Writing a book is something lots of us dream about, but how do you get published?
Are you sitting on the next fiction blockbuster? Maybe you’re simply nurturing the gem of an idea… Well, knowing how to get published could be the key to a new life as a writer.
We asked bestselling author Cathy Bramley and Orion Editorial Director Charlotte Mursell to share their insider tips at an exclusive W&H online event.
So join us for a free How to get published Masterclass on August 6 at 7.30pm – simply click here to register.
Meet our masterclass experts
Cathy Bramley, Sunday Times Top 10 best-selling author
The queen of light-hearted romantic fiction, Cathy has penned 11 books. Her latest paperback is A Patchwork Family, published in March this year. Her upcoming eBook, My Kind of Happy, will be published as an online serial and the first instalment – A New Leaf – will be available free to attendees via a link we will share on the night.
Cathy’s other hugely popular books include The Lemon Tree Café, Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm, Wickham Hall, Conditional Love, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food and White Lies and Wishes.
A keen reader, Cathy turned to writing after an 18-year career running her own marketing agency. She says she now has her dream job. Cathy lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her family and a Cockerpoo called Pearl.
Charlotte Mursell, Editorial Director Orion Fiction
What Charlotte doesn’t know about publishing fiction isn’t worth knowing. She was named a Rising Star by the Bookseller last year and took on her current role in January.
Previously, at HarperCollins, Charlotte published Vox by Christina Dalcher, a feminist dystopian novel that became a Richard & Judy pick. She also published The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo, which became a Reese Witherspoon Book Club choice. And The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts became a Kindle bestseller. Charlotte also published Emma Barnett’s taboo-busting manifesto, Period.
How to get published – what will the masterclass cover?
Anyone can try their hand at writing but the gap between that and getting published is what Cathy and Charlotte will talk about. You’ll find out all about the publishing process, how to pitch your book, the agent’s role and self-publishing.
Cathy and Charlotte will also reveal their tips for polishing a manuscript. And – importantly – making sure that book ends up in the right hands. Here they share a few pointers for would-be writers…
Still at the ‘thinking’ stage of writing a book?
Cathy says it’s important to give yourself permission to write. That means setting aside any negative feelings you might be holding that writing is somehow indulgent or worthless.
Her advice is to carve out a time and place, schedule it into your day and honour that commitment.
How do you know when your manuscript is ready?
A writer’s favourite two words are The End, says Cathy. Of course, it isn’t the end, but it’s the point at which I’ve transferred the whole story from my head onto the page.
Once those two words have been written, I go back through all the little notes I’ve made, make any last changes, do a quick spell check and then… I press ‘send’.
My advice is always step away from your manuscript for a few days, says Charlotte. Then read it one last time, and if you feel it’s the best it can be – hit send.
5 ways to nail a synopsis
You need a good synopsis, says Charlotte. Alongside the covering letter, it might be one of the first things we read. It’s important that it’s clear, concise and engaging. It should be a taste of what’s to come.
Charlotte’s key pointers to think about are…
1. Who are your main characters?
2. Where/when is the novel set?
3. Does your plot outline describe your novel from beginning to end? Make sure to include all the big turning points and reveals!
4. What is the style of your writing – is it humorous, dark, twisty, fast-paced?
5. Length is important so, ideally, keep your synopsis to just one page!
Want to know more about how to get published?
Simply register here to join our free How to get published masterclass and you could find yourself on a reading list before you know it. Plus you’ll receive a link to read the first part of Cathy’s latest serialised eBook, My Kind of Happy.
A final thought… JK Rowling might have been rejected 12 times but persistence and know-how paid off, so take heart and join us on Thursday August 6 at 7.30pm as we unravel the mysteries of publishing for free.