Guest post: Chris Chalmers on how he got a publishing deal


There’s a cat-skinning abundance of ways to get published, and over the last eight years I’ve tried most of them. One, at last, has worked.

Last year I entered Five To One in a debut novel competition run by tiny indie, Wink Publishing… Unpublished writers were encouraged to submit the first 50pp of their completed novel, and the half dozen best were put up to an online (…cue BB-style Geordie accent…) public vote.

I was lucky enough to win. Whether for the unparalleled genius of my prose, or the fact I was more bloody-minded about getting anyone I’d so much as lent a biro to since 1989 to vote for me, I wouldn’t like to say. But it worked and it’s here – on Amazon, ready to whisper its way to your Kindle at the touch of a button.

It’s the same Five To One I was drafting for the first of about 30 times in July 2005; the day my other half and I stood in Trafalgar Square to hear that London had been chosen to host the 2012 Olympics. It must have been weighing on my mind, because as we left the square I distinctly remember asking him, “Do you think I’ll be published by the Olympics?”
He said, “Yeah, I do.”

I had a funny feeling I would too. What I didn’t anticipate was the slightly unseemly run-around I was going to get from two literary agents, and the two other books I’d have to write in the interim. But I’ve made it, just, if not quite as I intended. (Wasn’t a kindle still something you did to off-the-boil romances in 2005?). My hope now, via a bit more luck and a dogged marketing push, is that I can use this as a platform to take my latest novel down a less circuitous path to publication.
Then again, the world’s changed. Digi and self-pub aren’t the dirty words they used to be. If I have to go it alone, I will. And there’s always competitions…

2 Replies to “Guest post: Chris Chalmers on how he got a publishing deal”

  1. Hi John

    Thanks for the question.

    The fact is that Wink Publishing only deal in debuts from unpublished authors, so to all intents and purposes I’m back at square one with the next novel. I’m just hoping that a small amount of success will make me a more “viable option” to risk-averse agents who I’ve not been able to persuade to take a punt on me so far. But if it doesn’t work out, as I say, there are now other ways.

    At the moment I’m in the midst of delivering 5,000 promo postcards round Clapham where Five To One is set, as well as arranging readings, an interview and presentations on How I Got Published at companies within my own industry (advertising), as a way of spreading the word. Being seen to be an author who isn’t afraid to get out and do the promo thing is, as we’ve often heard at LWC, a good thing.

    We’ll see! Hope that answers your question.


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