LONDON, November 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Everyone dreams of writing a best-seller, but for most people, that's where the idea ends. For those brave enough to face the hard work of completing a manuscript, there's an even tougher challenge ahead - selling your work.
"The writing is often the easiest part" says literary agent Peter Cox, who has shepherded many best-sellers to success. "The hardest part can be selling your manuscript to an agent or publisher. Our industry", Cox continues, "is not very good at picking bestsellers. Just look at Harry Potter, which nearly didn't get published at all."
Frustrated by the shortcomings of the traditional slush-pile, Cox did something drastic - he started Litopia, a community for serious but unpublished writers. "It's was a pretty radical step", he says, "but I no longer accept any unsolicited submissions at all. If you want to show me your work, you have to join Litopia first. It's free, but not everyone's work gets past the selection committee."
Once a writer is inside, they are expected to go through an intensive process of manuscript criticism, culminating in pitching to Cox directly. "Everyone's manuscript improves here", he says, "and everyone learns a huge amount about selling their work."
Cox, who was a best-selling writer himself before turning agent (the multi-million selling "Linda McCartney's Home Cooking" was one of his) is not looking to turn a quick buck out of Litopia. "For me, it's as much a labour of love as anything else", he says. "True, I've acquired some very good clients from Litopia. But mainly, I feel as if we're providing something that many writers desperately need - a strongly supportive community - writing can be a very lonely business - and a place where talent is honed. It's a sweatshop, but a nice one."
The latest Litopia innovation is the Litopia podcast. Hosted by Cox, it features how-to interviews with leading authors, top publishers and dramatic readings of members' works. The current edition features interviews with James W Hall, the author of bestselling 15 novels and Professor of Literature and Writing at Florida International University, and a discussion with one of the most powerful figures in British children's publishing, Sarah Davies, the recent head of Macmillan Children's Books.
"The Litopia podcast is for all writers, everywhere", says Cox. "Like the Colony itself, it's free and intended to provide both great advice and a feeling of community. I love doing it, and the response has been terrific."
So stop dreaming, start writing and join Litopia Writers' Colony - it's tough, free and may just make a best-selling author of you!
Notes for Editors:
- Litopia Writers' Colony and the Litopia podcast can be found at http://www.litopia.com/
- Peter Cox is managing director of The Redhammer Management Ltd, http://www.redhammer.info/
- Photographs of Peter Cox here: http://www.redhammer.info/media_information
"Litopia" is a registered trademark
Contact: Peter Cox, firstname.lastname@example.org, Desk line +44-(0)20-7486-3465 (from the US 011-44-20-7486-3465); Cell +44-(0)7879-488-580 (from the US 011-44-7879-488-580); New York line +1-646-257-3989, The Redhammer Management Ltd, 186 Bickenhall Mansions, Bickenhall Street, London W1U 6BX