Tag: Mother’s Milk Books

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,…

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…

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,…

Resolutions (and a writing to-do list) for 2016

On top of all the usual resolutions about being more present, less judgemental, and meditating every day, here are some resolutions for my writing life in 2016.   1. Work through the teetering pile of books beside my bed, books people gave me or told me I absolutely must read in 2015 and I never managed to, plus those I got super-excited about reading, but didn't. Oh, plus the twenty or so books I got for Christmas and for my birthday... At the moment I'm reading 'Sweet Caress' by William Boyd. Up next, I'm very excited to read 'Starlings' by Erinna Mettler and 'My Brilliant Friend' by Elena Ferrante.   2. And in the likely event I acquire a whole load of new books this year, I'm committing to buying them from independent bookshops or direct from the publishers rather than from certain (ahem) online suppliers which squeeze the margins of independent publishers…

The courage to go to dark places

Image: courtesy of Jessica Shirley A couple of years ago I wrote the first draft of a novel called He, She, It.  It's a dark book, touching on dangerous and complicated themes, but looking back at it now, I realise I didn't quite have the courage to let it be dark or dangerous enough. For example, there's one scene where my fifteen-year old protagonist encounters a predatory adult in a position of power.  Anna escapes unharmed, and tells her Mum, who acts impeccably: she immediately believes her daughter's account of events, and acts strongly to protect her. I found it very upsetting to write that scene: I was shaking as I typed, and I cried a lot afterwards. At the time, the only way I could cope with the feelings it triggered in me was by making the Mum swoop in immediately and save Anna.  I had to put an end to the…

So, what next…?

So I've handed in the rewrite of Baby X to my publisher, and it's too early to expect comments back yet.   I'm thinking about what to do next. I've got two other 'completed' manuscripts I want to get out there, a middle-grade novel called Seal Skin and a YA novel called He, She, It. By 'completed' I mean that in each case I got to the end of a first draft, then I went back to the beginning and edited (draft 2).  Then I got a few trusted reader and writer friends to read the manuscript, and waited for their comments.  Then I let the comments sink in for a while, and only then, on the basis of these comments and further thoughts I'd had in the meantime, I edited again (draft 3). Then I sent each book out to agents.  Each book got some positive attention, but no one took the punt on signing me. Which means that at the moment I…

Red Riding Hood reimagined

Welcome to ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ Carnival This post was written especially for inclusion in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ carnival, hosted by Mother’s Milk Books, to celebrate the launch of their latest collection of fairy tales for an adult audience: The Forgotten and the Fantastical. Today our participants share their thoughts on the theme ‘Fairy tales’. Please read to the end of the post for a full list of carnival participants. *** I'm loving The Forgotten and the Fantastical, the new book of fairy-tales from Mother's Milk Books.  I'm enjoying the diversity of the voices and the breadth of these stories, the way modern fairy-tales always feel so familiar, but at the same time so fresh and surprising. Reading these tales inspired me to dig out a bunch of fairy-tales I wrote a while ago, and rereading them, what struck me was the rawness of the emotion, through stolen babies and…

How it’s really going when you ask me how it’s going

Friends and family members have been asking me how it's going with the rewrite.  Which is sweet of you.  I'm grateful for your interest, sincerely I am. Only, what mostly happens is I look shifty, and say 'Erm, you know.'  And look at the floor.  Then I make something up, something I think sounds like a reasonable response. The thing is, when I first set up this site I promised (myself mostly) I'd blog about rewriting and publishing a novel.  So in the spirit of that original promise, this is how it's going. Some background:  I wrote the first draft of this book almost a decade ago, and I was a different person then.  It's not that I'm no longer interested in the themes - I am, very - but my opinion on these themes has become, if not different exactly, at least more nuanced. The impulse to write this story came from something inside me I was trying to understand.  I…