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TV promotion gets authors published

19 September 2005

Richard and Judy’s book club has been one of the great successes of the past two years, showing, as Oprah Winfrey has done in the States, how television can really help to bring books to a wider audience. The authors involved have seen huge increases in their sales but publishers have also been pleased to find improvements in their sales figures as a whole, although the benefit has of course focused on the titles chosen.

Richard and Judy’s latest promotion has had an interesting outcome. Their How To Get Published competition has been a huge success. The plan was straightforward - to find a really good new writer who would get a £50,000 advance and then to promote the book on air through Richard and Judy. The pent-up desire of thousands of authors' to get published was such that the competition had no less than 46,000 submissions, which had to consist of a first chapter and a synopsis of the rest.

Anyone in the book business would expect to find a lot of unpublishable material amongst such a large number of submissions, but in the event what has actually happened is much more cheering than anyone could have imagined. The winner was Christine Aziz, whose book The Olive Readers will be published on 7th October. But the publishers, Pan MacmillanOne of largest fiction and non-fiction book publishers in UK; includes imprints of Pan, Picador and Macmillan Children’s Books, were so impressed by the entries that they have awarded not one publishing contract but seven. So for seven unpublished writers their dream will come true.

Although the R & J publicity will help, the publisher says that it is only doing this because it thinks that the books are worth publishing. Maria Rejt, publishing director, says: 'I hope we have bought authors who will stay with Macmillan and go on to have wonderful writing careers. I'm not interested in publishing one-off books. I'm interested in building careers.'