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Posted by Kirsty, June 12, 2014

The story behind My Brother is a Superhero

It’s undeniable that having a book on submission is stressful for authors. All that waiting to hear something – anything – from a publisher. But spare a thought for the editor, too. There you are, sat in your garden on a bank holiday Monday, avoiding a very competitive (and rough) family game of football, idling your way through your emails and tuning out the yelling. Your eye is caught by a submission from an agent unknown to you. You like the cut of his jib and you read the first couple of chapters of the submission. You laugh out loud, surprising yourself because you’ve grown quite hard to please over the years.

A ten-year-old footballer shambles past. He’s possibly bleeding but you ignore this. You suggest that you’re reading something he might like and would he have a look for you? He asks how much you’re offering to pay. You don’t rise to this. He sighs and agrees, but only if you’ll take part in a penalty shoot out. You sigh and agree.

A week later, as the bruises fade, an offer is with the agent and your nails are in tatters. There’s other interest (and of course there is, it’s a great book, as the footballer, two other ten-year-olds and four colleagues have agreed) and now it’s YOUR turn to wait to hear something, anything. It’s not good news – there have been two more offers with a potential fourth on its way, and BAM, there you are, in a bidding war.

The troops mobilise, marketing plans are devised, cakes are baked (with great attention to the text and a certain amount of swearing – blue food colouring can be hard to work with) and a meeting date is fixed.

The tension builds and the agent and author arrive. They look slightly alarmed, but the occasion called for bunting and so bunting is what they got. Some time later, they leave (are they still alarmed? Have they been convinced of how much we love the book, how much we want it and what a great job we will do for it?) and the waiting starts again. No one’s nails are looking good now.

It’s the next day and the call for ‘best offers’ comes in. Calculators are produced, brows are furrowed, but everyone knows it’s about gut feel and passion and enthusiasm (as well as money) and the revised offer is made.

More waiting. And then a bit more. Broken up by some pacing.

And then the phone call! And from the author, no less. The waiting is over and the book is ours. Much joy ensues (with a thought spared for those who loved and lost. We’ve all been there and it’s horrible.) But then it’s back to the JOY.

And that is how we come to be publishing My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons. It’s funny, moving and brilliant, and worth all the waiting, baking, nail-chewing and standing in goal being pelted by footballs. Absolutely.

My Brother is a Superhero will be published in Summer 2015, and simultaneously in the US by Viking Children’s Books. You can read The Bookseller’s coverage of the acquisition here – and here’s what everyone else has to say…

David Solomons:
“Finally my immaturity and childish sense of humour have paid off and I am frankly overexcited at the prospect of being published by Nosy Crow. They came at me with passion, ambition and sponge cake. How could I resist?”

Kate Wilson:
“We are hugely proud to have won these books for the Nosy Crow list, particularly in the face of stiff competition from much bigger publishers. At Nosy Crow, we don’t decide to go all-out for many books – it can be the most enormous expenditure of time and energy for an uncertain outcome – but David’s comedy, great voice and nifty plotting united us in our enthusiasm, and we really look forward to communicating that enthusiasm to customers and readers.”

Mark Stanton, Jenny Brown Associates (David’s agent):
“David has written a terrific book – funny, heart-warming and original, with a cast of characters that both boys and girls will love. And in Nosy Crow – energetic, brimming over with enthusiasm, creative and professional – I know we’ve found a house that will publish the book with flair and passion: capeless, but publishing superheroes nonetheless.”

Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Children’s Books:
“With its clever references to comic books and save-the-world plot, My Brother is a Superhero is a love letter to fandom, and one that I believe will attract many fans in its own right.”

And here’s some more from Kirsty:
“The idea behind this book is genius. Luke’s mistake is to take a wee in the right place at the wrong time but while he’s gone, an alien gives his undeserving, never-read-a-comic-in-his-life older brother superpowers and tells him to save the universe. Luke’s sense of the unfairness of it all is hilarious and the way he steps up to help is a joy to read. My Brother is a Superhero is a great book destined for greatness.”

If you’d like to be kept up to date with news about My Brother is a Superhero, exclusive offers and competitions, and the first chance to take a look inside, you can sign up to our Books Newsletter here.