I’m another one of the group who paid out a substantial sum of money to be part of the publishing programme and who so far has had nothing in return. …I’ve been looking at my original contract and thought you might be interested in what it said and what has actually happened. It stated that the programme would include:
A guarantee to get your work published with a top publisher within twelve months or your money back.
So far I haven’t heard anything at all about a possible publisher. However, apparently Imran is now telling some people that top publishers are out because they take too long to publish novels. The publishers he seems to be offering are not much better than self-publishing outfits or they are e book publishers. [HB comment: yes, but anyone who knew anything about publishing would understand publishing timelines from the start. So why offer 'top publishers' if you know you can't deliver? And publishers have long lead times, not because they're lazy but because of retail requirements and because those timelines are needed to guarantee proper editorial & production quality and to build marketing momentum. That's why top publishers are top.]
A senior personal consultant with you throughout the process, who will act as your agent, mentor and will be on call for you to provide support and guidance until you are published.
For the first few months this seemed to be happening -more or less. Then we were told the first group must take priority and we should be patient. Imran would concentrate on us in 2012. Nothing happened in the first few months of this year. Then Imran’s business partner, Zareen dropped out of the enterprise and, to be fair to Imran, he was ill in the summer, allthough I only learnt this from another participant. Imran didn’t contact the group. He never contacts me unless I email him and sometimes he doesn’t bother to reply.
Formal fortnightly planning and review meetings with you until you are published.
Facilitation of meetings and advice from a range of top experts from the publishing arena for you.
We had one meeting in London where some publishers of children’s fiction talked to us. But I don’t write children’ fiction. There should have been another publisher there but they cancelled.
Developing the author as ‘The Brand’.
Oh God! This is the area Imran is most keen on and I had two long meetings with him when this was thoroughly discussed. I absolutely loathe this kind of thing – I would like to be judged by my writing but I gather that nowadays this won’t do. Imran did work very hard to try to make me seem interesting but we didn’t seem able to agree about what interesting meant. He wanted me to emphasise that I’d been married to the same person for a long time. I suppose this indicates a certain stamina but it doesn’t sound like something that would thrill the media.[HB comment: this is just bizarre. Writers need to care about their writing. Publishers will take care of the marketing. And someone's marital status ...? I mean, huh?]
Critiquing and developing your concept.
I didn’t have a ‘concept.’I had a finished novel which had been short listed for the unpublished novel prize in the Britwriters’ 2010 competition. I would have welcomed critical comment but none was offered and Imran admitted he didn’t really know much about writing. [HB comment: er ... so what qualifies him to work with writers?]
Editing (prior to publishing)
I was told the first three chapters of my novel would be professionally edited a year ago. It still hasn’t happened although I gather some people have been edited and found it helpful.
Production of the bookincluding cover design.
A remote prospect. [HB comment: and why is the 'top publisher' not being allowed to do their job? The book cover is emphatically NOT the author's area of expertise or responsibility.]
Sales and marketing strategy.
Ditto. [HB: and ditto from me!]
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About This BlogThis is the house blog of the Writers' Workshop. And you're very welcome. We have have a fair few guest posts (usually by authors or literary agents), but most posts are the work of Harry Bingham, a crime novelist and founder of the WW.
- Agent transparency: an issue for every writer
- 17 Tips on how to commission your ebook cover design
- Average novel wordcount. (And when is YOUR novel too long?)
- How to Start Writing a Novel: the ten things to do right away
- How to edit a novel
- Story Structure: beginnings, middles and ends in the novel
- Giants hitting each other with hammers
- Why Hachette is scared of Amazon – and why Amazon wants better terms
- The 30 screenplays that every screenwriter has to read
- What do authors earn? (or: don’t give up the day job)