer for businesses whose first novel, Grosse Fugue, will be published by Alliance Publishing Press on April 11th. He’s tweeting developments @Ian_at_theWord.