Getting A Book Deal And Launching A Bestselling Non-Fiction Book With Marianne Cantwell
Marianne Cantwell is an author, speaker and entrepreneur, making a living with a free range, location-independent life. Her new book is Be A Free Range Human — Escape the 9-5, Create a life you love and still pay the bills (or on Amazon.co.uk here).
You can watch the video interview here, or listen to the audio in the player above, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or listen to the backlist here (150+ episodes).
How Marianne got started. Marianne has always been a voracious reader and created stories in her life from a young age. She did a Creative Writing degree but then went into a ‘proper’ job with media, marketing and management consultancy. She put aside her writing for a number of years until, as part of her own career change adventure, she started a blog, Free Range Humans which kick-started her writing again. We both agree that if you don’t know what to do with your life then starting a blog is a great way to work it out!
Marianne’s latest blog post states that her business is based on writing and that writing is not a waste of your time. She explains how writing has been indirectly responsible for her income, and that until the recent book, she hasn’t been directly paid for writing. She has an email newsletter weekly as well as writing articles to attract her target market on the blog. All her clients have come from people who have liked her writing enough to find out more.
What is a Free Range Human anyway? A few years ago, Marianne was working in the city of London and commuting on the Tube, packed into crowded transport with lots of miserable commuters. During the summer, the temperature gets so high that, if animals were inside, the rights campaigners would be up in arms. Marianne thought about the much happier free range animals out there, and decided she wanted to be a Free Range Human. She started the blog and the name stuck. Now she helps people figure out what they want to do with their life and make money from it, as well as considering the option of location independence.
Getting a book deal and working with a publisher
How Marianne got a book deal, even though she didn’t really want one. A few years ago, her site did get noticed and she did start talks with a major UK publisher but it turned out they wanted her as an author, but only did it their way. This negative experience with publishing put Marianne off, preferring the freedom of blogging. About 18 months later, a publisher approached her but that person had been on her email list for several months, so she “got” Marianne’s message and unique voice, giving her more freedom and an expansion of her message in a book format. It’s important to be able to commit to the book for the long term so you have to be happy with your publishing partnership.
Marianne talks about the experience of publishing as up and down during the process. She didn’t like not being able to control the title or the cover design, but she is still glad the book is out there, and the publisher has let her put the book she wanted to write into the world. She feels it does give her a bigger reach than she could do alone. On balance, it is a positive thing and thinks her publisher is amazing, despite their battles!
Marianne went into the publishing process with her media and marketing hat on, and with a business discussion in mind. Part of the reason she was even approached was her marketing ability and her existing audience through the blog. She used her knowledge of what the publisher wanted to bargain for some of the things she wanted as part of the deal. A big part of marketing is writing a book that people want.
Publishers love comparisons, so never think your book is unique. Make sure you can name 3 other titles your book is like, which empowers the team to market your book internally.
You will be asked about your existing platform, so include your own mailing list numbers and social networks, but also think about your broader network and contacts e.g. I know these other influential people and these are THEIR followings. So you have access to far more people than are just on your email list if you connect through other networks.
They will also look at media profile, but the focus is on your ability to be promotable, so look at how you would respond to interviews or speaking live. Some publishers want their authors to talk in public or speak to journalists. Being presentable and media savvy is always a bonus and will help your pitch..