One Step Closer…

Being a published writer has been my ambition for a loooong time now and today my dream of becoming a published writer seemed one step closer when the postie delivered a parcel. I managed to rescue the package from the dog’s grip just in time to discover that it contained an exciting memento of my writing journey.

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I’ve often been tempted to indulge myself by paying to have my ms printed as a real book just to be able to put it on my book shelf rather than it staying hidden in the hard drive of my laptop. To have the book, albeit a plain proof copy, in my hands feels amazing!

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My ms kidding on it’s a real book sitting in Waterstones!

For anyone who hasn’t crossed my path in person or online (but I doubt I’ve missed you out) my novel, ‘Buy, Buy Baby’ has been shortlisted in the next stage of the Hookline Books Novel Competition.


At Hookline Books novels are chosen for publication by book groups from around the UK. Their process is to run an annual competition and invite manuscripts from students and graduates of MA/MLitt writing courses. The entrants submit the first three chapters, reading groups create a short list of interesting work, and those writers submit their complete manuscripts for book group review. Hookline Books then publish the works that book groups endorse as well-written and engaging. No pressure at all then!

Here’s a short video made by the BBC which shows a book group in action mauling discussing an entry.

My book is now through to the final four and the book groups have until the end of October to make their judgment whilst I have weeks of wondering if my story is being pulled apart or praised. It will be a long wait and although I’m really excited at the possibility of winning, I’m not buying a new outift and shoes (any excuse) or organising a book launch party yet!

images (1)I also read a sobering article by Joan Smith in the Guardian and a blog post, ‘An Open Letter to New and Would-be Writers’ by James Smythe. Both pieces highlighted the harsh reality of being a debut writer, if I ever get that far. In the week that JK Rowling was outed as using a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, for her first foray into crime fiction, this piece gives any other wannabes like me a reality check and a reminder that although my copy of ‘Buy, Buy Baby’ clearly states, ‘not for sale’, there’s value in writing that doesn’t relate to fame and fortune. You only need to ask why JK Rowling, with an estimated wealth of £560 million, felt the need to write, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ to understand that writers write for the love of it, although winning the Hookline Book’s completion wouldn’t hurt one wee bit!!!

18 thoughts on “One Step Closer…

  1. Hi Helen
    A lovely post, and I’m thrilled for you that you’re in the running for this competition – the top four is a major deal whatever happens next! I read both of the articles you refer to about the challenges facing emerging and debut novelists and I strongly agree with James Smythe and with you that it’s important to enjoy writing for everything it brings us and not to see getting published as the only indicator of success. If we took too much notice of pessimistic commentators nobody would bother writing at all.
    That said, I have a good feeling about you! Good luck!

    • Thanks Isabel. I feel that we’re on the same path in our writing journey and we would have given up long ago if all that kept us going was chasing a publishing contract. I know several cases of ‘be careful what you wish for’ and wonder if it is worth the hassle which kicks in if you do get the illusive deal. In saying that, we’d both like to be the ones telling the tale of our publishing experience! Here’s hoping we achieve success with our writing, in whatever form that takes!

  2. Congratulations buddy – so pleased and excited for you – this is huge! It’s been a spectacular writing year for you so far and it’s not over yet… The final four… it’s like the Apprentice, but better! I too have a very good feeling about ‘Buy, Buy Baby’… ;D x

    • Thanks Buddy! Your support along the way means a lot to me. Keep me motivated and listening to my ups and downs has been really appreciated. Here’s hoping you’re right about BBB and we have an excuse to celebrate! x

  3. What an interesting idea getting the MS printed in book form – I’d be interested to know if it makes you read the book differently than when you were re-drafting and editing? And well done getting to the final four in the competition, very best of luck with this stage!

    • Hi Ali, Thanks for your best wishes. Yes, seeing the ms as a book was weird and wonderful. I haven’t started to read it again in case I see mistakes or want to change anything! I’ve used different fonts in the book as it has a dual narrative so it was good to see how that looked on the page. I’d love to see it with a proper cover too so fingers crossed it’ll happen one day…

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