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I completed the City University London MA on Crime and Thriller Writing which was led by Claire McGowan who is one of the top selling authors on Kindle. I have self published the first book in a trilogy called The Last Messenger which is a lost secret conspiracy thriller. The second is out in September which will be called The Lies of Our Fathers. Although the novel made respectable sales (about 4000) it was not enough to be of interest to agents and I appreciate the genre is not that popular in today's Girl on the Train world of Psychological thrillers. I have just signed up to Jericho Writers Ultimate Novel Course so I can write something much more marketable, while being under close supervision. I have the hook line and synopsis so I am starting to write the first chapters before the course starts. In this Covid world we are all living in , writing looks like a much more attractive option. Looking forward to the course.   My twitter handle is @jonmark1956. I also have a website :


Yvonne. Congratulations on completing your novel. Regarding Beta readers, there are arguments on both sides whether it is worth doing or not. If you have used a mentor and editor , then the novel is already in good shape and probably does not need further input from anyone. That's up to you. Certainly, do not pay  for Beta Readers. Usually authors who want beta readers will do it if you beta read their novel.

Send an email to Emily - Amanda. She's running it. 

Of course, Emily. We all write scenes we don't need, while we discover the story. I always think that getting the first draft done as quickly as possible is so important because only then will you be able to see what is really necessary and what needs to go. . 

Amanda . I am on twitter @jonmark1956, instagram @jonathanmarkwriter and have a website My facebook page is not worth looking at . I set all this up for my self publishing . It can all be easily changed if need be. 

Hi Amanda. I have a writer friend who was in the same position as you and when she was published they dreamt up a new name for her which they chose for her, so I wouldn't worry about it too much at this stage.  In my case , my legal name helped me where I dropped my surname and used my first two names - coming up with Jonathan Mark  as a pen name.     

I'm working on completing my first draft, approaching 90k and think maybe will be around 100k by the time the first draft is done. I have the books ending mapped out but juggling the chapters at the moment.

It is always best to be realistic and accept that there are already far too many books published already, so the chances of someone finding time to read yours is small unless it is exceptional. I also think it is important to narrow the odds and having face to face contact with agents and using the services that Jericho offer will help. I use the analogy of the athlete who wants to go to the Olympics. They train every day getting up at the crack of dawn and in the end they might not be good enough. Is all that training wasted?  They have to learn to deal with failure. Let us suppose they actually get into the team and go to the Olympics , they might not even get through the heats but they still try. Winning a gold medal is a chance in a million. Writing is like that. You have to want to do it. As Debi said, it needs to be an enjoyable experience. 

I've self published two novels and had some great feedback from readers. I only sold about 5000 kindle copies and about 150 paperbacks of my first book which  is no where near enough for an agent to make them money (or me for that matter).   Agents liked what I was doing but advised me to write something with a wider potential readership so now I am writing a domestic noir psychological thriller. Writing something which is more character driven is a great intellectual challenge. I'm enjoying the experience.

I've self published two novels and it is hard work. There are far too many books out there and getting your novel noticed is very difficult. As we are approaching self publishing month thought you might be interested in an interview I did for the Manybooks website. It is one way to get your book noticed. I've also done blog tours, advertised on Amazon and done reduced price book promotions.

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Just introducing myself. Always found the Festival at York to be very useful. Hope this online event will be just as inspiring. 

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