How one talented author has secured her debut publishing deal through the power of Twitter

By ‎@JuliaWhite‎
Friday, 26 February 2016

Twitter has long been the place for storytelling. And now one talented author has secured her debut publishing deal through the power of the platform.

Budding writer Laura McVeigh (@lcmcveigh) pitched her idea for a novel in a Tweet to literary agents Curtis Brown (@CBGBooks) as part of their monthly #PitchCB initiative.

Last month the hashtag - which invites aspiring authors to pitch their novels to agents using just 140 characters - received more than 17.5m impressions on the platform.

Laura’s Tweet was noticed and ‘liked’ by CEO Jonny Geller and now her book will be published by Two Roads (@TwoRoadsBooks) in Spring 2017. Curtis Brown has received offers to publish in five territories already, including inked deals in Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The Almond Tree is a heart-breaking story of a family fleeing the Taliban in the 1990s, taking refuge on the never ending journey of the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia, told by Samar, a 15 year old girl. Samar’s love of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and ability to tell herself stories keeps her sanity and ultimately saves her life.

Jonny Geller, Joint-CEO of Curtis Brown said: “We had hoped to find talented new writers with the Twitter #PitchCB venture, but to find a writer as assured and gifted as Laura McVeigh was beyond my wildest imaginings.

The Almond Tree sings as a novel – a heart-breaking story told from the perspective of a teenage girl who survives war and fundamentalism in Afghanistan whilst living on the Trans-Siberian Express – is one of the best debuts I’ve read for a long while.

“It is no surprise to find international publishers jumping at this new talent. I hope it gives hope to all aspiring writers that we are looking for new voices and they can come from Twitter”.

Laura told Twitter: “Last summer I had finished the draft of my first novel, The Almond Tree, and had just started working on my second book, The Plantation House when I heard an interview with Becky Ritchie from Curtis Brown on Radio4’s You and Yours programme. They were talking about a new Twitter initiative for aspiring writers called #PitchCB. Listeners were invited to tweet their novel ideas in 140 characters. An interesting challenge to take. So I did.

“Jonny Geller, CEO at Curtis Brown, ‘liked’ my tweet. I then actually submitted my first novel, The Almond Tree, to Jonny not long after and to a handful of other agents. Jonny immediately asked to see the rest of the manuscript and a couple of days later we met.

“I was very lucky to receive offers of representation within a week from most of the agents I approached but Jonny and Curtis Brown stood out. They aren’t afraid to try new, innovative ways of connecting with writers – running Discovery Day and #CBCreative as well. And now The Almond Tree will be published in different languages and countries around the world with thanks to #PitchCB and Twitter!”