Welcome to my new website where you will find heaps of information about my books. Here on my blog page, I’ll be keeping readers informed of all the latest news, views, and gossip about the writing world. For aspiring and new authors, who are hoping to write a book and get it published, I’ll be giving you some insider hints and tips on what worked for me on my own journey, both as TV scriptwriter and a writer of crime fiction. I’ll also be bringing many of my fellow authors along, both traditionally and self-published, for chats about what works for them.
But this page won’t be crammed full of work and dark tales every day. I’ll be taking you with me wherever I go, be it research trips for my next book, publisher parties, cooking, creating competitions and just generally having a bit of fun. I would love you to pop around regularly for a friendly get together.
My own book journey started with me being runner up in a writing competition. This was the Lindisfarne Prize for Outstanding Crime Fiction. The author or story had to be based in the Northeast of England. I happened to be locked down in the Canary Islands when I decided to enter, but as I live in the Northeast of England normally and I was going nowhere for the rest of my holiday, I was a captive competitor. Who knows if I might have gone on to write a book and get it published, had I not been pushed into it by a world pandemic?
It only goes to show that a positive outlook on even the most negative events is essential to launch yourself as a winning author. Rejection is a normal part of the process, both in TV and with book publishing, so it’s important for writers to factor the f**k off element into your everyday work and don’t let it get you down. Definitely don’t let the word `no` stop you from picking yourself up and getting back out there, with new or amended ideas as soon as possible and that goes for entering writing competitions, win or lose, too.
So, should you enter writing competitions? Well, I would say yes, if the competition features a topic that floats your boat. If you already fancy writing poetry or romance or hard- boiled crime or children’s stories and the competition is calling for similar subject matter, then go for it. Many competitions ask for a couple of chapters and a synopsis if the competition is for full length novel writing. By entering, you are ensuring that you have got your work underway and to a deadline. Even if you aren’t a competition winner, you will have the material needed to send out submissions to agents and publishers, so you have nothing to lose.
If you are lucky enough to be shortlisted then it’s a useful fact to pop in your email heading, when submitting, to catch the attention of anyone wading through a slush pile. I was runner up, rather than winner of The Lindisfarne Prize, but you can bet I mentioned it in every submission headline. I’m sure it made my publisher think that the novel was worth a look, if only because other people had given it a flick through and not chucked it in the bin. With an immediate offer of a three-book deal, I can only say it worked for me, so why not give some writing competitions a go yourself? You never know what fresh writing adventures are awaiting if you just leap in and get into that winning mentality.
I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.