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There is a new novel competition launching in January for unrepresented writers (non-agented or self…
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  •  · Yes, I'll be there. 
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Today was the cover reveal for my debut novel NOBODY BUT US! It's been a crazy and amazing day and I…
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Call me biased but after today's judge announcement this competition offers writers to chance to get…
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  •  · Thank you, L. I'm terrifically unlikely to be shortlisted in anything, of course. Balancing the poss…
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Happy New Year!One of my short stories 'Light is Merely a Distraction' is part of the Unbound Series…
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I hope everybody is enjoying the holidays.Even though it is the festive season it hasn't stopped my …
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2020 is almost over and I thought it would be nice for people to share their top three favourite rea…
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  •  · Pratchett was a genius, no? Hogfather, Thud, and Fifth Elephant get better each reading.

Of course, it's your decision but Silverwood Books seems to be a lot of money for not a lot. I think since self-publishing has taken off a lot of vanity publishers have moved into "self-publishing help".

For example, in they media service they talk about Pdf ARC (Advanced Reader Copies). Are they only producing pdf for the author or will they be sending them out to generate reviews and blrbs to other authors and reviewers/bloggers? Who will they be sending them to, how many, how long before publication. What's the details of their social media broadcast for 3 months, which media, to what size audience, what kind of messages?

Their publishing service sounds light too. Pretty much everything in their silver service are things an author can do themselves for little money.

Hi Daniel, 

It's readable but it reads very distant like an article or in another term like a documentary. The main reasons for this are:

- There are a lot of places where you are telling the reader where you should be showing instead to make the read a lot more immersive.

- It's hard to see who the POV character is in the story. It feels like it might be Matt but throughout the story we are never really in his head. We have no idea how he feels or what he thinks about what's happening. Is he scared, excited, worried, etc... and how does emotions translate externally?

- There is a lot of filtering which adds distance. Not sure if you are familiar with the terms, but in case filtering is the use of unnecessary words that separate the reader from the story’s action. Filtering adds a layer between the reader and the character, it forces the reader to step back and to watch the character, rather than experience the action. Typical filtering words are: see, listen, watch, peer, notice, think, feel, know, seem, hear, etc... Filtering is a form of telling when we talk about "show, don't tell." Not saying that you should never use filtering but it should be use sparingly only when necessary.

- As writers we often over-estimate the amount of information to enjoy a story. You have a tendency to over explain and it comes across as if you don't trust your reader. There is a difference between showing what you know and what is necessary for the reader to enjoy the story. One of the best advice I got from my writing tutor was RUE (Resist the Urge to Explain).

Writing is in the rewriting. You have a solid base to work with, including a great setting, and the opening of this story has potential that it needs to be edited into shape.

Good luck with your edits.

If you need a simple website I wouldn't recommend paying a professional. I used Squarespace.com for my website and all I paid is the yearly fee for their basic package. I've done the website myself using their templates and there are loads of video tutorials on YouTube which show you how to do pretty much everything. If you want to have a look I posted my website address in an above post.

Unless you have something to showcase there is no reason for an author website. Author websites and big social media following are only really important for non-fiction, especially lifestyle non-fiction like cookbooks, and such. For fiction, research shows that big social media following doesn't really translate into sales for trade publishing. It's different for self-publishing.

If you sign with an agent and they sell your book to a publisher, your publisher might ask you to have a website to promote your novel but that's it.

I had a website before I started querying agents because I had quite a few short stories published in online magazines and in print and I wanted to showcase them all in one place.

My pre-querying website is pretty much the same as it is today, minus the Novel and Critique Service pages.


I hope this helps.

Two of my favourite reads of the year have been debuts — Miranda Cowley Heller's The Paper Palace and Anna Bailey's Tall Bones. I've also loved Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's The Girls are all So Nice Here, Ashley Audrain's The Push, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water and Chris Whitaker's The Forevers.

I also got to read some great books coming out later this year, especially Catriona Ward's Sundial coming out in March and Hervé Le Tellier The Anomaly.

Guess that makes me a snob then. I love hardbacks. I love paperbacks too, I love sprayed edges, I love the weight in my hands, the smell of paper, I love seeing them on my shelves, they always bring back memories. I love not having to wait and treat myself to buy an anticipated read. I also read e-books too.

I say people should read whatever format they like and not be judged for it.

Congratulations on completing your novel, a lot of people don't get to that stage.

What to do next depends on what your goals is: do you want to be trade-published or do you want to self-publish? If you want to be trade-published then the first step is to submit to agents. You would need to do your research as to which agents to approach (not all represent historical fiction), check if they are open to submission what their submission guidelines are, etc... I wrote a blog last year on how to find an agent so there might be some information you might find useful: https://www.laurevanrensburg.com/blog-1/blog-post-title-two-5atn9 

If you are looking to self-publish then you would need to build a reader's base and there are different ways of doing that: create a website, build a mailing list, newsletters, short stories, etc to drive potential readers to your books on Amazon or whatever platform you'll use. You'll need a designer for your book cover as well. There are a few threads on this forum about useful information and tools to self-publish. There are also self-published writers on this forum that can give more information on the process.

I don't know how many drafts you've gone through and how many edits, but in either case (trade-publish or self-publish) you'll need to have your MS in the best possible shape and as polished as you can. Thousands of aspiring writers submit to agents every year but only a handful get signed, millions of books are self-published each year so your book has to stand out otherwise it will drown among this massive number of releases.

In the hierarchy of edits, copy-edit is the last one on the list: biggest and first come the structural edits, then line-edits and finally copy edits (polishing the grammar, typos, checking for consistency and clarity), but as I said I don't know how much work and editing you've done on your MS before the copy edits.

I hope this helps and good luck.

Hi Jo, 

I like your opening sentence and it has potential. It creates tension and intrigue but then the following paragraph is counter-productive:

1. You create tension with the opening line, but then deflate it with the following paragraph by explaining how magic would be the death of her. Also the exposition heavy paragraph is not conducive to tension. If she is being chased by hounds you want the reader immersed and feel the tension and the fast-pace of a chase.

2. You create intrigue but then instead of moving the story forward to give us a paragraph of exposition. In this moment, Viola's main focus would be to evade the hounds instead of thinking about her son energy and how it compares to hers. You've also robbed the reader the opportunity to keep reading to figure it out why she is running.

The opening is where you set the story forward and then you can slowly drip feed background info so the reader can gleam those info and piece them all together to figure things out.

Added a forum 

There is a new novel competition launching in January for unrepresented writers (non-agented or self published) where everyone who enters will get a paragraph feedback about their entry regardless if they are listed or not.

The judging panel has some big names in publishing so a potentially great way to get your work in front of the right people.

Furthermore, there are a number of sponsored entries available for low income writers and it’s open to writers based outside of the UK.


A publisher in-house style sheet is just there for visual consistency across books and is not connected to the author's writing style at least with my publisher. My trade publishing experience in that subject is very different and my publisher's style sheet is nowhere near that prescriptive. I guess this is specific to that particular publisher. Nobody else in my debut group has ever mentioned as well being told that they couldn't use something, and we share a lot.

I was never sent a style sheet, but my copy editor mentioned some of the in-house style in connection with my MS which were mainly things such as: which version of ok/OK/okay to use, style for chapter title (i.e. bolded or not), what kind of book/film/poem titles should be in italics or not. However, I was never told there were any kind of punctuation I was not allowed to use. Quite the opposite, I apparently do not use commas enough! 

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