Nov 27, 2014

Dreams Can Come True by Caroline Roberts

“Dreams Can Come True”

Hi, I’m Caroline and my wonderful news is that I’m finally about to achieve my dream of becoming a published author. “The Torn Up Marriage”, my contemporary women’s fiction novel about the bomb of an affair, is going to be released on the 5th March 2015, published by Harper Impulse, part of Harper Collins! I still don’t quite believe it – don’t suppose I will until I hold the book or kindle version in my hands. That will be a very special moment indeed.

My journey as a writer to this point hasn’t been an easy one.  Well, the writing itself was fine, I have always enjoyed sitting down with pen, paper, laptop and letting my imagination take me off into a whole new world, but the submission process was an endurance course. I know many of you may already be at various points on that journey, and at times, especially when the rejections from agents and publishers keep rolling in, which always hurts, you are probably wondering what on earth you are doing this for. So I hope these tips, learnt from my experiences along the way, might help a little:

  • Write about what you are passionate or curious about. To write a whole novel you need to love what you are writing. That will also come across when you get to pitching your work. Think of it as a marathon, it’s going to take a long time and a lot of work. But don’t let that overwhelm you either, write every day if you can, (though I don’t always manage that myself, sometimes life and the day job take over!) and just chunk the work up into smaller pieces, so for example just focus on the next scene.
  • Read. Enjoying other writers’ work, seeing how they create a great plot, the hooks, the characters and emotions, rubs off on you as a writer. You are always learning your craft, even when you are reading  just for pleasure.
  • Don’t rush your submissions. You’ve probably spent a year writing this book, so why rush off a submission in a half hour? Do your research on the company or person you are applying to (preferably submit to a named individual). Think about why them and how your work might fit with their portfolio or that publishing brand, and personalise the letter if you can. Comment if you’ve met them at a conference or talk, read that they are interested in debut authors, have similar authors on their list etc. READ THE GUIDELINES AND SUBMIT EXACTLY AS THEY WISH. (See my blog page, in particular “Riding the Rejections” and “The Submission Rollercoaster” for more information and advice on this.)
  • Network. My big break –  I was actually offered two book deals by two major publishers on the same day after 10 years writing and over 5 years submitting! - came after 1:1’s at a writers’ conference. Just chatting to other writers, finding a support network of other like-minded people, doing workshops, and exploring social media connections help so much. It took me quite some time to realise just how important that can be. I live in a very rural area so there wasn’t that much locally, but I set myself away to the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference  (I write in a romantic genre), booked myself for some one-to-one pitches there (gulp!)and that was probably the best thing I ever did – other than write the novels of course. You may not be able to get along to a conference, but there are many talks, book fairs, library events and writing groups around, so ask about and look in magazines like Writers’ Forum and Writing Magazine.
  • NO-ONE CAN TELL YOU YOU’RE NOT A REAL WRITER JUST BECAUSE YOU AREN’T PUBLISHED YET. You are a real writer just an unpublished one! Hold your head high, be proud of what you have achieved, be it a short story , a poem, a novel or three.
  • GOOD LUCK! KEEP WRITING! HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAM And give yourself some TLC. When the rejections roll in - sorry, but they inevitably will, unless you are one of the very lucky few - try not to take it too personally, easier said than done I know, but just keep going, keep writing what you love, (go off and have that glass of wine, chocolate cake, hug, preferably all 3 in my case, to cheer yourself up) and one day somebody else will love it too, and you might just be bagging yourself a book deal!

Very best wishes to you all,

Caroline x

Follow me on Twitter: @_caroroberts
And my blogspot for more detailed submission and writing tips:

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