How my blog got me a book deal

I’d like to tell you a short story about how my blog helped me get a book deal. Yes, that’s right – with a proper publisher and all that.

The point of this post is to highlight the fact that anything can happen when you start blogging.

Back in 2012, I set up a blog called Derek the Weathersheep which never got a lot of traffic but did get a fairly good following on Facebook. This came in handy when it came to selling books associated with Derek because I had an audience that I could involve them with, not only with the creation of the book, but also in the selling.

One of the ideas I used when I self-published was to create two possible covers, posting them to Facebook, and letting my audience decide which one to use. When it came to publishing the book, my audience felt that they had something invested in the book, making them more likely to buy it.

Another way of helping sales was by building a mailing list. Over time, this turned into a list of several hundred email addresses which proved handy when publication date was upon me. It meant I could let them know that the book was published and with everyone buying on the same day, it rocketed up the Amazon charts. Once it was there, it got its own publicity because it appeared in the Top Ten, which is the first thing that people see when they start searching.

One day, I had a message from a guy called Anthony who asked me if I was the man behind Derek the Weathersheep. We arranged a breakfast in a pub called the Dic Penderyn (a local historical figure) in Merthyr. We weren’t quite sure why we were meeting, apart from the fact that we both loved writing humour. After a three hour meeting where we discussed all kinds of things, it was only when we were leaving that we decided that we should set up a spoof news site. A few hours later, WalesOnCraic was born and that was my blog that went totally viral.

Fast forward 18 months, and although Anthony had started penning posts for WalesOnCraic, he already had a book deal that he had to work on, leaving me to take the project on as my own.

I was out walking the dog one morning when I had a phone call from Anthony. He’d been approached by a publisher to write a series of historical children’s books but thought that it might work better as a team effort. We met up with the publisher over (yet another) breakfast and after a good chat about what was expected, we signed on the dotted line. We’d got ourselves a book deal.

It’s not a hugely dramatic story but it is a true one. I’d also like to think that things can progress from here – now that someone else is marketing one of my books, who knows where things could lead.

And this isn’t a story to pat me on the back. I still haven’t achieved some of the things that I want to achieve but getting a book deal was something I wanted since I was a teenager.

It just goes to show where a blog can lead. Where could your blog lead you?

By the way, if you want to check out the first book of my book deal, you can find it here. And the name of the book?

Dic Penderyn.

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