Bestselling horse books have shown the public’s enormous fascination with the glamorous equestrian scene. Entertaining, well written fiction set in the equestrian world sells – and sells well.
But getting published is no easy feat, as many would-be authors who have received a curt rejection from publishers will know.
Many well-known and loved books have been written by authors who have been rejected by publishers at some stage of their career. The reality of the traditional publishing world is that companies often receive hundreds of manuscripts from writers, most of which will never be published. We all know the amazing success of the Harry Potter series, making fortunes for both J K Rowling, her agent, publisher and the film world, but the first book was rejected over and over again.
As Lavender and White Publishing Editorial Director Jacqueline Smalley explains: “Anyone who had written a book would have to approach a publisher and persuade them to read the first three chapters of the book, along with a synopsis and the author’s biography. Eventually they would get around to looking at the book and inevitably reject it.”
But the face of publishing is changing, with many talented authors turning to self-publishing.
E-book downloads revolutionised the book publishing industry and have given rise to a multitude of e-publishing companies with multitudes of e-books of every genre.
There comes the next problem for a writer – once their e-book has been published, how do readers find it among the huge number of e-book sites available? Currently these types of books are displayed with general fiction titles, meaning that many sales opportunities are missed.
“This is where Lavender and White Publishing comes in,” continues Smalley. “The e-book explosion of the last few years has meant huge changes; now more and more new authors have a vehicle which allows their work to be seen. Publishers are no longer constrained by the huge costs of producing a book, something which has been a delight to me as I can give rein to talent that would previously have been overlooked.”
Smalley’s love for her work shines through as she talks about her job. “I really do know how lucky I am to have a career in the publishing industry,” she says.
“We specialise in equestrian books, fiction and non-fiction and are actively looking for experienced and new writers to join us – both to place unpublished books on the company web site, or to let us help with the writing of a book. We have a wonderful niche market in equestrian titles, both fiction and non-fiction. I thrive on discovering new talent. Reading a manuscript that sucks you in and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up is a feeling that is second to none. I’m looking for books of every genre, crime, fantasy, contemporary, horror, anything just as long as the backdrop is the equestrian world, or the story features a horse.”
Smalley has a clear idea of what she is looking for. “It may sound like a cliché but I’m looking for compelling storytelling, quality writing, strong central characters, good writing and a narrative that hooks me in and keeps my interest right to the end.
“I want to read about horses I’d love to ride, worlds I’d love to belong to, characters who I feel I know, books which will travel across the world and be bought by readers worldwide. There is no formula to what will make a bestseller, but good storytelling never goes out of fashion. I love stories about women overcoming overwhelming odds, strong characters that I can admire and long to meet. I never really know what I want to work with until it appears in my in-box,” Smalley says.
The company isn’t restricted to fiction titles; it’s also open to non-fiction and how-to books, as long as they are “well written, from an author with a unique and knowledgeable voice”.
But there is a downside to the new publishing revolution, Smalley says. “Unfortunately, because of the ease of e-book publishing, many books are available online which should never have seen the light of day. Badly written and full of errors, they do interminable damage to a potentially good author’s career.
“I’m fortunate to be working with a fabulous team; we all have many years’ experience in their respective fields of editing, design and IT. All of the team have had a life time of involvement with horses, as owners and competitors and have a thorough knowledge of both the publishing and equestrian industries.
“Books are the only thing we love more than our horses!”
Smalley, a writer and editor with more than 15 years’ experience in the industry, says the new company came about from the combination of a longing to share top quality equestrian content with a world-wide audience and also to help talented authors find a platform for their work.
“While most publishers are turning away we are actively looking for talented equestrian authors, even new writers. Our aim is to put together a superb collection of downloadable equestrian fiction and non-fiction.
“We are also looking forward to nurturing the careers of talented authors and hopefully finding the J K Rowling or E L James of equestrian fiction.”