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Getting Published

Nearly every writer ultimately wants to get their work published – read these blogs for tips and tricks on how to make it happen, from the authors who've already done it and the experts in the industry.

Taking Stock After Shortlisting Success

Since signing with a literary agency a few weeks ago, my novel seems to have developed a momentum of its own. It’s been shortlisted in the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Award and after giving me editorial notes and the opportunity to ‘cut and dig deeper,’ my agents now feel that it is ready to submit to publishers. I know that ready does not mean the same as finished; there will be many more revisions to come and an exciting part of that will be hearing how different readers respond. I feel lightheaded at the prospect, but it is also a moment to take stock.

Soon after the shortlisting announcement, I spoke to the mother of a boy I used to teach. I asked formally for her permission to dedicate my novel to her wonderful son, Mahad, who was brutally murdered in 2017. It was a painful conversation and very different to the ones we’d had years ago. She and I spoke almost daily in the playground when Mahad was ten years old, at the beginning and end of each school day during my teaching …

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From Idea To Agent

In the first of her blog series for W&A, author Nicola Garrard shares her journey of getting an agent...

If you had asked me, just two weeks ago, how my submissions to literary agents were going, I would have said, ‘Fingers still crossed… should hear in three months.’ I had been sending off my submissions in batches of six and hoping for the best. It looked doubtful; I hadn’t paid for a Creative Writing MA, hired an editor or attended a writers’ retreat. My total spend on my writing career to date had comprised £17 on a copy of the Writers' & Artists’ Yearbook, £20 on a bargain Writers & Artists’ ‘How to Submit your Manuscript’ event in London.

The next week, everything changed.

Two emails appeared in my inbox from agents asking to see the full manuscript and two offering representation. 

A day later, an agent telephoned me. 

I had gone from what felt like months of encouraging rejections, to the kind of interest (and delicious lunches) I had only …

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Writing The Landscape Around You

Ahead the publication of his debut novel Mostyn Thomas and The Big Rave, author Richard Williams discusses the inspiration behind his writing, and why he didn't have to look too far from home for it. 

As a debut writer with no formal literature training/education, the only way I knew I could pull off writing the novel was to be honest and write what I know. This made things quite easy – no real research was required and no studying random strangers’ facial movements on train platforms was ever necessary. I just pictured the people I grew up around, and took quirks from most of them to develop ‘best of’ Pembrokeshire characters – hybrids of four or five different local people to create each individual character in the novel.

I wanted to write about farming, particularly the challenges for the rural industry at the time the novel is set. More often than not Welsh farmers are portrayed as a bit backward, even “twp” (stupid in Welsh) in television and literature. So I …

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Debut Dagger Longlisted

Last Friday, bestselling authors from around the globe gathered at CrimeFest in Bristol to hear the announcement of the Debut Dagger long list...

For fifteen years the CWA has been encouraging new writers with its Debut Daggers; a crime novel competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world. Last year’s winner was from Australia and previous short lists have included authors from India, Canada and New Zealand- so it really is very much an international competition.

This year I plucked up the courage to put myself forward.

‘Believe in yourself,’ my husband said. ‘What have you got to lose?’

The entry fee of £36 is steep compared to other writing contests but I wanted to know if my book was good enough to stand out from the crowd. And given the reputed quality and quantity of the entries, not to mention the judges themselves (most of whom are linked to major publishing houses) I figured it would be a good test of my manuscript’s …

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Finding an Agent: Why You Shouldn’t Give Up

Writing advice

Looking back on my quest to secure an agent and asking myself what my experience has taught me, I find I have very little to pass on to fellow writers. What I discovered is that there are no tricks or short cuts or secret recipes. It’s simply a case of doing what everyone says you must do: write the best book you can, put together a strong submission, keep smiling in the face of rejection and keep sending it out there until someone says yes. It’s as simple as that.

There is one common cause of failure I have noted, which is that people tend to give up too soon. It can take many submissions before you find the right agent for your book, which means steering a course through a number of rejections. One author I heard about set herself a positive target of receiving at least one hundred rejections. This was, I thought, a rather clever way to inure herself against conceding defeat.

So, here are three common reasons I can think of why people give up prematurely.


1. Submission fatigue.

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