Flying Pigs literary agency
Encouraging & promoting talent
Dear Aspiring Writer,
Before you contact us, there are a few things you need to know. Let’s by getting some terminology straight. The difference between being a writer and being an author is that a writer is someone who writes and an author is someone who produces a manuscript to professional standards for trade publication and then gets paid for it.
Trade publication means getting a deal with a publisher who will negotiate with you some sort of remuneration in exchange for publishing your work.
Trade publication is the second highest compliment that anyone can pay to a writer. It means that a publishing company is willing to take a calculated risk with you and invest time, money and all sorts of other resources to edit, design and print your manuscript in order to turn it into a saleable book and then to market and distribute the book so that it has a fighting chance of competing with all the other thousands of books out there in the real world.
While there is considerable value in getting your work published in any way that you can, if you are really serious about publishing professionally then it’s in your best interest to be focused on money and getting paid for your work right from the start and for the most part, this means getting a deal with a trade publisher.
Publishers are looking for a particular standard and to be able to write to this standard means, as a writer, first dedicating yourself to honing your skills in storytelling and later, as an author, conducting yourself in a professional manner. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. Storytelling is the key. You have to write in a way that gets past overworked editors who see more writing, both good and bad, in a week than most other people do in a year.
If you do get a publishing deal, resourceful publishers will also work hard to develop your profile as an author so that as many people as possible know about you and your work, because frankly no matter how good your writing is, the more famous or popular you are the more likely it is that people will buy your books. In fact, as you well know, if you’re famous enough or if you’ve done something extraordinary enough, it doesn’t matter how well or badly you write, your work will still sell up to whatever point the market decides.
Up until now you’ve probably devoted whatever spare time you’ve been able to spare to writing because you love to write, but if you work hard and play the game right then you’ll get a deal and you may sell a lot of books. The more books you sell, the more money you’ll make. Then, eventually, the time will come where you’re making enough money that you can tell your current boss where they can stick their job. Then you can devote your full time to doing what you’ve been doing for free because you’ll be able to afford to.
And even if your goal is not to make a living doing what you love to do and you only have this one book you want to see out there because ‘this story needs to be told’ then you’ll still want to get a deal because getting published is fun.
However, as fun as it may be for both the author and the publisher, publishing is a business, it’s not a charity.
Publishers are under no obligation to publish your work.
They don’t care if you’ve spent two weeks or twenty years writing your book. They don’t care if your Aunty Mabel or your grandkids love your stories.
They don’t care if the work came through you as easily as breathing, or if you bled for every letter.
They might care a little if at some point in the past someone has published you before.
They might care a little if at some point if you’ve won an award for your writing.
They’ll certainly care if at some point someone published you and the result was a very profitable book for both you and your former publisher, but if you’re reading this you’re probably (but not necessarily) a newbie and this doesn’t apply to you.
What a publisher really cares about is the quality of the finished product that they see before their eyes when they start reading you for the first time.
Different publishers make the decision to publish in various ways. Sometimes it’s a commissioning editor who makes the call, sometimes it’s a publisher, sometimes it’s a publishing committee. Whoever it is, it’s likely to be a very busy person. Sometimes this person is so busy that they get a reader to sort out the wheat from the chaff before they look at anything and this reader could be anyone from an experienced editor to an unpaid intern doing work experience. But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that an editor with the power to say, ‘Yeah’ or ‘Nay’, will be the first person to look at your work.
So, let’s take a moment to step into the mind of a publisher or commissioning editor who works at a successful and busy publishing house. If you’d like to contact us, click ‘Next page’ to continue.
Xavier Waterkeyn established Flying Pigs in 2004 with the aim of providing writers with not just literary agency representation but a range of resources and services in a one-stop shop.
Xavier draws on a team of industry professionals as well as his own skills and experience to appraise and develop manuscripts. The Flying Pigs team draws on the talents and skills of book retailers, marketers and writers to give authors hard-nosed appraisals of their works in the light of commercial realities, and because industry professionals assess the manuscripts the appraisals they make are both informed and current.
Flying Pigs encompass the roles of assessors, editors, advisors and facilitators – services far beyond what most literary agents usually offer.
Xavier Waterkeyn’s eclectic background includes photography, film direction, acting, scriptwriting, editing and marketing. He is the best-selling author of over two dozen published books to date, all released by New Holland. A full list of his books can be viewed here.
Xavier is committed to encouraging and promoting talent and potential wherever he finds it.
His current mission is to get more boys and men reading books.
The name Flying Pigs was inspired by a love for the great pigs of literature – George Orwell’s Napoleon, P.G. Wodehouse’s Empress of Blandings, Babe the Sheep Pig, Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, Piglet in Winnie-the-Pooh and by the aphorism “Pigs will fly” as in “Pigs will fly before your book gets published.”
Well, they’re flying!
“The Time has come,”
the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax –
Of Cabbages and kings –
Of why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”
Lewis Carroll – Through the Looking Glass – 1872