Today's guest is Jenny Worstall.
In the comments to this post last week some people discussed doing more with pocket novels and Jenny has kindly agreed to share her experiences.
What can you do with your Pocket Novel?
Once you’ve had a pocket novel published, there are two further things you can do with it (well, three if you count visiting as many branches of W H Smith/Tesco/Sainsbury etc as I did to worship my book...). First, you can send it to Ulverscroft to see if they would like to publish it, and second you can self-publish your own original version.
My People’s Friend pocket novel, Love And Lies, was published on 21st March 2019, and I sent an enquiry email to Alex Hamblin at Ulverscroft on the same day, not knowing quite what to expect but having been advised by RNA friends to contact her. Alex replied on 25th March, asking me to send in a copy of the PN (actual physical copy). She said I could send in the MS from my computer, but they would pay more for being able to use the PN (it’s already edited and they have some sort of arrangement with PF). I should mention here that while I was worshipping my PNs in Smiths etc earlier, I also bought quite a few of them, thinking they would be useful at some point, so luckily I had a spare one ready to send off. You can of course buy them from D C Thomson over the phone, but you will pay postage.
At the risk of burbling on, I’m going to add a quick story here. Later, I wanted to buy some more copies of Love And Lies. I had run out of the ones I’d bought before, so I rang D C Thomson (number on the website). A delightful lady answered (yes, with a ‘Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ accent) and I asked if she had any copies of my novel as they were no longer available in the shops. She said she’d have to go down to the basement to check, because sometimes the more popular books sold out. I heard her shoes clicking away into the distance and held my breath. On her return, she told me there were LOTS of copies left and, as you can imagine, I didn’t quite know whether to be pleased or not!
Back to business – by 8th May I’d not heard back from Alex at Ulverscroft, so after further advice from RNA friends, I sent an ultra-polite enquiry. Alex answered on 22nd May with a YES and the offer of £300, saying she’d like to buy Love And Lies for the Linford Romance Imprint. So the time from my first tentative enquiry to acceptance was 8 weeks. The contract was for a large print edition of the book only, and lasts for five years. It also states two author copies will be provided. As soon as I sent the contract back, I was paid. Like D C Thomson, Ulverscroft pay on acceptance, not on publication.
I didn’t know when my book would be published, but I found out from Alan Williams in the Susan Jones Pocket Novel Group on Facebook that you need to check the Ulverscroft site as they gradually put the details up. After compulsively checking every five minutes, I calmed down and then in around November 2019, I was thrilled to see this. (You have to put my name in the search bar after clicking on the Union Jack).
I had a publication date – 1st May 2020 – and a great new blurb for my book. Apparently a few weeks before publication, the book cover (new) will appear too. Can’t wait!
I have recently found out on the grapevine that Alex was standing in for Sarah Quirke, who is now back in charge of PN submission at Ulverscroft. There’s an interesting article here, from the RNA, about Sarah and PNs. It gives her email near the end, in case this is useful for submissions. Although the article is a few year old now, it’s still relevant, EXCEPT the bit about them not setting titles directly from the PN ‘booklets’.
For self-publication, you don’t have to wait until you’ve been published by Ulverscroft, because remember you’ve only sold them the large print rights. Although D C Thomson has published your novel, you still own the copyright and can self-publish, as long as you remember one important thing: you can self-publish your own original version, with your own original title. The edited version is theirs. So, next I decided to self-publish and I’ve already blogged about that here.
Don’t forget to claim ALCS for your Ulverscroft edition (and for your PN too, but that’s as a magazine, not a book). (For more info on ALCS see here.) You can also register for plr (public lending rights) on the large print books.
Thanks Patsy for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s been great fun! If anyone feels remotely interested in my books, please look at my Amazon Author Page, Facebook Author Page, Facebook, Instagram , Blog or twitter.
If anyone is interested in the process of writing the pocket novel itself, see this post by Susan Jones.