An Interview with Britain’s Next Bestseller
For anyone not familiar with what you do, tell us a little about yourself and Britain’s Next Bestseller
I’m Clare, and I manage the marketing and PR for ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller’ (BNBS). My background is in marketing, I have a marketing degree and around 16 year’s industry experience. Murielle Maupoint is the CEO of BNBS. We have been friends for four years now, we met through our children. She asked me if I would like to join the team and help her launch BNBS, I jumped at the chance and 31st March 2014 saw the birth of a brand new way of publishing.
At BNBS we make it possible for all UK writers to try and publish their book. If they have an unpublished but fully edited manuscript they can submit it through www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk We help them to set-up a page on the site that holds a book trailer, extract, summary, book cover and author bio. We agree a pre-order target and deadline (usually around 250 books in 8 to 16 weeks). If they meet these targets they are guaranteed a book deal with industry leading royalties.
What inspired the birth of Britain’s Next Bestseller?
Murielle has worked in publishing for years. She had grown tired of seeing the same big brand authors dominating the shelves. New writers aren’t taken seriously enough.
Many authors that are lucky enough to get published are only making pennies per book sold. Independent bookshops are shutting down. It has become an industry that is dominated by the big players. Murielle decided it was time for change, time to put the author first. She wanted to make it fairer, more profitable and faster for them to get published. She also wanted to empower the readers to choose the books the get published – after-all they are the ones that are going to read them!
What do you think Britain’s Next Bestseller offers writers that other traditional publishing houses don’t?
Lots of things. We empower all UK authors to have a shot at getting published. We offer emotional as well as professional support. We provide all the help our authors need throughout their campaign, including help to grow their following via social media and press. Whilst we would obviously love all our authors to secure a book deal, if they don’t hit their targets we won’t publish them. We are there for all our authors, those that get a deal with us and those that don’t.
We pay industry leading royalties. We want publishing to be profitable for everyone concerned, primarily the author as it is their hard work, dreams and passion that makes the book in the first place.
We are fast. From the end of the pre-order campaign it typically takes 12 weeks to see the author’s dream develop from manuscript to printed masterpiece. This is much faster than the typical publish houses.
We don’t forget the reader. We empower them to choose who we print. They get to browse new fresh material and hunt out a bestseller. As a thank you for placing a pre-order they get their name printed in every copy and receive it two weeks before main distribution. And they get to feel good knowing that they have helped launch a career.
How has Britain’s Next Bestseller been received so far?
Very well. We have had a constant flow of very exciting manuscripts. In just the first 3 ½ months of business 10 authors have been awarded publishing deals. Ryan Mark author of “Tremor” a dystopian and post-apocalyptic novel smashed his target in just 8 days. By the end of his campaign he had hit 135% against target. On 28th July – Amazon listed his book as the Number 1 seller of Amazon’s Sci-Fi Dystopian Hot New Releases. We have a good following on both Facebook and Twitter which is growing daily. We were even lucky enough to have Stephen Fry tweet a couple of times about one of our young authors, trying to drum up support for his book. We are very happy with how it is all going so far.
Britain’s Next Bestseller is an exciting venture and we have enjoyed seeing it grow – are there any particular genres that you haven’t received submissions for that you would like to?
Thank you! That’s an interesting question. In many ways it’s more about the authors that are suited to BNBS than the book genre.
I guess the simple answer would have been that we love to see all genres. BNBS are all about making writing accessible to all writers and books accessible to all readers. Having said that we haven’t had any books through from LGB writers or any books of that genre so we would love to see some coming through. The 10 publishing deals that we have awarded have covered a variety of genres – post-apocalyptic; children’s; crime; personal development; historical fiction; self-help and non-fiction. The BNBS model can work for any genre if the writer is up for it so are we!
Have you had a favourite submission so far? If so, what is it and why is it your favourite?
On a personal level my favourite submission was ‘Tremor’ by Ryan Mark. Whilst the book is very well written the reason for it being my favourite is actually nothing to do with the book, more the author. Ryan is a young author, and whilst he has always loved writing he has never published anything before. He approached the launch of his BNBS campaign with such enthusiasm, energy and professionalism that it was a pleasure to see him hit his target in just 8 days. He had decided that he wanted to achieve 50% of his target within the first 48 hours of his campaign. So he got a group of mates together that he called his “street team”. He bought a load of pizzas and some beers. Briefed them on his book and then they spent all weekend on their laptops promoting his book to their entire networks. By the end of that first weekend he had exceeded 50% of his target. Another 6 days later he had smashed his target and secured a book deal with industry leading royalties. It was exciting to watch. Interestingly he doesn’t have a massive twitter following. The key to his success was planning and not being afraid to ask his immediate network to help him.
Many hands make light work as they say!
What are your favourite 3 books and why?
This is a very tricky question, I’m allowed just 3? There are 100’s of books I could list as favourites but I guess for me it’s about the books that are most memorable. The ones that never leave you. The first time I read ‘the diary of Anne Frank’ I was around 12/13. That book completely rocked my world when I read it. In fact it always will. She started writing her diary on her 13th birthday so I felt I could really relate to a lot of the “normal” teenage things she was going through although under hideous circumstances. I found her diary both fascinating and heart-breaking, both emotions intensified because we were the same age.
On a lighter note I loved Enid Blyton’s ‘The Faraway Tree’ series. I guess for me it was the Harry Potter of my childhood. The series takes place in an enchanted forest with a tree so big its top branches reach the clouds. It is home to lots of magical creatures and lots of adventures ensue. I can remember hungrily reading through the pages and then when I got to the end starting again. It was complete escapism. I never tired of those stories.
I am going to cheat and list two books as my 3rd favourites. Alice Walker’s “The Colour Purple” and Maya Angelou’s ‘I know why the caged bird sings.’ Whilst Walker’s book was fiction and Angelou’s autobiographic they share similarities in that both are about African-American women living under incredibly oppressive circumstances. I found both fictional Celie and Maya to be such formidable characters. Their strength was so inspirational.
What advice could you give anyone looking to get their book published?
Do it! There are so many options out there today there is no reason why you can’t make it happen. Don’t rush into it though, do your research first. It’s about finding the right option for you. If you believe in your book stand by it. Many of the world’s best loved books nearly didn’t make it to our shelves… The authors of the 125+ million bestselling ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ received over 140 rejections because ‘Anthologies don’t sell’. Recent Bailey Prize winner McBride took 9 years to get published as her novel was considered ‘too experimental.’
So be strong. Don’t take rejection personally, in many cases it will have nothing to do with the book and more about the person reading it. Once you have chosen your route to publishing consider the timing. If you can establish an audience for your book before it is published then of course it is more likely to sell. Obviously I would love all writers reading this to submit their manuscripts to us at www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk – sorry that was cheeky 😉 but ultimately it is a very personal decision. A writer’s manuscript is an incredibly precious thing, who they want to publish with is a decision not to be taken lightly. So do your research, be strong and try to enjoy the experience.
What can we expect next from Britain’s Next Bestseller?
Great books and lots of them ☺
Thanks very much to Clare and the rest of the team at Britain’s Next Bestseller!
Do you have a novel that you’re looking to publish but aren’t sure which route to take? Why not check out www.britiansnextbestseller.co.uk and see if they can help you!
They also have some fantastic industry advice on their writing studio from their team and a whole host of industry experts – so what are you waiting for?
You can also follow Britain’s Next Bestseller on Twitter.