Monday, 9 March 2020

What can you do with your Pocket Novel?

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 PageFacebook Author PageFacebookInstagram , Blog or twitter.

If anyone is interested in the process of writing the pocket novel itself, see this post by Susan Jones.


John Darley said...

What a helpful and thorough article this is from Jenny, thank you very much. I have had a PN published by Ulverscroft but I was unaware of the procedures etc in order to get PLR. Very useful. Thanks too to Patsy for providing this blog, I have often benefited from the information I've read here

ados123 said...

Really helpful information, Jenny. The pay for a pocket novel doesn't seem much compared to a short story so its really good to know what else you can expect/hope to get from your manuscript and all the links and details are especially helpful.
Thanks, Patsy too, for posting.

Nicola Martin said...

Interesting stuff. Thank you!

Carrie said...

Really interesting to read...thanks to Jenny and Patsy. I’m in the process of writing my first PN so it’s good to know that it may have a future if accepted as a PN first.

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thanks Patsy and Jenny for very interesting post, which I think has covered everything including the very helpful staff at PF sales who managed to unearth a further few copies of mine :)

Tracey Walsh said...

Jenny, if you enjoyed touring shops to look at your PN, just wait until you’re touring libraries to see your book on the shelves - such fun!

Liz said...

This is fantastic info, Jenny - thanks so much for sharing.

It's really made me think that writing a PN may be much more worthwhile than I'd previously thought.

And your PN sounds really good, by the way.

Thanks to Patsy, too, for organising this post.

Linda said...

Very helpful information - thanks!

Niddy said...

Great article, Jenny. I had my first Pocket Novel published by Ulverscroft this month and was delighted when my free copies arrived - I loved the cover. I can't wait to register with PLR (in the process of doing so). Would recommend anyone to have a go at both My Weekly and The People's Friend Pocket Novels but do read a few first as they are so very different. Not sure about self publishing, I have looked into it but wonder if it is worth the effort.

Jenny Worstall said...

Thanks to all for their appreciative comments and of course MASSIVE thanks to Patsy for this and for all the other brilliantly helpful advice on her Womag Blog. It really is an invaluable resource.
John - glad it helped you with PLR.
Alyson - yes, the pay doesn't really make sense when compared per word with a short story, so it's good PNs have an 'after-life'. I do think also that PNs are quicker to write per page, if you see what I mean. Once you start writing a novella, the words flow and it doesn't seem to need the same sort of forensic re-examination that a short story demands. It can take an awfully long time to write a short story! (or maybe it's just me...?).
Carrie - good luck with your PN!
Tracey - can't wait to tour the libraries! My first self-published novel is already in our local library but ONLY because I donated a copy. They said they used to have money to buy novels by local authors but due to know the rest.
Liz - a very kind comment. Thank you.
Thanks again to Patsy who selflessly gives up so much time to this blog. It was only when I was trying to put something together last Saturday for the article that I fully appreciated how extremely time consuming it is. Patsy - we all owe you a lot! And we're really grateful.

Lynn Love said...

This terrifically helpful - thank you, Jenny and Patsy. I've had serials and short stories published by PF but wondered why anyone would bother with a PN as the rates work out less than the other ways to submit. Now I know why! Really great tips - thanks so much

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's great you are getting a lot of mileage out of that story.
I'm not sure how I'd feel about so many copies remaining either!

Alan C. Williams said...

A comprehensive and informative post, Jenny. And thanks for the mention. Great to read about your personal journey with Ulverscroft. They are very supportive of us Pocket Novelists/

Carolb said...

Thank you Jenny and Patsy for this detailed post and links, it's been helpful and informative.

Patsy said...

@ Jenny – Thank you for this interesting and useful post. If I get an idea which I think would suit a PN, I'd definitely give it a try.

@ Everyone else – thank you for your comments!

Della G said...

Thanks Jenny. That was a great post. It's been a while since I was in touch with Ulverscroft but they are lovely to work with.
Thank you.

Jill Barry said...

Thanks, Jenny for your very comprehensive post. You know I loved 'Three Hundred Bridesmaids'- thank you too, Patsy, for keeping Womagwriter updated.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your article Jenny. I have had three pocket novels published with another one coming out in August and another accepted. I have also had one accepted by Ulverscroft. How do I go about publishing my pocket novels on line? Any help and advice would be brilliant!

Debbie (Chase)

Patsy said...

@ Debbie – There's an article on this blog explaining how to go about publishing an ebook with Amazon – which is the cheapest (free) way of making it available for sale online.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Patsy. I will have a look at that and attempt to put my pocket novels online.