My Path to Publication – Lorraine Mace

I’m delighted to welcome author Lorraine Mace to my blog today. Lorraine and I have quite a bit in common, she is a writing tutor as well as an author, she lives in Spain and is published by Accent Press. Hello and welcome, Lorraine. Can you tell us about your publishing journey please?

 

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The first thing I ever had published was a twist in the tale story in that’s life!

When I moved to France in 1999, I foolishly believed getting short fiction accepted would be easy. After more rejections that I care to think about, I was lucky enough to hit the right note and was paid the grand sum of £300.

I used the money to fund a Writers Bureau course and discovered I had a knack for writing humour pieces. This led to being offered a column in Living France Magazine. I subsequently moved to Spain and wrote a similar humour column for Spanish Magazine. For the last ten years I’ve been the humour columnist for Writing Magazine.

If that sounds as if it all fell into my lap, nothing was farther from the truth. As with many writers, I’d treated it as a hobby for a number of years. But, in 2005, everything changed and I had to take my writing more seriously to earn money. My husband became seriously ill and remained so for the next ten years until he passed away. At the same time, we lost a lot of money when our investments went sour. We used our remaining capital to buy a house in Spain, but this didn’t turn out well. Although we started a court case against the builder in 2005, which has cost a great deal in legal fees over the years, it still isn’t settled.

So I became the breadwinner, but didn’t have a job. It was at this point that I started taking my writing seriously. I wrote a non-fiction book about moving countries and was fortunate enough to get it published. Then Maureen Vincent-Northam and I penned a book of advice for new writers, which appeared to be doing well until the publisher went bust. We never received the balance of our advance or the outstanding royalties due to us. Did we rage against this injustice? Well, yes, of course, but after that we set about finding another publisher. The result was The Writer’s ABC Checklist, which has been in print with Accent Press since 2009.

My desire to write crime came much later – possibly as a result of wanting to murder the builder and failed publisher who had completed our financial ruin!

During my writing life, I’ve probably had more ‘thanks, but no thanks’ than I care to count, or want to remember. But rejections are simply part of a writer’s life – seeing your work languishing unread is much worse. My four crime novels published under a pen name didn’t sell and I felt as if I’d wasted years of my life on something that had no value.

However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is not to dwell on the negative, but to focus on what I could do to change things around. I reminded myself the books must have been okay because I hadn’t ever received anything less than a four-star review, with the majority being five stars, so I contacted Accent Press – and I am so glad I did!

The first three books in the D.I. Sterling Series under my own name, Retriever of Souls, Children in Chains, and  Injections of Insanity, are out and doing really well. Children in Chains achieved the coveted No.1 best seller spot for hard-boiled crime last month. As if that isn’t enough, Accent Press sold audio rights on my behalf, so I will get to listen to an actor narrating my books.

As writers, it seems we sometimes need to fail in order to succeed, or as Samuel Beckett wrote: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

What an upbeat story, Lorraine. You’ve certainly faced adversity and had well-deserved success. I love your column in The Writing Magazine, and your  D.I. Stirling books look compelling reading. I hope you get your court case against the builders settled very soon.

Here are the covers and buy links for Lorraine’s books

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Links to books:

viewbook.at/Retriever_of_Souls

viewbook.at/Children_in_Chains

viewbook.at/Injections_of_Insanity

Author Bio

Lorraine lives with her partner, Chris, on the Costa del Sol in a gorgeous Spanish village away from the tourist areas. When not working on her crime novels, she is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Contact links

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

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Check in next week to read Sue Johnson’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

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My Path to Publication – Lynne Shelby

My guest this week is contemporary romance author, Lynne Shelby, who is published by Accent Press. Lynne tells me that she always wanted to be an author, and her writing journey started at a very early age. Welcome, Lynne can you tell us how you achieved your dream of being a published author?

 

Author pic blue background

8th January 2015. It was a typically cold, grey winter afternoon, when I took a phone call from an unknown number. I expected it to be someone anxious to sell me double glazing or fix my computer if only I’d give them my bank details, but instead it was a call from Accent Press …

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. I first submitted a novel about four teenagers who discover a mysterious island to a publisher when I was fourteen. They didn’t publish it, but an editor sent me an extremely kind letter encouraging me to keep writing.

I wrote in various genres over the years from hard science fiction to historical epics, although my stories always had a subplot of a developing relationship between two of my main characters – even my YA novel had a handsome hero. I submitted both a historical fantasy and a SF novel to a few publishers – and received my share of ‘it’s not for us’ letters. Then, about six years ago, I ‘discovered’ the broad spectrum of books that fall into the genre of contemporary romantic novels, and realised that this is what I’d been writing all along, without knowing it. From then on, I focused on stories about modern relationships – and left out the swords and spaceships! I was lucky enough to get a place on the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme, which offers critiques of unpublished manuscripts, and the generous advice I received from experienced authors was invaluable.

In 2014, quite by chance, I spotted the Accent Press and Woman magazine competition for new, unpublished contemporary women’s fiction writers, with the prize of a publishing contract with Accent Press, and a writing holiday. I’d always enjoyed entering writing competitions, and found that having to meet a deadline and keep to a word-count, was a really good way to improve my writing skills, but I’d never before entered a competition of this size – or one with such a fabulous prize. I sent off my entry – the first three chapters and a synopsis of a novel – just before the deadline, and told myself not to think about it. Then, when I was least expecting it, I got that call from Accent Press to tell me that I’d won the competition and that my novel, ‘French Kissing,’ about two childhood penfriends, one French, one English, who meet again as adults, would be published in the summer. I’ll never forget that super-exciting moment.

Over the next few weeks, as I continued along my path to publication, there were many more thrilling moments: seeing the artwork for the cover, watching the book trailer and, most of all, that incredible moment when I held a book that I’d written in my hands for the first time.

Now, I’m holding a copy of my latest novel, There She Goes – and it is just as super-exciting! I’m so glad I took that editor’s advice when I was fourteen.

I’m sure your readers are glad you did too, Lynne. What a fascinating publishing story.

Here are some of Lynne’s book

there she goes peach (1)      FK

Blurb for There She Goes

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

About Lynne:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her latest novel, ‘There She Goes,’ is one of a series of stand-alone novels set in the world of theatre and film. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found watching a play or a West End musical, or exploring a foreign city, writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Buy Links:

There She Goes:

Amazon

French Kissing:

Amazon

Author Links:

Website: www.lynneshelby.com

Twitter: @LynneB1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

Check in next week to read Lorraine Mace’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

 

My Path to Publication – Colette McCormick

I hope you enjoy these ‘Path to Publication’ stories as much as I do. It’s so easy to give up at the first rejection but it takes determination and perseverance to get published. This week’s guest, Colette McCormick, also had to cope with ill health on her publishing journey.  Welcome, Colette. Can you tell us how you finally achieved your dream of being a published author?

 

Colette

My path to publication started many moons ago when I wrote, ‘The Plaything Princess.’ I was nine years old and when the teacher asked me to read it out to the class I knew that one day, I would want a wider audience.

My first attempt at getting anything actually published came when I was about sixteen when I wrote a picture book type story for young children. It was turned down but I did get a lovely letter from the editor telling me why they had turned it down. At the time I didn’t appreciate that getting a letter with actual feedback rather than a rejection slip was a big deal so it didn’t mean anything to me.

When I was eighteen, I turned my attention to books and my first attempt was about a girl whose boyfriend was a twin. The premise was that the twin had died in the womb and the boyfriend somehow took on the dead twin’s evil personality. A publisher said it showed promise but not enough for them to take it.

That was it until 2001 when I came up with an idea and made a few notes. I wrote the story but it didn’t quite have the legs and came to an end at about 40,000 words. Then, in 2006 I saw that Accent Press was looking for short stories to go into an anthology called ‘Sexy Shorts for the Beach’ which was being sold to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. I happened to work for CR UK at the time so I took that as a sign and put pen to paper. I was so excited when it was accepted and ‘Elaine,’ was my first published piece. It still holds a special place in my heart.

I spent the next few years writing short stories for magazines and books and had some published in Britain and abroad. I even tried travel articles and I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received my first commission. It was an amazing feeling. However, the editor retired just after that and I was never invited back.

Which brings us to the book that finally got me the book deal that I had dreamt of. “Things I Should Have Said and Done,” took a couple of years to write and when it was finished, I sent it off to various publishers and agents. When it was rejected, I was disheartened because in my heart I felt that the book had promise. Then in 2013 I was seriously ill and that made me rethink my life and what I wanted to do with it. I realised that I could live with the fact that I hadn’t got the book deal that I wanted, but only if I had given it my best shot. Up to that point I knew that I hadn’t done that. So, I looked at the book again, objectively this time and rewrote sections of it. Then I sent it to Accent Press and the rest, as they say, is history.

Congratulations on persevering and getting a publishing contract with Accent Press, Colette.

Here are Colette’s books.

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And a short blurb for her latest book, Not My Brother’s Keeper.

My brother. Not my responsibility.
Robert and Tom are practically identical – same height, same hair, equally good looking – but Tom never had the same confidence as his older brother, and for that reason, he is in awe of him.

When Robert’s girlfriend, Michelle, tells him that she’s pregnant, Robert disappears leaving Tom to clean up his mess. As Tom spends time with Michelle, reassuring her that she is not alone in this, the both begin to fall in love.

Sixteen years later, without warning, Robert comes home and Tom has to find the courage to stand against the brother he idolized.

Buy Not My Brother’s Keeper on Amazon

About Colette 

Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.

You can contact Colette here:

Facebook Author page

@colettemcauthor

Colette McCormick on Books and Life in General

Check in next week to read Lynne Shelby’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

 

My Path to Publication – Alex Hyland

Crime thriller author and television writer Alex Hyland is my guest this week. Welcome, Alex,  I know that your Michael Violet thriller series is currently published by Accent Press, can you share your writing journey with us? What made you want to become an author and how did you achieve that?

 

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When I decided to write my first novel, I did it with a view to self-publication – I had no interest in pursuing a traditional publishing deal at all. I’d been a television writer for a number of years, and was tired of having to juggle notes from producers, editors and executives; having to work in references to Rihanna, because ‘she’s so hot with our target demographic at the moment.’  Admittedly, writing is a business and you need to know your audience, but I was in the mood to throw that all to the wind and just write something for me.

On and off, it took me two years to complete the novel, Black Violet – a thriller about a pickpocket. I gave it to my agent for his opinion with the request that it shouldn’t be sent to anyone. He understood my feelings about self-publishing and the freedom it offered, however, he thought we should send it out anyway just to see what the industry has to say – I could always self-publish. I reluctantly agreed, but gave him a three month deadline. I didn’t want to have to wait around a year just to get a bunch of responses that read, ‘It’s good, but it needs more references to Justin Bieber.’

A couple of months later I was Photoshopping cover artwork ready for my launch into self-publication when my agent called to say we’d had an offer – a series deal. It’s strange. No matter how confident I am in my writing, if someone likes it, it always takes me by surprise me. And they didn’t want just one book, they wanted a number. I was still hesitant about working with editors, but I took one look at my lifeless Facebook page and the useless cover artwork I’d put together, and realized there might be more to self-publishing than perhaps I was ready for. I signed the deal.

It wasn’t long before long the notes from my new editor arrived. I remember the moment quite clearly – an attachment to an email that had me sweating like I was waiting for blood test results. I opened it up and started reading; pages and pages of comments and observations. However, these notes turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises along my journey. Not only were they clear and insightful, but they were completely in line with my vision for the books. I could work wholeheartedly with them.

Not that it was a completely stress-free process from then on. I found the proofing stages surprisingly nerve-wracking. With it being my first novel, I wanted it to be absolutely perfect of course, but there’s only so many times you can read a sentence before you find yourself staring blankly at the words like they’re alien symbols, ‘That’s really how you spell make? Make? Really? OK.’

It wasn’t until the first copies of the book arrived on my doorstep, with their beautiful cover art and carefully laid out pages, that I realized how many people were now involved with this. Black Violet was now our book. And so much the better for it.

That’s quite a publication story, Alex! Congratulations on your contract for a series with Accent Press. 

About Alex

Born in London, Alex pursued a writing career that took him to Los Angeles where he created shows for Disney, Universal and NBC. After five years in LA, and the constant request for him to come up with a vampire show that was ‘kind of like The Office’, Alex decided to write something purely for his own pleasure. The result is the Michael Violet series published by Accent Press. He is currently writing the third novel in the series.

You can contact Alex here.

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Here is the first book in the Black Violet series

Black Violet

You can download it here:

Amazon

Check in next week to read Colete McCormick’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

 

My Path to Publication – Kerry Watts

It’s time for another fascinating ‘path to publication’ story. This week Kerry Watts, the author of the popular Heartlands series published by Bookouture tells us about her writing journey. Have you always wanted to be a writer, Kerry?

 

kerry pic

 

It hit me when I read Isla Dewar’s book Giving up on Ordinary that writing was something I would love to do. I couldn’t explain why. It was just a feeling. Perhaps it was the way that book hooked me and pulled me away from the stress of becoming a single parent. I have since told Isla Dewar on Twitter the effect her book had. The year was 1998 and my daughter was just a toddler the time so whenever she was asleep or later at nursery I would scribble a few words and hoped that they were interesting and entertaining. In the beginning they were neither. The feeling became a passion and I wrote daily. I submitted so many short stories to a leading fiction magazine that they must have been sick of hearing from me by the time I stopped. Those were the days of sending hard copies with a stamped address envelope. My decision to give up came alongside the sudden death of my mum in 2004 and my hopes of becoming published took a nosedive along with my confidence. It turned out to be postponed rather than giving up. Over the following years I dabbled a bit in novel writing, short stories and I even had a go at a couple of scripts but rejection became a daily routine. But something inside me couldn’t shake the writing buzz.

Fast forward to 2015 and I happened upon a post on Facebook from a crime fiction author called Louise Mullins and I plucked up the courage to send her a message with lots of questions about becoming published. I was in the middle of yet another attempt at a novel as well as a short kids book about a rescue dog nobody wanted. Without her I would not be sitting here today writing this piece for this blog. It was the advice she gave me that lifted my confidence to the point I had a go at self publishing which I will admit I made lots of mistakes in. One of which was editing. Or the lack of proper editing. I learned several lessons along the way and was lucky enough to be taken on by a couple of indie publishers as a result. Sales over the past few years have not been huge but those who have read my books seem to like them and help promote me to others on social media.

It was through this reader support I had the confidence to keep going and be more ambitious with my choice of publishers. I knew I wanted increased success and knew that only a bigger, more influential company could help me reach my ultimate goal of becoming a bestselling author. So I submitted a crime fiction thriller I was very excited about to Bookouture. Sadly they rejected that one but it did find a home and The Reckoning is very popular with readers who have reviewed it. I didn’t let that stop me. I went for it again with another book. Rejection wasn’t going to stop me. This time I received an email asking for more time to read the manuscript. I said yes of course! After several emails and a phone call later I signed a contract to write three Scottish crime books for Bookouture. I still pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming. Heartlands became a bestseller within days of release and I cried with happiness. My advice to new authors? Don’t give up.

What an amazing story, Kerry.  You showed such determination and resilience to keep on writing. I’ve seen how popular the Heartlands series is. Congratulations.

About Kerry

Kerry Watts lives with her husband and son as well as a hamster called Buttercup and house rabbit named Domino. As well as writing, her other great passion is horse-racing. Watching a racehorse at full stretch thundering down the track at forty miles an hour has been known to move her to tears and for that she is unashamed. One day she hopes to own a grade 1 winning sprint filly.

She is also a self confessed tea addict. All of her books come to you courtesy of Tetley tea bags.

Twitter.com/@Denmanisfab

Instagram – kerrywatts_

https://www.facebook.com/KerryWattsAuthor/

 

Here are some of Kerry’s books.

Heartlands-Kindle                under dark skies cover

You can purchase them here:

Amazon 

 

Remember to check in next week to read another ‘Path to Publication’ story.

 

 

 

My Path to Publication – Gilli Allan

I’m talking to author and illustrator Gilli Allan about her publication journey this week. Gilli writes honestly about modern relationships and is published by Accent Press. Morning, Gilli, can you tell us how you became a published author?

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The idea that I could write the story I wanted to read came to me indirectly, via my fifteen-year-old sister.  She managed to finish her Regency Romance, but didn’t attempt novel writing again until after she retired.  My imagination and energy completely failed after only three or four illustrated pages of my own ‘book’ – I was only ten after all – but the writing seed had been planted.

It remained dormant for a couple more years, but pushed its shoots up into the light when I was a young teenager. Even at the time I considered my hobby more a form of sublimation than the expression of ambition. In my real life, love and romance was a very distant, even unachievable, prospect. So, my burgeoning emotions were poured into my many unfinished novels.

But my own fascination was with a darker, more contemporary world than that depicted by Georgette Heyer.  It was a world I had no experience of, and my characters never progressed beyond kissing and cuddling. I never took seriously the idea of writing as a profession. Writers were clever, educated people.  I was neither.  I left school at 16 with just enough exam passes to get me into art-college.

In my early adult life, I stopped writing.  My career was in advertising where I worked as an illustrator.  It was only when I stopped work to look after my son, and wanted to find something I could do at home to earn money, that I experienced the light-bulb moment.

“I know! I’ll write a Mills & Boon romance!”  At the time I had no idea how many people have had the same thought and how difficult an ambition it is to achieve.

‘Just Before Dawn’ didn’t so much fall off the Mills & Boon rails – rather its wheels never touched them in the first place. The book opened with a single girl miscarrying her unplanned pregnancy! But I became so entranced by the process that I didn’t care.  Once I’d opened the door to my imagination, I had to write the story that was begging to be written.  It was the first novel I ever finished, and it was accepted by a publisher (unsurprisingly it wasn’t Mills & Boon) within 4 months of completion. They also published my second novel, ‘Desires & Dreams’, only a year later.   But, but, but…  this isn’t the end of the story.

How often have you heard the homily – ‘if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is’?  This was in the pre-digital age; the publishing company was a new venture and it was very small. It couldn’t fight its corner in an increasingly aggressive publishing world where small publishers were being gobbled up and ‘big’ was the watchword. My books failed to get into high street stores and, unsurprisingly, did not sell well. Eventually the publisher folded.

Then began my many years in the wilderness. I continued to write, but could get no further. I was banging my head against brick walls that only seemed to grow higher, harder and thicker. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association but despite their wonderful support, I still could not interest agents or publishers.

With the advent of digital publishing, and the Kindle became affordable and, more importantly, it became easy and free to self-publish, I decided to grasp the opportunity.  Despite being very ‘untechie’ I began to format my books and to design the covers.  I managed to upload the first, TORN, without problem in 2011.  LIFE CLASS and FLY OR FALL followed.

It might be relatively easy to self-publish these days, but it is not easy to raise the profile of your own book above the myriad of others and convince the buying public to select it. Although my reviews have been wonderful, and all three won Chill with a book Awards, the numbers sold were disappointing.

I was very happy when Accent Press took me on and re-published my three books in 2014 and 2015.

I have a new book, waiting in the wings which I hope will be published soon.

A wonderful story, Gilli, congratulations on your three ‘Chill with a Book’ Awards, and your contract with Accent Press. Can you tell us a bit about your new book?

BURIED TREASURE

Is not always what it seems

 Educating Rita meets Time Team, when the conference planner meets the university lecturer. Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different, and, more importantly there is no wish or reason on either side that they should ever connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined.  Each has an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.

I include an image I have come up with which MAY be the cover of the book, but watch this space. I could change my mind.

 

Treasure

It looks intriguing, Gilli!

About Gilli

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration as well as writing real-life based romance novels

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.

Contact Links

https://accentpressbooks.com/collections/gilli-allan

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilli-Allan/e/B004W7GG7I

http://twitter.com/gilliallan   (@gilliallan)

https://www.facebook.com/GilliAllan.AUTHOR

http://gilliallan.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1027644.Gilli_Allan

https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/rna_author/gilli-allan/

Here are some of Gilli’s books

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You can purchase her books here:

LIFE CLASS:    http://myBook.to/LifeClass

FLY OR FALL:  myBook.to/GilliAllan

TORN:   MyBook.to/gilliallansTORN   Trailer:  http://youtu.be/u2eIP16ERcI

Remember to drop in next week to see how Kerry Watts became a published author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Path to Publication – Jake Cross

Psychological thriller author Jake Cross is my guest this week. Welcome, Jake, I know that – like me – you’re currently published by Bookouture. Can you share your ‘publication journey’ with us?

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Of all the embarrassing claims I ever made, one rules: “I bet you I’m writing a book with Stephen King by the time I’m 16.”

A silly 13 year-old said that, way back in 1986, and it shows two things. One: the love of storytelling has been with me for decades. Two: I had no idea how hard getting a book contract could be.

This post is more like a “Long Road to Publication”. I wrote all manner of dross in those early days. First film scripts, then fantasy gamebooks, and finally novels. I loved horror and my first story was inspired by someone showing me how the rearranged letters in Santa Claus made Satan Claus. Bang, I had my title – Satan Claws (copyright 1986). Obviously, I mean obviously it had to be about a two-legged werewolf serial killer dressed as Santa on a Christmas Eve rampage.

Laughing? 13 years old, remember.

No way was Stephen King was going duet with an unpublished author, so I set out on that long road by hitting the agents and publishers. Adios pocket money. For years. 16 came and went, no Steve King in sight, but wages soon replaced pocket money and I could afford more stamps and photocopies. Bear with me, Steve. The rise of the Internet upper the submission tempo again, but still the road wound on over the horizon. Email did mean fewer legit rejections, though: with no paper manuscript to return, agents could relay their decisions using stony silence. A little unfair, because hope dug in its fingernails even as months cruised by. But ultimately this tactic works: I don’t expect Penguin Books to suddenly ask for the complete MS of my fantasy gamebook, The Golden Owl (copyright 1987.)

Rambling story short, I continued to work/live/submit/ over the years. A long road indeed. If you were an agent accepting thrillers by email between 2011 and 2017, you said no. Or said nothing. I started to believe that only celebrities or the massively lucky got book contracts. However, for every lucky writer getting a deal, there’s someone out there becoming a crime statistic, so I wasn’t sour about my place in the inert middle.

But all roads go somewhere. Out of nowhere, an assistant agent I’d impressed two years before contacted me. Since then, Natalie had left that agency to become a commissioning editor at a digital publisher called Bookouture, who were making big waves in the e-book world. She said she’d like another look at my book, I said hell yes. That book went nowhere, but she was willing to work with me on another novel. Eight months later I had a three-book contract.

Natalie: Thank you.

Penguin Books: I apologise, but The Golden Owl is no longer a book I wish to pursue. However, I have this idea about a serial killer in a red suit…

Stephen King: Ready when you are.

What a fascinating story, Jake, and it made me smile. There’s nothing like being an ambitious teenager! Congratulations on your three book contract with Bookouture and look forward to reading about the serial killer in a red suit. 🙂

About Jake

Jake has been making stuff up from a real early age, always with a dream of publication. It took a long time, a lot of rejection, and a bunch of dead end jobs. He has three children of his own. So far none of them has shown the writing bug, but he thinks that’s because they have dreams of careers that aid those in need. Or maybe it’s just Netflix and Angry Birds.

Twitter: @JakeCrossAuthor

Here are the covers of two of Jake’s books

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You can purchase them here:

THE FAMILY LIE: https://amzn.to/2J7gLaI

THE CHOICE: https://amzn.to/2GYj2Uh

Remember to check in next week to see how Gilli Allan became a published author.