Monday, September 24, 2012


A reader of my book, Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors, kindly emailed me with a summary of his journey towards publication. While already successfully self-published in electronic self-help books about real estate, this is the story of his first venture into fiction. 

On September 19, 2012, Pat Sims wrote:

Way back more than a year ago, I bought your ... book, Book Magic, and I thank you .... I actually took the all the advice and now I am under contract to a [commercial] publisher with a date of publication in the summer of next year.


He continues with some interesting figures for aspiring novelists regarding the outcome of pitching his first novel, Black Locusts:
I wrote to 44 Canadian publishers who I thought would be interested and I received six requests for the full manuscript and two offers. Eleven publishers did not respond. Two publishers I followed up [with] told me my proposal had “fallen through the cracks” and one had lost it all twice!

Note that as first-time fiction author, Pat did not seek a literary agent; in Canada we can approach publishers directly. Presumably the other 26 publishers he queried declined his manuscript for a variety of reasons. His success in getting six (12%) asking to see the full ms and two offers, is higher than average. Usually getting interest from 1% is encouraging.

Pat concludes:
This [will have been] a three year project – one year in writing and editing, one year waiting for publishers to reply to proposals, and one year in preparation for publishing. It’s been a slice.
Thanks again.

Pat's beaten the average time taken from concept to acceptance by a long way. Did you know the average is 11 years for an unpubbed fiction writer to get their first contract. Bravo, Pat!

I should add that Pat Sims's professional website ( shows he is clearly an excellent marketer and an accomplished speaker and trainer who is comfortable in front of large audiences. In other words, publishers are reassured that he is an author who is "promotable" and is also going to be able to sell his first novel. As long as you write well, this is a huge factor in gaining your first trade publishing contract.

Congratulations, Pat!  And, thanks for giving The Beacon Blog permission to quote parts of your email.