, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 218-235
Date: 09 Aug 2012

The Experience of First Time Novelists in the United Kingdom

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Abstract

The role of the author in the publishing process is often overlooked given the momentous changes taking place across the industry. This article considers the experience of those who have had their first novel published by a British publisher. The article is based on the results of an online survey conducted in 2011 among first time novelists. The survey sought to understand from the author’s perspective the interaction between author, publisher and agent across the publishing process. The survey asked how authors discovered their agent, what publishers were selected and why, what editorial work was carried out on the manuscript after the publishers accepted it, how authors judged the work undertaken by the publisher and how the book was promoted. The survey questioned authors about their backgrounds and their careers after the first novel was published. Given the importance of the agent in trade publishing in the UK the research suggests that for the majority of authors the agent is their ‘go to’ place for help with commercial aspects of the business.