Taylor has enjoyed an interesting and varied
life so far. From being involved in the promotional
side of the punk rock scene in London in the 1970s,
to becoming a policeman (not a natural progression),
to becoming a vicar (an even more unlikely progression)
and from there becoming a number one best-selling author!
What made Graham initially put pen to paper?
“A frustration with what was being published at
the time,” he says. And Graham believed he could
do better – a thought that probably many of us
have had ourselves. From this premise, Graham wrote Shadowmancer - a gripping tale that
takes the reader into a world packed full of history,
folklore, magic, and smuggling.
Faber and Faber paid Graham £3.5 million for the
publishing rights to Shadowmancer and
his next six books after strong sales from his own self-published
books – and the film rights were sold for an additional
£2.5 million. Shadowmancer went on to top the
British book charts for an amazing 15 weeks. Not bad
for a self-published, first time author!
The Times newspaper described his book “Shadowmancer”
as “The biggest event in children’s fiction
since Harry Potter.”
We were privileged that Graham agreed to become a director of Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd. and during his time with us he lent his invaluable experiences and knowledge to help our new authors become published at a reasonable price. Before we let him go, we asked him a few questions about how he managed to become the best-selling author he now is, from the very first self-published book:
GHP: Graham, once
you had written Shadowmancer, did you try to get a literary
agent or publisher to read your book?
Graham: No. I’ve heard of so
many writers who have gone through so many rejections
over such a long time that I decided to self-publish
the book straight away.
GHP: How did you go about publishing
your book by yourself?
Graham: I hunted around to find a printer
who would print my book for a reasonable price, and
after finding one, I then looked for a proofreader who
would proofread the manuscript at an equally reasonable
GHP: Once the book was printed, how
did you go about marketing it?
Graham: Firstly, I managed to get the
book available through all the major book wholesalers
and also though the main internet retailers. I then
went to all my local bookshops and offered to do book
signings and got the local papers to write articles
about “the local author” and mention the
signings. From these activities, people started to buy,
read and enjoy the book and most importantly of all,
to recommend the book to their friends.
GHP: What advice would you give to
an unpublished author who is looking to get their work
Graham: Self-publish! You keep control
of your work; you are in control of the marketing of
your book and you’re not working to anybody else’s
timetable but your own. You also keep all the ancillary
rights to your book, such as TV and film rights.
GHP: Where do you see the future of
Graham: I see the internet continuing
to grow rapidly as an important force of retail bookselling.
The major book retail chains are limiting their titles
more and more, thereby offering the buying public less
choice. I also hope there will be a resurgence of locally
owned and operated bookshops that are prepared to offer
a greater range of titles.
GHP: How do you perceive a self-published
book versus a traditionally published book?
Graham: I, and an increasingly growing
number of people, see self-published books on an equal
footing with the books published from the big publishing
houses. You just have to make sure that the end product
is produced professionally and the manuscript has been
proofread to correct all the silly little mistakes that
inevitably are present in an author’s original
GHP: Finally, Graham, what was your
motivation to become a director of Grosvenor House Publishing
Graham: I accepted the invitation to
become a director in Grosvenor House Publishing because
I have wanted to encourage self-publishing ever since
publishing Shadowmancer by myself. It is a difficult
project to publish a book, and then organise the distribution
and promotion of that book, without any “guiding
light” to help you through the process. The whole
procedure can be daunting and seem quite unachievable
to the uninitiated.
Grosvenor House Publishing has put together an effective
vehicle that enables an author to become fully published
with all the distribution and registrations organised
for a very reasonable price. Also, Grosvenor House Publishing
gives the author a very helpful marketing package that
covers all the basic necessities of how to actually
get their book sold to the reading public – which
after all is why we write books.
Graham Taylor has since written two more books, including
Wormwood – another compelling adventure of sorcery,
treachery, intrigue and supernatural struggles, which
has recently been one of only five books to be nominated
for the prestigious American writer’s award known
as “The Quills”. Graham’s third and
latest title is called Tersias and promises to maintain
the tremendous successes of his first two books on both
side of the Atlantic.
How did Graham achieve the success he now enjoys?
He obviously has a great talent for conjuring up wonderful
stories and the energy and discipline to be able to
write those stories in a very readable fashion, but
Graham also possesses one vital ingredient, without
which his marvellous books would still be just ideas.
That ingredient is self-belief. His self-belief is so
strong that he even sold his beloved Harley Davidson
motorbike to fund the printing of his first book, Shadowmancer!