Monday, 29 October 2012

The road to success...

They say the road to success is a rocky one and for me, at least, that proved to be true.  In fact, not only can this rocky road seem gruelling at times, sometimes it can feel plain CLOSED. 

So why am I writing this post?  Well, after a long time of thinking the road to publishing success was closed, I just discovered it isn't.  I've just been offered representation for my Contemporary Young Adult novel.  However, with the offer came the realisation that the road to publishing was never closed.  I just hadn't the experience, writing ability, or knowledge to find the right way through the road block.

I started writing at a young age and quickly progressed into writing novels.  Very bad novels.  Which I sent out to everyone I thought might want to publish a very bad novel.  Unsurprisingly, they didn't.  However, at the time, I couldn't understand why people didn't want to read the novel I had slaved so hard over.  In my mind, it was great.

Skip sixteen years to my now 31 year old self.

Have I really been writing sixteen years already?  It seems so long and so short all at the same time.  It has been a hard, rocky road, but I have learned.  And learned.  And learned.

The first thing that I learned is that you are always learning.  Now, when I look back at my old books I actually cringe.  Am I proud of them?  Damn sure I am.  Do I love them with all my heart?  You betcha!  Do I think they are worthy of publishing?  Umm...not so much.  But at the time, I was sure they were.  I was positive they were ready to fly out into the world and gather readers of their very own.  I cringe that there was so much I hadn't learned.  Query letter?  What's that?  An elevator pitch?  Why would I need one of those?  A character arc?  Umm...  The list went on and on.

Over time, I've come to realise that only with experience can you gain perspective on your work.  I'm sure in another sixteen years I'll look back at the novel I'm writing now and see a hundred different ways to make it better.  And that's okay.  Each book I have written has taught me something new.

And the same goes for the querying process.  Value every positive piece of feedback you get, but don't make it the holy grail.  Your holy grail actually lies in the rejections you receive.  Feedback from the publishing professionals will guide you into honing your work if you're smart enough to look at the tidbits of advice that you're given.  Use them wisely!

Okay, okay, let's get onto the good stuff.  Without further ado, here are the best pieces of advice that I have learned in my sixteen years of writing and subbing.  I still have so much to learn and so far to go, but I am thrilled to finally step one foot further along this rocky road we call Success.

1.  Learn the writing rules.  Know them inside out.
2.  Break the writing rules.  Know them, then choose to break rules for a reason.
3.  Experiment.  Remember, your writing is VISUAL so make sure you play around with your text and your writing style to see if you can add a new dimension to your work.
4.  Read, read, read, read.
5.  Read some more.
6.  Enter contests.  Read blogs.  Go on social media.  The connection to fellow writers cannot be underestimated.  Build up your platform and network.
7.  Make sure you have an elevator pitch for your query.
8.  Less is more.  Try not to over explain things in your book - let your reader fill in some of the gaps.
9.  Be kind, open and giving to everyone in the industry that you meet.  DON'T badmouth, DON'T argue about rejections with an editor/agent, DON'T look down on people who do things differently from you.

And most importantly:

10.  Keep going.  The only sure way to fail is to give up.

Tune in to the blog later in the week to find out just which agent I've signed with!

Right now, I'm as excited as the cow who jumped over the moon!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The YA Bookcase has a Facelift

Hi Peeps!

Just in case you're wondering if you've stumbled across an alternative universe version of the YA Bookcase, don't fear!

I'm just rejigging the style.

Oh...and by the way...I've got some fab news coming up.

For now though, my lips are sealed!

Leibster Award!

Well, aren't I just the luckiest gal in town?!  Thanks to the super-nice Emilyann Girdner at I've been awarded a Leibster award (it's from the German word meaning favourite).  Guess that means I've got a favourite blog award!  Woot woot!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  So it is a really great community building award.  And everyone knows that we writers do love our communities!

The rules of the Liebster Award are:

Answer the blogger's eleven questions.
Think of eleven questions of your own.
Choose eleven worthy bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to pay it forward.

I'll give the answers to the questions I got from Emilyann first, then I'll post my questions for the bloggers I choose as the next eleven Leibster award recipients!

1. What is your favorite song?  So many to choose from!  Argh!  If I had to plump for just one?!  Argh...The Queen and The Soldier by Suzanne Vega.  Or Liza Radley by The Jam.

2. Cats or Dogs? Why?  Dogs.  My boys are loyal, wonderful best friends who are always happy to see you.  And forgive you any small digression for a dog treat!

3. What is your favorite book from childhood?  Hmm, it'd have to be The Witches by Roahl Dahl.

4. If you had to pick a different occupation, what would it be?  I've been so lucky to do both my dream jobs, but if I had to pick another one it'd be a literary agent.  OR my fantasy job would be a singer.

5. Do you have a favorite flower?  Definitely lilies.

6. Mac or PC?  PC all the way, baby!

7. Who would you pick if you had the opportunity to interview a historical figure?  GAH!  Just one?  Wow.  What a tough one.  Hmm, I think perhaps I would want to interview Hitler.  Or maybe Genghis Khan.

8. Do you believe in love at first sight?  Not sure.

9. What is your favorite genre of book and why?  I love anything YA.  It's so raw, fresh and real.  I just can't put it down!

10. What are you most proud of in life?  My horses Roger and Hanson and my dog Hugo.  They're all my heroes in so many different ways.

11. What obstacle has been the toughest for you to overcome in your life?  Losing a beloved pet a few years ago.  For some reason, it crushed me more than I thought possible.

Okay, so onto my questions for the other bloggers:

1.  If you could meet any author who would it be and why?

2.  What is the biggest cardinal sin in writing and would stop you dead in your tracks when reading?

3.  If you could invite three celebs to lunch, who would they be and why?

4.  If you could be an animal which one would you choose and why?

5.  What would be your NIGHTMARE job?

6.  Do you believe in life after death?

7.  What do you think the secret to happiness is?

8.  What is your biggest dream?

9.  If you were a superhero and could give SOMEONE ELSE a superpower, who would you give it to and what power would you give them?

10.  Do you prefer to loan a book from the library, buy it brand new or pick it up second hand?

11.  Can you describe yourself in three words?  If so, go for it...

Now, lovely followers, you might want to check out my new Leibster Awardees!  I don't have my full eleven yet (still choosing!) but I'll add to this list as I go!  Awardees, just copy and save the leibster award image and proudly display on your own blog!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Genre: YA Gothic Horror
Word Count: 60,000 words

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Writing Competitions!

The Internet is virtually buzzing with competitions right now for aspiring writers who want to snag an agent or editor.  If you happen to have missed a few of the big ones, remember there are still plenty to enter!

The best ones include:

Hook, Line and Sinker -

Pitch Live -

Baker's Dozen -

Check out these links before the competitions end, and your chance to be seen by agents and editors alike will come true!

Good luck everyone and see you on the blogs!  :)