Someone has accepted me…

Posted on Updated on

I received an email from Britain’s Next Bestseller today accepting my proposal to promote “Entering the Weave” on their website.

I was at the cinema and I just happened to check my emails. Reading it the first time I thought it was yet another standard rejection. So I turned my phone off and enjoyed the film. It wasn’t until later that I read it properly…

Dear Simon,

I trust this email finds you well.

Thank you for submitting your manuscript, Entering the Weave, to Britain’s Next Bestseller.

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – we have been inundated with submissions. We have finally had a chance to review your manuscript. We think it has potential, fantasy books have been popular on BNBS and would love for you to promote your book on our site with a view of landing a publishing contract.

I have attached some more information about how Britain’s Next Bestseller works and what we offer.


Makes me feel like a professional writer at last… Now I’ll start to worry that I’ve misinterpreted the email.

Writing For Revenge

Posted on Updated on

Best not served
Best not served

I’ll show them!

This blog is now nearly a year old and I’m still no closer to publication.

I’ve entered and lost three writing competitions, I’ve sent “The Clockwork Butterfly” to every UK agent who purports to enjoy YA fantasy fiction, and I’ve even sent “Entering the Weave” to a publisher who claims to accept unsolicited manuscripts.

And what have I received in return?

Rejection. Or, even worse, nothing at all. Agents and judges and editors are roundly ignoring me.

Well! I’ll show them.

“What will you show them?”

I’ll show them how inexcusably wrong they are for their brush offs and cold shoulders. I’ll make them eat their form letters and standard responses. They shall rue the day they ever dared to not accept me into the halcyon pastures of the publishing world.

“And how, exactly, will you do this?”

I’ve had a new novel idea. A great, zeitgeisty idea that will redefine the very nature of books. Hardened literary agents will swoon at its audacity and grizzled editors weep with envy at its originality. And I’m going to write it fuelled by the energy of bitterness. I’m going to shout it into my keyboard, scratch it with bold, black marker pen into my notebooks. Each word shall carry the weight of revenge upon it like a medal.

“Is it a comedy?”

No! It will be a visceral indictment of today’s society. (Although there will be some funny bits)

“So… once you’ve written it, what are you going to do then? How will this revenge manifest itself?”

Well. I’ll send it to all the agents and publishing houses. And when they write their fawning emails back, begging to represent it or publish it, I shall ignore them, or send them a polite, impersonal rejection right back. That’ll teach them. It’s foolproof.

“I’m not sure, it’s quite foolproof. Have you ever heard the saying: ‘Cutting off your nose to spite your face’?”

Of course.

“Aren’t you doing that?”


“Wouldn’t it be better to write a really great novel. A novel fuelled, not by revenge or bitterness, but by passion and empathy. A novel so original, so well written anyone who reads it falls in love with it.”

Hmmmm. That does sound slightly better.

From Elation to Depression in 560 Characters

Posted on Updated on

I am too disappointed today.

And I’m not using the modern version of “too” which seems to means “very”. I mean I am more disappointed than I should be and I can see the clouds of depression rolling in. Which is stupid.

I know it’s stupid and although that doesn’t relieve the disappointment it might, just might, help me keep things in perspective. As writing this moaning post might…

“Why are you disappointed?” I hear my zeros of fans cry. “Have you had some terrible news?”

“Yes.” I moan. “I haven’t been shortlisted for a competition I entered.”

“Which competition was this?”

“I’m glad you asked… It was the Write-a-thon for Nibfest. I had to write 5000 words using a prescribed opening line as my starting point. Which I did and was really pleased with my effort.”

“Oooooo.” Nobody says. “Well that doesn’t sound fair. You should’ve automatically won…”

“It’s not fair! And I worked myself into a froth of excitement by reading too much into the tweets leading up to the announcement of the result. Especially this one:”

There was obviously more than one time bending story entered...
There was obviously more than one time bending story entered…

“Ooooo. That bit where it says “time-bending fantasy” could be talking about your story.”

“I know!”

That’s exactly what I thought. And I congratulated myself on impressing the judges with my talent and daydreamed my way all the way to winning the lunch. And securing Laetitia Rutherford as my agent. And getting a book deal. And buying an island…

Then we went and saw Godzilla at the cinema… And even that 300 metre monster could not stop me thinking about the lunch I’d won.

I’d turned my phone off for the cinema. I managed to wait at least four seconds between the credits rolling and checking Twitter for any more updates. And then, slowly, over the course of three tweets, my absolute elation dissolved into abject disbelief.

The story of my happiness ground into dust
The story of my happiness ground into dust – but good news (I suppose) for 7 other people

So, heartfelt congratulations to @FinlaysonPalmer, @KMcCnoo (twitter doesn’t seem to know who this is, so perhaps it’s actually a misspelling of @mythagowood – me!) @Topkitty, @EssJayBaxter, @CassieLeedham, Jenny Butler-Smith and Jack O’Donnell.

In my last post I wrote that one of the reasons for this site was “To motivate myself by transforming each rejection from a personal slight into a mere statistic.” Although this seems to be much more than a statistic I’m beginning to believe in my previous wisdom. This is, after all, only the second writing competition I’ve entered and The Writing Dead will only be the third and if I don’t win that I’ll do some more…

Perseverance is the key.

To prove that success is possible here are the thoughts of a couple of the shortlistees…

Emma Finlayson-Palmer

Cassie Leedham