My Path to Publication – Vikki Patis

This week psychological thriller author Vikki Patis, who is published by Bookouture, is sharing her writing journey with us.  Welcome to the blog, Vikki. Can you tell us how you became a published author?

vpatis

 

My path is littered with chance meetings and slightly strange but amazing opportunities. Like many writers, I have always wanted to write. As a child, I used to fill exercise books with stories, giving them to friends to read on the school bus. Reading was always my escape, and I spent hours with my head in a book. When I went to university, I was asked to join the university paper, writing about various topics, and I was invited along to a book launch for a local author. My editor asked me to interview him, and so the Ask the Author project began on my blog, The Bandwagon. I had the opportunity to interview a variety of authors, including the wonderful George RR Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the books behind Game of Thrones. George gets a special mention, not because he is so well-known, but because he gave me two pieces of advice that would change my life.

The first piece of advice was to ‘steel yourself for rejection’. Most writers go through long periods of rejection, he said, so ‘see at least if you can get some personalised rejection letters’. The second piece of advice was to write short stories. I’d complained that I couldn’t finish anything, that I have these amazing ideas (to me, anyway!), but I would lose focus 7000 words in and it would end up in the proverbial drawer. George told me to start small, to write short stories of varying lengths, in different genres, from different points of view. To really challenge myself. And so, a couple of years later, Weltanschauung was born. I self-published this collection of short stories in 2016, and while it hasn’t broken any records, it has received largely positive reviews, and it gave me the confidence to try writing a novel.

My debut, The Diary, was published by Bookouture in 2018, quickly followed by The Girl Across the Street earlier this year, which made it into the top 100 on Amazon. I’m now halfway through my third psychological thriller, and I can’t describe how incredible the process has been. I’ve learned so much, met some wonderful people, and have had the privilege of working with some fantastic people within the publishing industry. I still have to pinch myself when a Bookstagrammer posts a photo of my book, or I read a review that truly gets what I was trying to say through my novels. As an avid reader, I still can’t quite believe that I can call myself an author.

What a fabulous writing journey, Vikki, and such great advice. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Here are Vikki’s books

The-Girl-Across-the-Street-Kindle                                                the-diary-kindle

Buy Links:

The Diary:  Amazon 
The Girl Across the Street: Amazon

Author bio:

Vikki Patis is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Diary and The Girl Across the Street, published by Bookouture. When she isn’t writing or working as a Regulatory & Compliance Manager, she can usually be found drinking tea, baking cakes, or taking walks in the Hertfordshire countryside. She lives with her partner and two cats.

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Check in next week to read  another ‘path to publication’ journey.

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

 

My Path to Publication – Carol Warham

This week we have romantic suspense author, Carol Warham, popping in to tell us how she became a published author. Over to you, Carol!

my photo

As with so many authors, I have written since I was a child. I started by creating small comics for friends to read.
During my school years, I dreamed of being a journalist and did achieve my ambition, but I soon discovered this was not the sort of writing I wanted to do.

Writing was inevitably put on hold while family, children, work and business took precedence.  However a few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to retire early and I started to write again. I had a few short stories published and the occasional article about a holiday but like many writers I really wanted to write a novel.

I managed to make this very difficult for myself! While on holiday in Florida, we visited the Disney modelled town of Celebration. I was inspired to write about a similar town, but wanted to call it Resolution and decided the story would take place around New Year. I was thrilled with my idea and started to write as soon as I got home.

Three drafts and three years later it was clear the story was not working. I couldn’t understand what was going wrong and I knew I needed help. Fortunately I had writer friends who were honest and said I’d put Yorkshire people in America. One friend came straight out and told me I needed to bring the plot closer to home.

I really struggled against this. I was convinced this was not the answer. How could I bring it home to Yorkshire? Yorkshire towns just were not given names like Resolution. Eventually I conceded defeat. I changed the name of the town and called the hotel which featured prominently to Resolution Hotel.

This was the best thing I could have done. I submitted the (eventually) finished novel to four publishers. Three of the four were interested and I decided to sign with Tirgearr Publishing in Dublin.

The local papers were interested and wrote features on me and the novel, as it was now based in the Holme Valley ( the town was Holmfirth but given another name). The libraries were very supportive, inviting me to give talks and onto their radio programmes for the visually impaired.

I learnt a lot about the craft of writing from this, and I am so grateful to those friends and readers who were honest with me and willing to give advice and support. They were proved to be right, without them this book would probably never have been published.

Congratulations on getting your book published, Carol. And for persevering, being adaptable and listening to constructive feedback.  All very important traits for an author. 🙂

Here’s Carol’s book, which was granted a ‘Chill with a Book Reader’s Award’.

ResolutionsbyCarolWarham500

Amazon

Author bio

Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.

In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year. She is also very involved in volunteering for the Huddersfield Literature Festival each year, and is a member of the Promoting Yorkshire Authors group.

Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.

https://carolwarham.blogspot.com

 

Resolutions by Carol Warham

Check in next week to read  another ‘path to publication’ journey.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Path to Publication – Wendy Percival

I love talking to authors about their work and finding out the different paths that led them to become a published author.  Wendy Percival‘s journey is particularly interesting as she was first published in hardback with her book being sold mainly to libraries. Morning Wendy, can you tell us about your writing journey, please.

 

Wendy Percival - Author photo

I started writing seriously after spotting Writing Magazine in WH Smith’s. I bought a copy on impulse and took out a subscription.

I entered all their short-story competitions and was short-listed several times. Then, in 2002, I won the Summer Ghost Story competition! I put the prize money towards a laptop and although I continued writing short stories (and even sold one to a women’s magazine), it was novel writing which interested me most.

Meanwhile I’d been bitten by the family history bug, having discovered an 1868 Australian death certificate amongst some documents belonging to my husband’s late parents. Unaware of any Australian family connection, we spent months unpicking the intriguing story behind the certificate, learning the research process by default.

I found its parallel with detective work and unravelling mysteries fascinating and it inspired my first novel Blood-Tied.

During the customary trawl around agents and publishers, I received encouraging comments scribbled on rejection letters. One agent asked to see the full MS, but decided she “didn’t love it enough” so I was back to square one.

Then author Fenella Miller mentioned her publisher, Robert Hale, in a Writing Magazine interview. I sent off a submission and within 2 weeks they’d responded, saying they’d like to publish!

In my excitement, I didn’t fully appreciate the limitations of a hardback-only publisher selling mainly to libraries. But at the time I was happy enough getting a publishing deal.

The first print-run of Blood-Tied sold out in under a month (possibly due to my one-woman campaign to pitch to every library in the UK!) but Hale decided against a re-print, probably because I was a new author. But they did get Blood-Tied published in large-print – and it’s my hardback and large-print editions which get borrowed most often from UK libraries!

Around this time the self-publishing phenomenon was blossoming so when Hale declined my 2nd novel, I wasn’t unduly bothered, as it released me from my contract, allowing me the option of searching for another publisher or going Indie. The idea of being in control appealed and I chose the latter.

Although Hale released the rights of Blood-Tied back to me, I was wary of messing up if I did everything myself. So, following a recommendation from hybrid author, Helen Hollick, I approached assisted publisher, SilverWood. I was impressed by the quality of their books and that the MD, Helen Hart (a published author herself) was selective about who she took on.

I re-published Blood-Tied in paperback and ebook. By now readers were asking me what next? for my genealogist character Esme Quentin and I realised I had the makings of a mystery series. So I wrote a second novel, The Indelible Stain and a third, The Malice of Angels.

I’ve since written Death of a Cuckoo (commissioned by SilverWood for their “short-reads” imprint) and a prequel novella, Legacy of Guilt.

I’m currently writing the 4th novel in the series, which will have the usual mix of crime, social history and genealogy.

Thank you for sharing your interesting publishing journey with us, Wendy. I love the idea of mixing social history with crime and genealogy and how your own family history inspired your novels.

Here are some of Wendy’s books:

Legacy of Guilt cover image      Blood-Tied cover image

Links to Blood-Tied:
Legacy of Guilt (prequel novella) is a”taster” introduction to Wendy’s character, Esme Quentin. The ebook is free to download to anyone who joins her mailing list.

Author Bio

The time honoured ‘box of old documents in the attic’ stirred Wendy’s interest in genealogy – the inspiration behind her Esme Quentin mystery novels, Blood-Tied, The Indelible Stain and The Malice of Angels, as well as her novella Death of a Cuckoo, (published by SilverWood’s “Short Reads” imprint, S Books) and prequel novella, Legacy of Guilt. She’s currently writing her fourth full-length Esme Quentin mystery.

Wendy shares the intriguing, sometimes shocking, discoveries in her own family history on her blog and has had several articles published in Shropshire Family History Society’s quarterly journal and in Family Tree magazine.

She lives in South West England in a thatched cottage beside a 13th century church with her husband and their particularly talkative cat.

Contact Links

wendypercival.co.uk/ – Wendy’s website (and where the sign-up form can be found to get a free copy of Legacy of Guilt )

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Check in next week to read  Carol Warham’s publication journey.

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

My Path to Publication – Eric McFarlane

A warm welcome today to Eric McFarlane, author of the hilarious ‘A Clear Solution’ which is published by Accent Press. Hi there, Eric, can you tell us how managed to get your first book contract?

Me

I’ve always loved reading and writing and from my teen years onwards would scribble thoughts and ideas into a succession of notebooks (some of which I still have). Only well into my industry career did I try to convert some of these ideas into short fiction and later still submit some to print magazines (this is still in the stone age pre-internet). But writing a novel wasn’t even on the horizon. It was redundancy that gave me the kick to start.

I’m a scientist by training and spent most of my working life in the pharmaceutical industry. We were given five months’ notice and I found that my own work evaporated overnight. How to fill the time? Well, why not write a novel? After all, novelists made lots of money, didn’t they? Write a novel and sell it. How difficult could it be? I was a shade naïve in those days!

I’ve always enjoyed reading humour so let’s have a humorous novel with a laboratory background. That was how A Clear Solution began.

Over the next few years, I had an on/off love/hate relationship with the novel. I also learned more about the publishing industry and concluded that writing a novel wasn’t a guaranteed path to fame and riches (pause for laughter). Then a comment in an article that humour didn’t sell led me to abandon it and attempt a thriller instead. Before that was completed, I moved on to an SF novel. So, at one point, I had three incomplete novels in different genres. I remember clearly telling myself – finish something, you idiot. A Clear Solution was the closest to completion so that’s what it would be. Eventually, novel in hand, the hunt for an agent or publisher began.

During the next months and years, more than fifty agents and publishers turned it down. It could have been dispiriting (OK, it was dispiriting) but there were several notes during that time with positive comments which kept me hopeful. While submitting I naturally continued to write and completed a sequel – The Allotment Society – finished the SF novel – Soul Rider – and worked on the thriller.

One of the publishers I submitted to was Accent Press and I was elated to find, during an Australian holiday, an e-mail from an Accent Press editor who was reading my submission and liked it. Could I send the rest? Could I? Well no, I couldn’t, not until I returned to the UK three weeks later but that wasn’t a problem. The surreal element was that this editor, working for the Welsh Accent Press, was currently living not 50 miles from where I was staying in Melbourne. Some time later, A Clear Solution hit the shelves to much acclaim (well, from me at least) but the sequel has yet to find a home.

Currently, I’m working on another humorous crime series this time written from a first-person, female pov. This has proved an interesting challenge. Perhaps at some point, Hazel Perkins and the Cone of Doom may nudge itself onto the shelves.

What a journey, Eric! Perseverance is certainly the name of the game! Congratulations on your success and wishing you lots of luck with your humorous crime series. 🙂 

Here is Eric’s book

A Clear Solution

Book link

http://bit.ly/AClearSolution

Bio

Eric lives with his wife and a large garden in the wilds of West Lothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland. After a long and undistinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry, he now divides his time between his writing, a part-time business as an internet stamp dealer, and playing Scottish fiddle music with a local group.

Contact details

www.ericmcfarlane.co.uk

www.facebook.com/EricMcFarlaneAuthor

https://twitter.com/Eric_McF

 

Check in next week to read Wendy Percival‘s writing journey.

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