Tag Archives: How to get published

Ooo, new blog schedule announcement…

Photo of a DiaryAfter a lot of requests, I’m announcing the reinstatement of my Diary of a Hopeful Author blog posts.

I’ve been asked a whole heap, see, about what it’s like to be an author. For three years I documented what it was like, that roller coaster journey to trying to get published – the highs, the lows, the aching embarrassments – all of it. No picnic, that’s for sure.

A lot of you have got in touch and asked me if its different now, being an author. And for that reason – and because, if I’m honest, I miss that blog connection, that getting it all out there to help each other – I’m reintroducing my diary of  hopeful author section.

Its going to be (hopefully…) posted every Wednesday as before, in diary form about what I’m up to that week writing wise on the roller coaster of publication. I’ll aim to get some help sewn in there for you, tips on getting published and diary entries of an honest account of what it’s like to be an author these days. Let me know if it’s handy.

Also, I’m reintroducing Media Monday and Friday Fiction. Monday will see me writing my new Midlife Crisis column, where Friday will take up, yep, you’ve guessed it,  fiction. I’ll include my own writing and prose, plus comments on newly published books, old masterpieces, libraries – you name it.

So there you go. It’s less ‘out with the old in the with new’, and more ‘in with the old just dusted down and spruced up a bit’. A blog makeover. A new set of  clothes…Okay, I’ll stop.

I do have a whizzy author website now (there’s hidden quiz – good luck finding it…) dedicated to my books. You can find it here.

It’s great to be back like this with you all in, if your pardon the pun, a new chapter for the blog – just hoping I can stick to the schedule – forgive me it all wobbles from time to time.

Have a great week, blog buddies 🙂

Nikki x

Sound good? Or is there something else you’d like me to write about in my experience of getting published & being an author? Let me know – all comments welcome below 🙂

NEW Diary of a hopeful author: How I got to my three-book publishing deal

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…

Photo of a Diary

Previously, I had never believed that the phrase ‘a dream come true’ was real. I mean, look at it. It uses the word ’dream’, and dream implies unreal, made-up, in your head. Bottom line: it may never happen.

And so, my friends, to the present day. Mad busy has this year been that I have had to, with hanging head, take a time out from my Wednesday Waffling blog. But the reason – oh the reason – has been a mighty good one, a reason so fantastic, so unbelievable that even now I don’t believe it myself. I’d kick me, but that would hurt.

The reason is this: I have a 3-book publishing deal. And not just one deal, but multiple deals, around the world – digital, paperback, hard back, audio, the lot, from different publishing houses spanning from Random House in Germany to Harlequin Mira in the UK. I have met with editors and sales teams and TV execs and it has been a ball. Yet all the time, all the while as I meet and talk and compute, the same thing goes round and round my head like ticker tape: it’s like a dream.

See, thing is, I’ve been working hard at writing for a heck of a long time now. Years. And I’ve tried everything. Radio sketches, TV sitcoms, plays, short stories, novels. I’ve got my head down and tried it all because you never know. You never know what might just work if you give it a shot, and if it doesn’t go your way? Then at least you got a whole heap of writing practice in.

Recent years have thrown me a few hoop shots: a festival story award, short listed for The Guardian newspaper travel writing competition, long listed for a BBC talent scheme. But each time, I didn’t quite make it, didn’t quite get to the top of the mountain, so to speak. And boy were there times when I just wanted to give up, to chuck it all in, to shout at it and shut the door, walk away, never come back. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I love writing and I knew, I knew somewhere in the deep sticky recess of my head that it would all work out, that if I just kept going one more time, it would all work out.

I stuck with it, did my research, taught myself what makes a good novel, how it’s constructed, how the market works, what sells, what agents want, what readers want to read. And I combined that with my stubborn, heels in the dirt attitude of not giving up. There is a saying that went through my head the whole time: when others give up, we give more. It’s actually an SAS phrase, not that I am in the SAS, although, to be fair, I’d love to give it a go. Just without the guns.

So, the book, the first in a trilogy is coming out in Spring/Summer 2015. It’s called The Spider in the Corner of the Room. It’s a psychological conspiracy thriller, or psycon (I just made that phrase up…). It will be out all over UK & commonwealth, Europe, Taiwan/China, audio in the USA so far, and hopefully, as things are looking, in a whole heap more territories. And the great new is, NBC Universal have optioned the trilogy for a major international TV series (there’s a couple of links below about it all).

I guess, when I look back, when I think of when I started this blog and why – i.e. to document my messy, pot-hole ridden journey at trying to make it as an author – I never really let myself imagine that it would actually happen. I love literature festivals, for example, but never let myself go to Hay-on-Wye festival, telling myself that I only wanted to go there as a published author. And where am I now going in May 2015? Hay Literature Festival. As a published author. Hoozah. I’ll be talking at other festivals too – Harrogate Crime Fest, Cheltenham Lit Fest, ones I have attended myself as a reader. And now I’ll be there – as an author. Surreal.

So, thanks for following this blog, for reading my dirt-ridden ups and downs over the past two years. It’s been really hard, I’ve put in so many hours, made so many sacrifices, but it’s worth it. Worth every single second. Because being a published author has always been my dream. And now it’s come true.

Click on the links to The Bookseller (here) and my agents, PFD (here) to read what they’ve said about The Spider in the Corner of the Room…

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Diary of a hopeful author: Why we should ALWAYS laugh at ourselves

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Things are going great. My book is with my agent. I’ve got to a stage where I think, heck, maybe I’m not so bad at this writing lark after all. Blimey, even my hair’s looking pretty okay these days, despite the extensive chlorine damage inflicted from a 4-day-a-week swim training commitment. (I’ve signed up for a triathlon – that’s what happens when you drink too much Cointreau on a Saturday night. Be warned…)

But, thing is, while it’s all very exciting, while my fingers are crossed solid for a very successful 2014 writing wise, here’s the thing: some things never change. I am still me. I still mess up royally. I still fall on my backside after tripping over on NOTHING. I fall off ski lifts BEFORE I get on them. I have kids who puke on me. I have knees that (literally) creak when I go up stairs. And that – those things – they are the funnies that keep everything real. Because life is bloody funny. And messy. And wholly nuts. And we should ALWAYS laugh at ourselves, because, otherwise, we end up taking ourselves far too seriously.

So, to that end, here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago about something hilarious I did. By mistake. Something nuts and daft and very, very funny. Like I said, we should always laugh at ourselves. Though, it seems I make this task easier than most…

So, to the story. One day, let us say three years ago, we were returning from a brief family trip away. At the time our girls were aged 7 and 5 and at an age when we needed to stop at the delightful motorway services for a nature break or three. My bladder never quite being the same after two babies (sorry, men folk), I also needed to stop. The girls having now falling asleep, we agreed that I would nip out to use the facilities and run back.

Now, it is important to point out here that I was , even then, in the iron-grip of writing and had a deadline to meet for a Guardian travel writing competition. Needless to say, I was keen to get out and get in with maximum speed and with my skirt not in my knickers.

All goes well. I run in, do what I need to do, and then, my mind on the Guardian job, I sprint out of the automatic doors and into the car park. Scanning the cars, my impatient autopilot kicks in, and, spotting our red Freelander, I peg it over and, hauling the door open, throw my self on to the passenger seat panting, ‘Come on! Let’s get a move on!’  Now, I don’t know about you, but do you know that dream when you are walking somewhere and then you look down and you are completely naked, in the nuddy, and you feel a wave of mortification wash over you? Can you recall that feeling? Well, this feeling is what came over me when, glancing from the corner of my eye I notice that the car seats in the back are different to my girls’ seats. Strange. And then my eyes fall to the seat covers – leather. What the? Ours are fabric. And then it hits me. I am in the wrong car. The wrong car.

I look up to see a man, mid-forties, balding, frowning, staring at me, mouth agape, finger, probably, hovering over 999. ‘OhmigodI’msorry!’ I blurt, and, faster than you can say, ‘naked dream’, I am out of that car and breathing like a phantom caller in a film sketch scanning the parking lot like a crazy woman.

When I eventually locate our family car, my husband and girls are in fits of laughter, the whole sorry episode not having missed their unforgiving eyes, and it has made their day. ‘Mum got into a strange man’s car!’ they yelp. ‘Just drive,’ I mutter. But it is a good five minutes before we can leave because my husband is laughing too much for his eyes to focus.

Any “funnies” of your own that keep things real for you? Do anything daft on a regular basis? Come on, fess up

**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Media Monday: If you’re a self-published author look away now…

Writing news

It’s “Media Monday” where I bring you my views on the latest writing and publishing news…

You might want to look away now. Or, go get yourself a drink. Especially if you’re an author looking to self-publish. Go on, well done…What’s that?A Pina Colada?  I roll my eyes. Right, now down it in one because the latest news for all you aspiring writers out there is that authors publishing their work DIY style online earn an average of $10,000 (£6,375) – and, wait for it, less than half make $500. I know. What? Another Pina Colada? Oh, go on then.

Yep, the latest news published in an article by The Guardian last week revealed that a survey of writers concluded that only the smallest percentage of authors were raking in more that $100,000 in 2011. In this less than 10% were earning approximately 75% of this revenue and, that’s right the rest – that’s more than half of all those exhausted writers surveyed – scraped in just enough to cover the service of their car. If they have one.

Once I pick myself up from the floor, along with my broken laptop and spilled pens, I have to admit that this news comes as no surprise. Like with any industry that has headline success stories, such as music, art, banking – oh wait, no, the lasts one’s a disaster story, sorry – for every high-fiving, cash-generating sensation, you’ll find thousands of bleary-eyed, overdraft-inducing wannabees. And, as I peer at my sorry bank balance and peel open my eyes, I speak from experience here. But hey! We are writers! We are a hardy bunch, single-minded in the pursuit of our craft, nothing but nothing can stop us from plowing forth! So, I shall whisper then that the survey found that  yes, you’d do well if you were female, with a college degree and in your early 40s. Never, ever so much before have I wanted to be older than right now. On top of this, it turns out our paper-published cousins are muscling in on the act, with big names such as Jackie Collins announcing that she is to bypass the traditional paperback route and put her novel The Bitch (sorry, bad language…) as a self-published piece. Have we nothing left for ourselves, I hear you cry? Even if it does earn us peanuts?

Well now look, let’s not get hysterical. No one said this was going to be easy. We must wish good luck to everyone! And the good news is that there is something we can do. The survey also revealed that the high-earners it identified dedicated more of their time to writing, banging out an average of 2,047 words a day compared to 1,557 from those lower down the pay scale. So come on! Write! Also, making your book sound professional is another earmarked area by the survey, with it highlighting the need for writers to perhaps get their work professionally edited and proofread – this alone can help you earn 13% more than average (and, I for one shall be doing this…). Yes, that’s right, readers have been waiting our new writing voices, but, understandably, not one full of spelling errors.

Of course, as the Jessie J song goes, it’s not all about the money. What counts for success in one writer’s eyes, may not in another’s. For some, simply finishing the first draft of a novel is achievement enough, for others, the stars, my dear, the stars! Whether you pick yourself up from the floor or the ceiling, the trick is knowing what your goal is and then doing everything you can to get there. And in that, I wish you all the luck in the world. But perhaps first, just step away from the Pina Coladas, hmmm?

What are your experiences as a self-published author? Do you want to make money from your writing? Or are you content with the art of writing itself? Let me know.

 **Look out on  for Wednesday: Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry from my Diary of a Hopeful Author…**