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Completely Novel blog posts

The secrets to writing a prize-winning book

If you’ve ever entered a writing competition, you’ll know that it takes a certain kind of story to win. What that story is however, isn’t always clear. So how can you write a prize-winning book? And what is it that makes a book ‘outstanding’?

These are questions we think about a lot at CompletelyNovel, as our authors strive to create and publish the best books they can. So, to shed some light on the secrets of prize-winning books, we’ve taken a closer look at four of the biggest book competitions in the UK, and what their winning entries have in common.

Man Booker Prize longlist - ‘Do something exciting with language.’

The Man Booker Prize is thought of as being the biggest prize for books in the UK, although there’s plenty of controversy this year, as most of the longlisted authors seem to be American.

But what do these books really have in common?

"The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the …

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Why every emerging author should apply to One Big Book Launch - by a previous winner

As submissions open for One Big Book Launch 2015, previous winner Atulya K Bingham shares her experience of what it was like to be involved in the collaborative book launch everyone is talking about. Emerging authors can submit their books to be included in this year's event here before April 19th 2015. It's a prize not to be missed!

It was March last year. I was slumped on a kilim in my mud house in Turkey gaping out of my window. A green mob of pine trees clung to the slopes plunging out of sight. I had just pressed the publish button for my debut novel Ayse’s Trail. I never thought I’d see the day; it had taken five years. Now I was broke. This wasn’t Can-I-make-it-until-pay-day? broke. I hadn’t earned a penny for well over 18 months. I was in the realm of broke that prods ‘normal’ people to stare pityingly at the state of your coat. 

It was my own fault. I had quit a career in teaching to build a small mud home and write a novel. Although both were now by some fluke …

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Five Unusual Ways to Market your Book Inspired by the Film Industry

Typewriters

At CompletelyNovel, we’ve found that the question ‘How can I cut through the book marketing noise?’ is making an increasingly regular appearance in our inbox. It’s a common author frustration and has led us to ponder the ways in which indie authors can use their creativity to be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Sometimes the best inspiration can come from looking outside your particular field, so we’ve done some research and found some great marketing ideas from the film industry to help get your creative juices flowing.


1. Create a website for your book

Marketing campaigns accompanying Wes Anderson’s films are legendary. For his latest feature, ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014) which takes place in the imaginary country called Zubrowka, Anderson’s marketing team created a website ‘Akademie Zubrowka’. The website offers lectures and courses in the history of Zubrowka. It is a great way to take the fans on a journey even after the film has finished. If your …

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4 reasons why writers should collaborate when marketing their books


Recently, CompletelyNovel hosted a rather unusual event called, One Big Book Launch. Rather than one author releasing one book to friends, family, and whoever else they could bring along, ten authors joined together to launch their books simultaneously. The event was hugely successful, and showed how collaboration between authors can be very rewarding. Below are 4 reasons why you should be collaborating with other authors, taken from the One Big Book Launch:


1. Share Readers

Each of the authors brought along a loyal group of friends and readers to One Big Book Launch, adding up to a sizeable crowd of people who love books! It gave the authors a chance to present their book to an audience they would otherwise never have encountered. They had an opportunity to give presentations and readings, and enjoyed their own tables where they could display, discuss, and sell their work. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed both the talks and the meeting and greeting, and authors discovered a new fanbase and …

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10 Tips for Starting a Writing Group

Writing groups

Writing groups can be a great way to meet like-minded people, share ideas, get feedback and get writing. They can take lots of different forms and can be anything from 2-3 people to 50+! Sarah, from the publishing platform CompletelyNovel, recently decided that she wasn’t doing enough writing in her day, so she set out to create her own writing group in Brighton. If you’re looking to do the same, or would like to get some useful feedback on your work-in-progress, we’ve compiled our 10 top tips for starting a writing group, below.


1. Have a clear aim - Writing groups can be great for sharing your work and getting all-important feedback. They can also be really great to get writing, networking or even just a casual break from the screen. It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want your writing group to do before you do it. Don’t try to do everything at once.


2. Check out the local scene - There might already be a writing group in the area doing similar things to what …

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