Ben Graff

Author of The Greenbecker Gambit

The Greenbecker Gambit has just come out in Conrad Press colours. I am delighted to be a Conrad Press author and wanted to share why…


(1) The quality of the people you get to work with

What initially attracted me to The Conrad Press was the opportunity to work with James. I had read James’s book, Spellbound: The Surprising Origins and Astonishing Secrets of English Spelling and thought it was outstanding. Very few publishing houses (irrespective of model) are run by a writer of James’s talent. I leapt at the chance to collaborate with him. From day one, I always knew that James got my book as a fellow writer. This has been at the core of our working relationship and isn’t something that can be easily replicated elsewhere. I always envisaged a partnership where I would hopefully grow and develop with James’s help over a number of novels. I very much still do. I know with James’s support, I will become a better (and better known) author. Opportunities like this are to be cherished.

More prosaically but sill important, other publishing houses will tell you that your novel or back cover or draft press release is marvellous, not so much because it is but because they don’t know how to improve it. James’s gave me some great technical advice on the paragraph structure of The Greenbecker Gambit, in terms of breaking the passages up to make the book run faster, which made a big difference. To give one other example, if you google the words on the back covers of my two books, there is no question that one is miles better than the other. That’s very much down to James.

What I didn’t know at the outset (but very much do now) is how good the people around James are. Charlotte’s artwork is incredible. My cover was perfect at the first iteration and the number of people who tell me how much they love it keeps on growing. I obviously love it too!! Her typesetting is also brilliant and painless. I feel very indebted to her patience and professionalism. Fran’s editing work was also of the highest quality. I just feel in these three we are lucky enough to be collaborating with real book people at the top of their game.


(2) Knowing the industry

Books are not an easy sell. James’s credentials again far exceed the pack. He really gives us Conrad Press writers the opportunity to make the most of our work. I’ve already learnt (and put into practice) a lot of tips and advice from James. Journalists at two national papers are currently reading my book (fingers crossed they do something with it!!) but the point is I have already got it in the hands of more influencers after a month than I did in my whole time with Matador. Advice from James and Fran really helped on this front. James has achieved great things and is perfectly placed to help us strive toward our goals. Not many other publishing proprietors can say that.


(3) Value for money

The Conrad Press is far cheaper and the business model more favourable for writers than anywhere else I know. I don’t want to get too much into specifics, but James offers a ridiculously good deal. Trust me on this one.


(4) The Conrad Press Community

I never spoke to another Matador writer during my time with them. James has brought together a talented community, where we can all grow together. I’ve already read interesting books by other Conrad Press authors and have started to build relationships with a number of you. Writing can be a tough and lonely game on occasion. Knowing you are part of a group of like minded people is something I have never had before.


(5) Finally…

This is what traditional publishing feels like. Working with someone who cares about you and your book, not because you are paying them but because it is good. That in a nutshell is what James and The Conrad Press has to offer.

James, Charlotte, Fran – I thank you all.

I certainly won’t be going anywhere else!

Malcolm Whitney (pen-name George Tobyn)

Author of The American Project

I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to get my book printed and distributed. You have managed to get all the people involved to cut their times so that from 23 July, when you offered me a contract, to the 14 Sept when I received my 50 free copies for personal distribution, was less than two months. Surely that must be a record. I have been reading complaints that other publishing houses do not keep to their promises and take well over 6 months to get to this stage. Please also pass on my thanks to Nat, Rachel for their input and Leyla from Clays for cutting down the normal printing time.