In 2015, Avon Maze, Harper Impulse and Carina UK ran a joint global writing contest to search for new romance writing talent. I entered the We Heart New Talent contest in February 2015 and now, my debut novel Girl on a Plane is being released globally as an e-book today, 18 July2015.
Woo-hoo! It’s been an exciting few months since I WON the We Heart New Talent contest run by HarperCollins UK. A few months later, I was offered a publishing contract with the digital-first imprint, Avon Maze.
Let me just backtrack a little… I entered a contest in February 2015 and after almost 18 months of gestation, my book-baby is born! How amazing is that? I’ll tell you what, it’s totally amazing to me, and I wrote the book.
How did I get here?
As a new-ish romance writer – I’ve been writing fiction seriously for nearly three years now – I’ve been lucky enough to participate in some fantastic writing workshops and events such as the Romance Writers of Australia conferences. These have been valuable learning and networking opportunities that were pure gold in terms of giving me direction in my writing career. I also absorbed writing articles and blogs almost by osmosis, subscribing to all sorts of feeds.
The first novel I attempted to write, I drafted in three months. Probably complete rubbish, if I look back on it now (I don’t want to, and you can’t make me). But the next story started as a 10,000 word short story or novelette, which I re-worked and then added words, until finally it became a full length contemporary romance novel. That’s the one that finally became Girl on a Plane.
I entered a lot of writing contests. I mean, a lot. Fifteen or sixteen contests in about two years, which is pretty exhausting-sounding if I think about it. So I try not to think about it. But the reality was, those contests were a training ground for me as a writer. I learned how to write a ‘hook’, a blurb, an interesting first sentence, how to format a manuscript and how to write a synopsis (sort of – I still don’t want to write one and you can’t make me). And I received pages and pages of notes from more experienced authors, which were amazing feedback.
My big break was entering and WINNING the We Heart New Talent contest run by HarperCollins UK in 2015. Several months after entering, I received an email from an editor from HarperCollins in London which was an OMG moment… followed by many months of re-writing and eventually going through the editorial process.
The team at Avon Maze also produced a sensational book cover. It’s so graphic, it stands out well branding-wise on Amazon and everywhere online. Which brings us to the marketing side of the equation.
Promo Central – welcome to your destination!
Once I signed my book contract (SQUEE!), I soon realised the importance of planning and building my marketing promotions online. As a new digital-first author, online content and social media interaction are vital for building your profile. Promo Central seems to be my new address! I don’t mind, in fact I enjoy the promotional side of the publishing cycle, from what I’ve experienced so far.
I’ve had a bit of fun playing around with promo graphics in Canva and also commissioned an awesome teaser trailer video from Trailermade Production. Check it out:
Release day articles and blogs
I’ve also had some fabulous promotional opportunities that I’d love to share with you all again – if you haven’t already stopped by my Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Where to next?
I’ll be continuing the book promotion, blog writing, and maybe get some actual fresh-words down on paper for my next book! Yes, that’s right, somewhere in between all the exciting pre-release madness, I’ve managed to write another almost complete novel. It’s going to need a lot of editing though, so once I have my debut book-honeymoon love-goggles off and I can think clearly again, I’ll crack on with editing the new one.
I’ll probably write some short stories or novellas too, since I have a few more ideas bubbling away in the background. Exciting times!
Girl on a Plane has now taken off — go to my Books page for all buy links!