Typical author blabbing about her new release… first it appeared in my mailing list, then inside the local magazine, next we headed over on Instagram and now, here on my blog, I reveal to you the cover of Don’t Tell Jack out October 2021…………………………
For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x
I work at a place that demonstrates the uniqueness of people. Sometimes we have problems to solve, but mostly days are spent chatting to lovely people who come along to our shop and Post Office for varying reasons. I think lots of the time recently, particularly among the elderly, the trip is the first time they’ve left the house in a year!
Either way I feel our conversations help in some way.
The other day a lady I hadn’t seen in a long time came to me in the Post Office. It sounded like she’d had an eventful year. We chatted and I felt the sigh of relief lift off her to be chatting to someone in person. No screens besides that of the Post Office sorting her banking out. Her family live at the other end of the country so it’s been virtual contact for too long, she was saying.
Anyway she was telling me about one lucky aspect to her recent days in that she’d won on the People’s Postcode Lottery three times. £10 each time, but a win is a win. Not bad as luck goes. The latest win was for a book. She doesn’t read anymore so she gave me her prize.
How lovely. How kind.
Thanks to this lady, her luck, her generosity and her desire to have a real chat with a real person, I am now the happy owner of A Keeper by Graham Norton and I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. Yeah I found the two for one deal!
I will be posting reviews in due course.
There are good people in this world.
For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x
When thinking up material to put on my blog, I always think about what I would love to read as an aspiring writer. Some may find my advice incredibly boring. For some it might not work or it could be the complete opposite to what others do but this is me and this is how I edit.
So, I have 65,000+ words on a page.
I know that this has to increase. I also know that some bits must be cut in order for the end product to be of my best ability.
Firstly, I set myself a goal. I put the pressure on. This goal is therefore usually unrealistic but I make myself slightly stressed out in order to edit at my best. For example, I have just finished my second novel and I am well into the editing process on that. My end goal is the end of this month which was initially the end of last year so that the pressure remains.
Next I read through chapter by chapter and as much as if I were reading it as a novel as I possibly can. This is done on my laptop. I make changes as I go. I note down ideas on a separate document to look at later regarding the piece as a whole. This might be to check that a certain character is consistently a girl or to ensure that the timeline of events works.
Once I have completed the first read through, I turn to the trusty editor button on Microsoft Word and I complete all amendments there if I agree.
I then print it out. Bind it.
Having it nicely presented somehow helps and it also makes for a good keepsake in the future when I reminisce about past works. This is partly for my own satisfaction, but partly because I find that my brain works in an entirely different way when it reads something printed as opposed to on the screen of a laptop. It also makes for a nice and easy presented version to give to proofreaders.
I send to any proofreaders that I have in mind and keep one copy for myself to read. I read again on paper, marking in pen any changes and again filling in my notes doc on the computer.
Next I take back any proofreader copies as well as my newly changed hardcopy and make all changes.
Finally I go over my notes doc and complete all task there.
Then it goes off to the publishers.
That’s it. That is how I edit. In case you were wondering. Apologies if you weren’t!
Happy Friday all.
All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.
Publishing is a strange process. It begins with hours of work, a never ending task of finishing the book. Sometimes it’s enjoyable, sometimes painful.
Then editing begins and it honestly feels like that takes decades to complete. There are a lot of very quiet periods spent waiting on the next draft to come through, followed by extremely busy and excitable periods in looking over said draft to send back.
I’m like a kid with it all – so excited and restless!
Each time I recieve an email my heart races. Even during this initial marketing stage, I have found myself replying so fast to each email almost choking on my words to get my questions sent off before the person on the other end has read back over what they have sent.
Yesterday was a brilliant day!
As the world is in a dire state of affairs with the global pandemic and the US election and while all you hear about is doom and gloom, I was glad to receive good news. Is that selfish? I shared my joy with others and it boosted spirits at work so I guess not.
My Mum sent me a picture and while I was working and trying to make out what the picture was I held in a scream when I realised it was quite possibly most probably the first prints of my first novel!!!!!!!
I rang her knowing I was expecting two books for a separate reason. I also condsidered the fact that it could be the promo material and the books would follow. The conversation went something like:
‘HOW BIG IS THE BOX?!’
‘Er, about a foot wide and…’
‘Mum, does it look like 25 books or 2 books?’
‘BRING IT DOWN!’
I couldn’t open the package faster if I tried. I ripped it open and pulled out the first copy of my novel in my hand. It felt so good. It SMELT so good.
Immediately I started glancing through looking for mistakes. Then I swiftly stopped!
Wow. It’s all been very quiet on the publishing front and then – bam – it’s livened up.
Last week was a little bit crazy. I was doing 6 o’clock starts and leaving work at 6pm with possibly a few hours out but often that time was spent running around doing work-y things. Of course, this is the week in which I receive exciting emails for my book. Why wouldn’t it be? I find it’s like London buses my work load, it all happens at once!
It was Wednesday. I had just returned to work having sat staring at the TV not taking in what words the presenters were saying but instead contemplating how long my adrenaline rush would last and whether or not I’d survive the week. We were two important cogs of the wheel down and I was having to fill my head with more information than usual. The email came through from my publishers, and I knew exactly what it was.
My final proof certificate!!!!!!
I read the email carefully, glanced at the piles of post I needed to get through for customers who had come in during my break, and got straight back into my car to go to my printer and get it all signed off. The email stated that if I got the form filled in and sent back quickly, my book would make the Christmas market. I think signing and returning within 2 hours of receiving the email is pretty bloody quick!
That was that. Excitement again. Like no other. I couldn’t believe it and had to pinch myself that it was real and happening.
Friday. I got home and it was sunny so I had my sausage dog in his harness and we were waiting on my sister to go for a walk. Another email. This time it was my publication date!
Oh my oh my oh my…
My book is going to be published on the 30th November!!!!! It is all so very real and exciting. My support bubble are all incredible and the pre-order list is expanding fast.
A 2020 publication date might not be so bad… we shall see…
For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x
During lock down my friend gave me a book by Lucinda Riley. The book is set in Southwold, Suffolk which a place we visit fairly often and a place we love. It is also a place we have been denied of recently due to everything going on. We’ve been denied of going anywhere!
I started reading The Butterfly Room during the stricter lock down. When STAY HOME was the clear message from the government. The lines weren’t blurred. We knew who we could and couldn’t see, where we could and couldn’t go.
The novel brought me so much pleasure in reading about a place I know well. It supplied comfort in memories of good times and also the reality in that nothing is perfect. The book even gave me ideas for a lock down novel (w a t c h t h i s s p a c e).
I then found a second book by Riley in the local phone box come book exchange. This one was set in Greece. The Olive Tree brought me the same warmth in remembering freedom. It made me feel as though I too was holidaying in Greece while reading it on my sun lounger on hotter days.
Riley’s recurring theme in both novels is houses. Old, grand, full of secrets and mystery. One thing that I particularly love is the authenticity of the stories and how she effectively depicts fragility and imperfection in all human lives.
If you want escapism in difficult times, look no further.
Two books in and I highly recommend Lucinda Riley as a must-read author. Especially now.
It has been a week and a half since I received the exciting email containing the professionally edited proof of my debut novel.
At a first glance, all I felt was excitement. Giddy excitement to see my baby, still on a Word Document, but looking as it will look on the pages of an actual book. The layout just looked fabulous and having my name as the author and on copyright was pretty cool.
My words flowing, words I had written, characters I’d come up with in a world entirely created by moi – it still seems surreal. Scrolling briefly before reading any, I was happy to see that it hadn’t been completely covered in editor comments and changes, and felt quite proud that an amount of my time studying English had been worthwhile.
My publishers explained to me in detail how they have edited my manuscript and advised precisely how I go about agreeing with their changes or, indeed, disagreeing.
I realise I am no professional. I am fully aware that I am brand new to this game. However, I felt it would be useful to share with you all my tips so far on THE PROOF and what I have found helpful when reading through my entire manuscript once again.
READ ALOUD: it makes for clearer reading and easier to spot little mistakes
TAKE YOUR TIME: while time is of the essence, this book is going out into the world, do not rush, be careful to get it right
PLAN, BUT NOT TOO MUCH: I have planned to read a chapter a day. If I achieve more, then I am very happy but if that is all I manage then equally, I have done well. I work full time and sometimes after a busy shift my eyes need to be away from screens.
KEEP A CLEAR HEAD: there is no point attempting to effectively read through and edit when your brain is frazzled. I find it takes a few moments to get into the right head space in which to work properly. This weekend I am off to the beach. I have a great friend who makes this happen but also, the beach is where my mind instantly clears and I know I will get a lot of quality work done while there.
BE PROUD: don’t underestimate your achievement and be proud to look at your book in a professionally edited form. As much as you feel you’re boring those around you, it is VERY VERY exciting!
There I was signed up, no going back and eager for all that the future held. I was thrilled at how my future was developing.
I sent off my manuscript ready for it to undergo the first stages of publishing. I had read a lot about it before but it was very exciting to see it done for myself and for my debut novel.
I have to say so far the communication between myself and my publishers has been sound. I couldn’t fault it. They are very quick to respond and thorough in their responses.
Firstly, I had to fill in a questionnaire which included lots of details about my novel as well as a cover design idea. I can’t draw nor am I very artistic in that sense at all so I had an image inside my mind and desperately tried to explain it as well as I could in words.
Two weeks later I was emailed what they had come up with and it is perfect.
Now awaiting the first proofs the pending excitement continues.
Shortly after receiving my publishing contract I returned to reality. I put a serious head on and I realised I needed to make a very important decision.
I researched my publishers online, I read about the different forms of publishing, I read and re-read the contract and then passed it onto my brother for advice.
I soon realised that this was a big decision to make. Nowadays there are so many options within the publishing industry and so many success stories within each route taken that it opens up so many opportunities to consider.
Reading through the industry jargon hurt my head which is why it was also great to get people who know about contracts to translate to me in layman’s terms.
I contacted people who have worked in publishing for years. I considered advice from the society of authors. I emailed my long list of questions to the publishers directly. I weighed up the pros and cons.
I had more sleepless nights worrying, fretting, wondering, learning. I discovered how clueless I am and how everything will be a valuable lesson. I asked for the opinions of those closest to me.
Some time earlier this year amid the mass of submissions I sent out, I sent off a submission to my (now) publishers, never thinking for a minute but forever hopeful that they would accept my work. One of the few publishers who accept unsolicited material.
I had undertaken a lot of research regarding the publishing process and sent most of my submissions out to agents hoping for the best. My most useful resources during this time was my writing course which I do from home and the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2019.
My writing course helped me construct my submission to a professional level as well as aiding my writing process while the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2019 gave me all the information about agents, publishers and what to do to become a published novelist.
Some time in July I heard that my manuscript was being passed to the board of Editors who were to review it and get back to me.
Some weeks passed.
On Tuesday 17th September 2019 I recieved a publishing contract in the post. I was beside myself.
Excitedly I text family and friends delighted to tell them my news. I shared champagne celebrations that evening with some friends. I couldn’t sleep that night because I was sleeping on clouds. I couldn’t quite believe it.
MY FIRST NOVEL WAS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!!!!
I dreamed of the book signings, the interviews, the launch party. I kept holding my contract to certify its reality.
I was telling people at work and each time it felt surreal to be talking about me and my novel. I received gifts and cards in the post. I was eligible to sign up to the society of authors. It all felt pretty darn cool.