I've been staying away from the screen after starting the day with a very exciting migraine. Luckily, to mark the publication of Nations Divided, his latest tome, Mr Steve Vincent has stepped in with a few timely words.
I'll post a separate entry with some info and maybe an extract from his book tomorrow.
Paying it forward – writers helping writers
It all started over beers. As it usually does.
I’d been offered a three-book deal for my Jack Emery series with Momentum, Pan Macmillan’s digtal-first imprint and I happened to be in Sydney. Emails were swapped, offices were raided and beers were thrown my way. It wasn’t quite lunch at the Park Hyatt, like I know JB gets when he’s visiting shadowy publishing industry figures, but it was pretty good for me.
At the meeting I got chatting with Joel Naoum from Momentum and Haylee Nash from Pan. We talked about a few of their other authors I enjoyed. I raised JB’s work, told them how much I enjoyed it and to pay him all the money. I’d like to think that my endorsement got an extra zero on the Hooper Trilogy advance, but I can’t be entirely certain.
Then, a few months later, they told me they’d asked JB to blurb my first novel, The Foundation, and he’d accepted. Better still, the blurb that came back was pretty damn nice. Though I’m not sure book blurbs make a jot of different to sales, especially to ebooks, it was a nice milestone for a new writer to get some kind words from one of my favourites.
This was only the second nicest thing he’d done for me. Months earlier, when I got the offer to publish with Momentum, I’d shot JB a message asking for some advice. The reply I got was both short and immensely valuable, and I ended up signing with them the next day. Eighteen months and three books later, I can confidently say I made the right decision.
These two things, though fairly small, were a bit of a buzz and an immense help, respectively. In a tough industry, a couple of small favours or bits of advice were hugely valuable. This was from a guy whose writing I respected and enjoyed, but who owed me absolutely nothing. We’ve now met shared a few beers and a chat around the festival circuit – where a few laughs and more advice has followed.
This support – from JB and a few other writers that I’m privelidged to know – has shown me the importance of ‘paying it forward’. That doesn’t mean I’ll read your manuscript, or introduce you to my publisher, or anything else that takes up way too much time or compromises me professionally. But I do my best to give advice when asked, buy Australian authors and give others a ‘nudge’ when I can.
Many of us – published writers, those who are working towards it and those who dream of it – are all climbing a mountain. Some never get any altitude at all, some make it a part of the way up and give up. Others fall. Very, very few make it to the top. Some see it as a contest, and will kick you down the mountain. Others will give you a hand if, as long as you’re not putting too much weight on them.
A few at the top get to enjoy the view, but most of the rest are just working our way up or trying not to fall. All we can do is keep working, hope readers enjoy the result and give each other a hand where we can. Now, with the release last week of my third book – Nations Divided –and the initial three book deal in the bag, I’m working on a few other things.
There’s no certainty at all, but I’m still loving the climb. Having others beside me to share it with just makes it all the more fun.
Steve P. Vincent is the author of the Jack Emery series of political thrillers – The Foundation, State of Emergency and Nations Divided. Connect with him on the web, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.