Deepa Anappara

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Absolutely thrilled to hear the news that Chatto & Windus have won UK and Commonwealth rights to Deepa Anappara’s debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line. The book has now sold in a total of 14 international territories. Deepa was a student on City’s Novel Studio some years ago and has since gone on to do a masters and a Phd in Creative Writing at U.E.A. She’s had an astonishing year already, winning the Bridport Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award, the Deborah Rogers Award and the Lucy Cavendish Prize. And now this! Congratulations, Deepa. We cannot wait to read this novel!

Kiare Ladner sells debut novel in pre-emptive bid from Picador

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Absolutely delighted to hear the news that Novel Studio alumna Kiare Ladner has sold her debut novel. Nightshift, to Picador. Associate publisher Ravi Mirchandani, who acquired world rights to the book, has described it as "an immensely exciting debut, a novel of nights and shifts, between gay and straight, sober and carried away; of how it is possible both to find oneself in the city or to become lost entirely; of obsession and the sheer mysteriousness of ourselves and others”.

Kiare's star has always shone bright. After graduating from City's Novel Studio with flying colours, she secured a place at UEA to do their prestigious MA in Creative Writing and subsequently won the David Higham award for her writing. Her short stories have appeared in Wasafiri, Lightship Anthology 1, New Contrast and Eclectica, and she was recently awarded an HW Fisher scholarship for her place on the Curtis Brown novel-writing course. 

Nightshift will be published in 2019 and we cannot wait to read it. Congratulations, Kiare!

An insider's guide to self-publishing

A few years back, I was lucky enough to teach a young writer called Remy Salters, then a student on the Novel Studio at City. Remy was always a very talented writer with a fascinating story to tell so when I heard he'd got an agent, I wasn't surprised. A publishing deal was just a matter of time, or so I thought. 

But for Remy, as for so many talented first-time authors out there, this didn't happen. The book was rejected by traditional publishers leaving him with some tough choices. Rather than give up, Remy began investigating alternative routes to publications. Here's his story.

"I began my novel, Butterfly Ranch, as part of the City's Novel Studio a few years ago. After several full drafts and lots of workshops with fellow writers, I got to a stage where I was able to secure an agent. This was invaluable, as the book underwent a couple more crucial rewrites with her advice. In the end, though, we failed to place the book with the agent‘s targeted imprints, and so I moved on to other projects. However, as time passed, I realised that I had unfinished business. Butterfly Ranch needed to 'live‘ regardless. This is when I decided to self-publish.
 
My first idea was to get the book typeset and a cover done by a designer friend, then publish on Amazon CreateSpace as an e-book and paperback on demand, and promote via social media. CreateSpace is a convenient system and the design was the easy part. Now for the promotion...Without releasing the book, I became more active on Facebook and Twitter for several months, but I eventually concluded that converting social media interaction into meaningful readership, as a complete unknown, required more investment in time than I could spare, and a long-term active role in a multitude of online communities. In my case, social media could help and enhance, but not be the only channel.
 
So I searched for a publicist. I was in touch with several, but always came away with a feeling that there is little interest in self-published authors (or rather interest in their cash, not their title). That was until I came across Matador, who describe themselves as a 'partner publisher‘ – i.e. you finance the design, production and/or marketing/PR of your book, but they advise, project-manage and promote. I have been impressed by this solution. I have had freedom in choosing the level of support I want, while feeling safe in the knowledge that whatever I choose will be delivered professionally and I can reach out for a real publisher‘s advice."

Remy's choice seems to have paid off. After a successful book blog tour last month, Butterfly Ranch has just won the International Rubery Award for fiction 2018 and Chill With A Book Reader's award 2018. As Seth Godin says, don't wait to be picked, pick yourself. Congrats, Remy!

 

Hannah Begbie sells 'brilliant dark debut novel' to HarperFiction

So thrilled to hear that the phenomenally talented Hannah Begbie has sold her debut novel to HarperFiction. Hannah was a star student on the Novel Studio where she also won the new writing competition. Her novel, Mother, developed while on the course, is a brilliant, and brutal, exploration of motherhood in the most complicated of circumstances. Her agent, Veronique Baxter has said that Mother “is a book you don’t forget in a hurry: unflinching, dark and deeply compelling, it moved me profoundly”. Very proud of you, Hannah, and cannot wait to read the finished book!