Brian Price’s Publication Journey
Brian Price’s Publication Journey
Welcome to Brian Price’s Publication Journey, another in the occasional series of guest posts by authors who reveal their journey to getting published. Brian’s journey led him to successful independent publishers Hobeck Books and a ‘Chill with a Book’ Premier Readers’ award.
Over to Brian:
Publication Journey by Brian Price
I suppose it really started with Crimefest, in 2016, although it has its roots much earlier, when a friend lent me a copy of Leslie Charteris’s Featuring the Saint. I was ten at the time. From that point on, I became an avid reader of crime stories, some of which my parents, and headteacher, heartily disapproved of. I never dreamed of being a writer, though: I had fixed my sights on the sciences rather than the arts.
Crimefest opened my eyes. I sort of assumed that leading crime writers would be up on pedestals, like film stars, unapproachable and distant. I was pleasantly surprised to find them friendly, welcoming people, chatting to fans and fellow writers in the bar. I’d had such pleasure from reading crime that I thought it might be nice to “give something back.”
By then I was a qualified chemist and biologist, and was often annoyed about simple errors of science which crept into many novels. So, I set up a website (www.crimewriterscience.co.uk) which gives writers tips on such matters as poisons, knockouts, firearms, body disposal and DNA. I also offered my services as an advisor on crime science to writers, and have been able to help a number of leading authors. My wife then suggested I should write a book, greatly expanding the material on the website, and so, at the third attempt, I found a publisher. Crime writing: how to write the science was published by Studymates towards the end of 2019 and has attracted some very favourable comments.
I hadn’t really considered writing a novel, although I did dabble with some short stories. Then I entered a competition for the best opening line for a crime book, run by the Facebook group Crime Fiction Coach. My entry, ‘The small, grey-haired woman grimaced as she entered the police station, dragging a tartan shopping trolley containing her husband’s head.’ won! Someone commented that she couldn’t wait to read the rest, so I had no alternative. I had to write the book.
Eventually, a manuscript emerged, and I had it professionally critiqued – an extremely valuable exercise. I then started on the slog of submitting pitch letters, synopses and sample chapters to agents and publishers. I had no illusions that I would be snapped up instantly but, after thirty or so rejections (some bland, some encouraging), I was beginning to consider self-publishing. I knew I lacked some of the skills needed for that but I was prepared to give it a go. Then I had a request for the full manuscript. Hobeck Books were interested!
Time passed, and I began to wonder if the book wasn’t up to scratch. Then I had an email from Hobeck, apologising for the lockdown-induced delay, saying that they liked what they had read so far but hadn’t had time to finish it. Was I still interested? I was touched by this friendly missive and eagerly confirmed that I was. Shortly after Christmas 2020 I received a contract, and Fatal Trade appeared in September 2021, receiving some great reviews from the advance readers team and on Amazon. It went on to win a Chill With a Book Premier Readers’ Award.
Publishing with Hobeck was, and still is, a brilliant experience and I soon got stuck in to a sequel. Fatal Hate was published in April 2022 and a third book, Fatal Dose, is due out in early 2023.
I’m conscious that I had a slightly easier journey to publication than some writers. After all the rejections, I had the good luck to submit to the right publisher at the right time. So much seems to depend on your work striking a chord with an individual, be they an agent or a commissioning editor, so just because someone (OK, thirty people) rejects your proposal, it doesn’t necessarily mean the book is unpublishable. It can be a long and frustrating journey, from idea to print, but it’s worth it in the end.
Brian Price is a writer living in the South West of England. A scientist by training, he worked for the Environment Agency for twelve years and has also worked as an environmental consultant, a pharmacy technician and, for 26 years, as an Open University tutor.
He has two novels in print (Fatal Trade and Fatal Hate) and a third will be published in early 2023. He is the author of Crime writing: How to write the science as well as a number of published short stories. He advises fellow writers on how to avoid scientific mistakes in their books and gives talks on this topic to a variety of audiences.
He reads a wide range of crime fiction and also enjoys Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman. He may sometimes be found listening to rock, folk and 1960s psychedelic music. He is married and has four grown-up children.
Facebook: Brian Price
About Brian’s Books
Crime writing: How to write the science
“This is an invaluable resource for any crime writer” Leigh Russell, million-selling author of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series
“A fast-paced, edge of your seat thriller from a major new talent. Gripping stuff” David Mark, bestselling author of the Aector McAvoy series
“This is high quality crime writing. Recommended” M.W.Craven, award-winning author of the Poe and Tilly series
I hope you enjoyed Brian Price’s Publication Journey. Here are links to previous authors who have written their Publication Journey stories for the blog: