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Vicar's black magi
c works £3.5m deal

Alexis Akwagyiram
Tuesday April 20, 2004
The Guardian

Rev Graham Taylor
Word-of-mouth success: Graham Taylor

A vicar-turned-author who sold his motorbike to publish his first book has signed a £3.5m publishing deal for his next six novels.

The Rev Graham Taylor was responsible for an unexpected literary hit last year with his debut, Shadowmancer.

The book, a children's parable of the battle between good and evil, was critically acclaimed and likened to Harry Potter.

When publishers Faber snapped up the book, it spent 15 weeks at the top of the British book charts, making Mr Taylor a millionaire and much sought-after literary talent. He sold the US rights for £314,000 - said to be more than three times JKRowling's US advance for the first Harry Potter story.

His second book, Wormwood, is due out in June.

The father-of-three has signed a four-year deal with Faber in the UK and Putnam in America, which is part of the Penguin group.

Penguin's Doug Whiteman told the Sun newspaper: "We're thrilled to be contracting for more books with the man who has already taken England by storm."

Mr Taylor, 43, from Cloughton in North Yorkshire, did not begin to write until he was middle-aged.

When he completed the manuscript for Shadowmancer, he was advised that no publisher would be interested in a parable about Christianity and black magic set in the 18th century.

He decided to ignore the doubters and published it himself for £3,500.

The novel's popularity spread by word-of-mouth as parishioners, friends and neighbours recommended it to fellow readers.

The film rights for Shadowmancer were recently sold for £2.25m, taking the vicar's total earnings to £6m.

In November he relinquished his parish after having had health problems, choosing to work as a locum.

Next month he will embark on a publicity tour of the US to raise his international profile.

Best Selling Author G.P. Taylor Extends Commitment to

Penguin Group (USA) and Faber & Faber in a Multi-book Deal


Wednesday, April 14, 2004, New York, NY --  Best selling vicar-turned-author, G. P. Taylor, signed a multi-book deal, continuing his relationship with Penguin Young Readers Group in the United States and Faber & Faber in the United Kingdom.  The deal was brokered by Nancy Paulsen, President and Publisher of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group (USA), and at Faber & Faber, Suzy Jenvey, Children’s Editorial Director and Tara Hiatt, Acting Rights Director.

            Going forward, starting in 2005, Penguin and Faber & Faber plan to publish one new hardcover each year, simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K.  The deal gives Penguin Young Readers Group North American rights. 

The first book by G. P. (Graham) Taylor, Shadowmancer, spent 15 weeks at #1 on the paperback best seller list in Britain and remains on the list today.  This swashbuckling adventure story has been translated into nearly 20 languages.  The United States has gone back to print two times before on sale and is poised to get out an unprecedented number of hardcover books (on sale April 27).  Media hype in the U.S. is also building with appearances on A-list national television, radio and print already booked for Taylor’s visit in May.   Daily Variety recently announced a $6 million film deal for Shadowmancer with Fortitude Films.     G.P. Taylor’s second book, Wormwood, will go on sale in England this summer and in the U.S. this fall.

            Doug Whiteman, Executive Vice President of Penguin Group (USA), President of Penguin Young Readers Group has this to say about the opportunity to sign on this blockbuster for additional books, “It's been a long time since I've seen the kind of pre-publication excitement that we're seeing about Shadowmancer right now.  We are thrilled to be contracting for more books with the man who has already taken England by storm, and is about to do the same thing here in the U.S.”.  Nancy Paulsen comments on the continuing relationship she has cemented with this author and with Faber & Faber, “It’s unusual to be contracting for additional titles a month before publishing even the very first.  But I have met Graham and I have just finished working with him on his second book, Wormwood.  Like Shadowmancer, it is seeped in atmosphere and is suspenseful storytelling at its finest.  We are sure with Graham that we have an author with a unique and fertile imagination, who is also a delight to work with and so we decided to celebrate that by extending our contracts.  We look forward to a long and happy relationship with Graham Taylor and with Faber & Faber.”.    The author adds, “Over the last year I have been made so welcome by Faber and Putnam that an offer to work with them for further books couldn't be turned down. I have a very close working relationship with the editorial staff that had enhanced my confidence as a writer. Both publishers are looking at my work as a long term project and it's amazing that I should be given this superb opportunity so early in my career.  I look forward to be with them in ten books time and beyond.”

            G. P. Taylor is the Vicar of Cloughton in Yorkshire, England.  His career has spanned many areas including rock music, social work, and ten years on the police force.  He now divides his time between writing and his clergy.  He is scheduled to arrive in the United States on May 7 for media and book signing events to promote Shadowmancer.