This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I’ve been thinking a lot this year about the moment I heard my book was going to be published. It was five years ago and I had just been made redundant from my job as a political copywriter. The reason it has been on my mind is that my fifth novel, Take A Look At Me Now, begins when the main character – Nell Sullivan – is unexpectedly made redundant. As I celebrate five years of being a published author, I’m amazed at how much my life has changed.
My book deal moment took place in my beloved Fiat Punto on a rainy Friday in November 2008.
Two weeks beforehand, after leaving my job with the classic cardboard box, pot plant and stolen office stapler, I had received an email from Avon (part of HarperCollins). They were asking me to send the full manuscript of my book, Coffee At Kowalski’s, that I’d put on authonomy.com (HarperCollins’ website for unpublished authors) to see what other people thought of it. The problem was, it wasn’t finished! So I sat up for three days and nights during my garden leave week and wrote 20,000 words to finish the novel. I’d sent it off, believing that I’d never hear anything more about it.
But then a second email arrived. Maxine Hitchcock, the Publishing Director at Avon, wanted me to call her. I’d found a part-time job and, after my first day, I phoned Maxine from my car.She said she really loved my novel and that it reminded her of Cecelia Ahern (a massive compliment, considering I love her books). And she kept asking me if ‘this is something you want to do’. For a full forty minutes we chatted about my book and other stories I’d like to write (including a tumbleweed-filled pause when I tried to pitch my comedy novel about a 3,000 year-old mystical wombat) – and all the time I had no idea of what was coming. Finally, she said, ‘We do want to publish your novel, by the way.’
I was absolutely stunned.
‘Are you sure?’
She laughed and said she was very sure, and that Avon wanted to offer me a three-book deal. And then, she suggested I take the weekend to think about it.
It was the longest weekend of my life!
As early as I could call the following Monday, I spoke to her and accepted her offer. Then, I walked around like a crazily grinning zombie for the next week.
Fairytale of New York (my renamed debut novel) was published the following November and, to my amazement, sold over 100,000 copies in its first three months, reaching number 8 in the Sunday Times Top 10 Bestsellers. Each of my successive novels have become bestsellers too, and I feel incredibly lucky.
When I talk to other writers and share my story, I always say this: it happened for me, so it can happen for you. Keep believing – and never give up.
Miranda's 5th novel, Take A Look At Me Now, was published in October and has reached number 4 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. Congratulations, Miranda!