Category: Books

Writing goals for Autumn 2018

I love this time of year: back to school and work and a normal routine after the chaos of the summer holidays. And to keep myself from going crazy waiting to hear back from editors about The Tertiary Code, I've decided to set myself some writing goals for the Autumn. So, in the spirit of keeping busy, I commit to: Writing single day (even if it's only a little bit; even if it's crap) Getting up at 6am on weekdays so I can write for an hour before getting the kids up and getting ready for work Having 28 chapters of Book Two drafted by 18 November, and finishing a first draft by the end of January 2019 Not drinking during the week so I'm clear headed and focused for the early starts! Launching myself as a writing mentor and offering my submission assessment service to support emerging writers What are…

On reworking a book with an agent

I haven't published a blog post for over a year. Instead I've been holed up, avoiding social media, while working on the rewrite of my novel The Tertiary Code. Last year, I signed with my agent, Julie Crisp. Before setting up her  own literacy agency, Julie worked as an editor for over fifteen years in publishing houses all over the world, most recently heading up the UK arm of science fiction and fantasy imprint Tor. During that time, she's worked with an impressive list of bestselling and award-winning authors. Given her background as an editor, it's perhaps not surprising that Julie has a keen eye for what's working - and what isn't - in a manuscript. And her years of acquiring manuscripts for publication gave me confidence she knew a rough diamond when she spotted one in the slush pile. When we first spoke on the phone, Julie warned me…

My #PitMad diary – a practical guide to pitching on Twitter

In early 2016, Authors Publish magazine were looking for a practical how-to article about #PitMad. There was an event on 17 March so I decided to give it a try. This article originally appeared in Authors Publish magazine in April 2016. Update: The book I pitched at #PitMad was Seal Skin. I'm very happy that this middle-grade adventure story is now being published by Mother's Milk Books (planned: 2018). My #PitMad Diary #PitMad is a quarterly Twitter pitch party coordinated by writer and social media guru Brenda Drake. There are several Twitter pitching events out there and they all have slightly different rules and entry requirements. Twitter provides the perfect platform for micro-pitches because of the 140 word character limit per tweet. At #PitMad authors are allowed up to 3 tweet-pitches per day. You are allowed to pitch more than one project, but it must be a finished manuscript which is edited,…

Announcement: THE TERTIARY CODE

I'm very happy to announce that I've recently signed with agent Julie Crisp.  Julie enjoyed a draft of a book I'd been working on - now called THE TERTIARY CODE. Here's what she says about it: 'I am very excited to welcome a new author to the list. For anyone who knows me well, they'll know one of my favourite books of all times is Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale. So much so that I wrote about it at University, many, many moons ago, for my dissertation. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive a submission that read like a YA version for today's social media-obsessed and body conscious teenager. What happens when you find out everything you’ve been taught is a lie? And that you are so much more than you’ve been led to believe? Currently called The Tertiary Code, the story is set in an alternative reality…

Resolutions revisited

Well, 2016 was quite a year, and many others have summed up its highs and lows better than I ever could. So rather than weep about the state of the world I thought I'd take this opportunity to review my New Year's Resolutions from January 2016 and set some new ones for the year ahead. My first two resolutions from last year were to work through the teetering pile of books beside my bed and buy books from independent bookshops or direct from the publishers I’ve certainly read a lot of books this year, although there’s still a pile by my bed and this is constantly refreshed with new books. I'm still in a book group, which nudges me to read books I might otherwise miss. At some point I should do a post about my favourite books of this year, but for now let’s just say I loved Laura Lipman's Wilde…

Guest post: Kristina Adams – From Inspiration to Launch: What Self Publishing My First Book Has Taught Me

I'm delighted to be hosting a guest post from Kristina Adams - author, poet, and blogger from The Writer's Cookbook, a fantastic source of information and inspiration for writers. Last month I published a post on what I learned through having a novel traditionally published, and Kristina reblogged the post on The Writer's Cookbook. This month, Kristina shares what she has learned through her own self-publishing journey.   "I’ve changed a lot in the last year or so. More than I ever thought I could’ve. Almost all of that is down to self-publishing my novel, What Happens in New York, in May of this year, and all the events that led up to it. I don’t think I’ll ever fully know the extent of how much it’s changed me, but here are some of the things I’ve realised in the last few months. I’m more productive I was never the most…

What I’ve learned from being traditionally published

To be clear: the point of this post is not to compare traditional publishing with self-publishing and declare one better than the other. Traditional publishing covers a range of types of experience anyway, from Big Five to small press. Likewise, self-publishing encompasses a wide and varied landscape which includes everything from independently putting out an ebook out via Amazon all the way through to 'selective' self-publishing, where the author works with a professional publishing house to edit, design, print and distribute their book, but underwrites part or all of the costs themselves. And of course, there are a range of models and different options in between. I haven't ever self-published a book, so don't have that experience to draw on. But I definitely wouldn't rule it out for the future, and I hope my experiences in traditional publishing would be helpful if I decided to try it. Meanwhile, having recently gone through…

Countdown to launch

Baby X is launched this Saturday, 25 June, at the Lowdham Book Festival. The last few weeks have been manically busy. When something has been this long in the making, how can everything feel this last minute? And why is it only on the final read-through I notice so many embarrassing errors? One of the challenges of being published by a small press is the lack of resources to throw at publicity and promotion, so it's all hands on deck to publicise the launch. There've been press releases to polish, including quotes from advance readers (big thanks, by the way, to everyone who read the book early - before it had even been proof read - and supplied lovely juicy quotes for publicity materials); these need to be sent out to local, national and even international publications, and then the responses that come back need fielding. There's also something called an 'Advance Information Sheet' which is…

The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2 – launch event

Last weekend I drove up to Nottingham to attend an event held at Nottingham Writers' Studio, to celebrate the launch of The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2, the second book of fairy-tales to be published by Mother's Milk Books. As well as an opportunity to meet Teika Bellamy, the founder of Mother's Milk Books (and also my editor on Baby X) who, after many long telephone calls and email exchanges, I felt I already knew, it was a chance to get together with the other writers with stories in the anthology, and hear them read their work in front of an audience. Ana Salote, author of the middle-grade fantasy novel Oy Yew, longlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse prize for children's fiction, and also published by Mother's Milk Books, read from her story Grimm Reality, about what happens when a little bit of the world of fairy-tales bleeds into our world, in this case,…