Monthly Archives: October 2015

I have a new two-book deal with Avon UK!

I’m really thrilled to be able to announce that my next two novels will be published by Avon UK, part of HarperCollins!

2015-08-12 11.12.06These things take a while for all the T’s to be crossed and I’s to be dotted, so I’ve been sitting on the news since mid-August, when I went down to The News Building, standing right next to London’s Shard and just as impressively glassy (though not quite as tall).

I met Eleanor Dryden and some of the energetic and enthusiastic Avon UK team. They’d decorated the room with hats, as the heroine of my novel, Ava, is a milliner, and made chocolate cake and bought biscuits. (They had me with that cake.)2015-08-14 07.38.23

My lovely agent, Juliet Pickering of Blake Friedmann, came to the meeting, of course, and asked all the questions I didn’t think of, but as Eleanor unrolled Avon’s plans for my books, and for me as an author, I found myself realising that I’d found my new home.

Avon wasn’t the only publisher in the frame but Eleanor and her team were the ones who said everything I wanted to hear so, in the end, after a whirlwind couple of weeks of trying to compare offers that seemed impossible to compare, the decision made itself.

Here’s a little about the books in the deal (titles to be decided):

Book 1

Set in London at Christmas time, the story’s about things being difficult for Ava’s millinery business, revenge porn, Sam having all the trappings of success but little defence against his mother’s illness, and whether it’s obligatory to like Christmas. Due out around September 2016.

Book 2

In contrast, a summer book, set in France, where Leah, who has remained determinedly single and child-free, finds herself looking after her sister’s family while her sister’s life detonates. I’m about halfway through the first draft and the finished article is due out in Summer 2017. (I would be further along with this book if my research hadn’t led me down a blind alley. Every book seems to go through this phase, when I have to do  relationship counselling between my plot and my research.)

2015-08-12 15.42.00On the way home from the meeting, I stopped for a private celebration. Yes, I drank them both!

I’m not even ashamed. 🙂

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Would you ‘Paint your bum blue and hang it out the window’?

Some of the books written by participating authors.

Some of the books written by participating authors.

Last Friday I hopped on a train and attended the Writers’ Day run by the Leicester Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, fabulously organised by Lizzie Lamb at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester.

What a great day, filled with fascinating talks, mainly about the business side of being a writer. And nobody could miss the fact that there were all kinds of writers participating.

Traditionally published, ie by a publisher

Agented

Non-agented

In print

Digital

Self-published

Part of an author co-operative

Hybrid, ie traditionally published and self-published

I appear under six of the above headings: traditionally published, agented, in print, digital, self-published and hybrid. I have also been non-agented, so I guess the only heading I’ve never appeared under is part of an author co-operative.

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Sarah Houldcroft sharing her social media expertise.

What we had in common was the desire to do better than we were already doing, no matter how well we were doing already. The subject of social media came up in almost every session, even when it wasn’t actually the title of the talk. We were all interested in sharing knowledge, every speaker was questioned exhaustively, new ideas were greeted enthusiastically. We were helping ourselves by helping each other.

During a coffee-break conversation, I chatted with Jean Fullerton, and we agreed how important it is each writer to find her or his own way. If you’re self-publishing, it should be because that’s what you see as the most suitable path for you. If you’re with a publisher and/or an agent, it should be a good publisher and/or agent for you, not just ANY publisher or agent because you really, really want one. As Jean said, ‘When you’re starting out, if a publisher or agent told you to paint your bum blue and stick it out the window, you would.’

Although I haven’t painted my bum blue or stuck it out of any windows, I’ve definitely gone down publishing routes that, in hindsight, weren’t the best for me or my work. Now, with the benefit of experience, I’m more cautious and clear thinking. I’m not afraid to turn opportunities down if I don’t think they’re right for me. I actively pursue opportunities that I do think are right for me. I sometimes make decisions that lose me money, but the decision is still the right one.

Instead of painting my bum blue, I’m painting the bigger picture.

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