Champagne on icebergs – and congrats round-up 2010-11

We send huge congratulations to Sally Nilsson on the publication of her book, The Man Who Sank Titanic, an engrossing read about her great-grandfather. Published by The History Press it tells the fascinating story of her great-grandfather, who was at the helm when the famous ship went down. Sally is seeks to set the record straight and reveal the true character of the man her family knew. This is one man’s story of survival, betrayal and determination.

Sally came to our Festival of Writing in York got inspired, got plenty of help (including from the wonderful Louise Berridge, one of our most successful ever clients) – and now has earned her very well deserved reward. She’s been nice enough to tell us, ‘I can’t thank you enough for the excellent support services The Writer’s Workshop provide to new authors. If it hadn’t been for you guys, I wouldn’t have been able to write the book.’

We are always genuinely pleased if we can help people attain their dream of getting published. It is not an easy path and we know how much commitment and hard work it takes. It is always lovely to get such feedback – it gives us a nice warm glow to know we have played a small part in the process.

Congratulations times a million

We’ve been very bad in the past at keeping our congrats notices all in one place. So here, for the first time, is an attempt to be systematic. What follows is a selection of congrats notices in the year-and-a-bit spanning 2010-11. Date order is a bit random, just because of the random places we’ve collected these notices from. In future, we’ll post all our notices on this blog. But meantime, please raise a big hand for …


19th Sept

Monsterly giant & humungously enormous congratulations to WW client, Dania el Kadi, whose book Summer Blast has become a number one bestseller in her native Lebanon.

We’ve had bestsellers and prizewinners before, but this is the first time that a client of ours has had a number 1 hit book. Debi Alper – yes, her again – was the editorial wizard who helped make this happen. Big fat congrats to her too.

The book was (as I remember it) a wonderful combination of women’s fiction and gritty reality-war story. It’s Bridget Jones meets the Middle East. Not just a fun book, as it happens, but an important one. The book is also available here on Amazon. If we can get Dania to come to the Getting Published event next month, we will.

In fact, Dania’s success has inspired us. We’ll give away a bottle of fizz to the best entry to Slushpile Live at the GP event. Writing is such a tough game that it deserves to be celebrated. If you can come, then please do. If not – well, we’ll raise a glass to absent friends.

29th March

More congratulations due:

To Charlotte Philipps, who also emerged from the Festival with an offer of representation. Huge, monster congratulations to her.

And to Katherine Hetzel who has just been taken on by agent Penny Luithlen. Huge monster congratulations to her … and once again to Debi, who was fairy godmother to this successful outcome too. (Katherine wasn’t at the Festival, in case you were wondering. She’s been a WW client working with both Michelle Lovric and Debi Alper.)

Huge congratulations to one and all.

23rd July

… to Shelley Harris, who won the “Authonomy Live” event at our York Festival of Writing. And here, to pick up the story is Shelley herself:-

David Essex and the Union Jack Cake

(or: what happened after Authonomy Live)

On the first night of the York Writing Festival in April, I climbed shakily onto the stage for Authonomy Live, clutching a short extract from my unpublished novel about events at a Silver Jubilee street party. Last week I achieved a lifelong ambition and landed a two-book deal. This is the story of how the one led to the other.

Harry’s festival turned out to be my ‘big break’, enabling me to read my work to an audience of festival-goers and agents. For those of you who weren’t there, Authonomy Live was a sort of literary X Factor, complete with barbed comments from an expert panel, and a no-holds-barred public vote.   Some of the agents wanted to read more, and a few weeks later I was lucky enough to sign with Jo Unwin of Conville and Walsh. Jo’s brilliant – and she’s hit the trade headlines recently, with her sure touch in the selling of debuts.

Like all good agents, she’s also an insightful reader, and she identified some areas where I could tighten up the story. I spent a few weeks making changes, after which we re-titled the novel (it now rejoices in the name of Jubilee), and sent it out to editors.

For an author, this is a very good time to take up macramé (or baking, or Crown Green Bowling – anything, in fact, to take your mind off what might be happening in those publishing houses). For what it’s worth, I chose to spend my time being distracted and obsessively checking my email.

Then the responses started to come in: so-and-so was halfway through, and enjoying it; X felt it was too commercial; Y thought it didn’t quite fit their list. But in the end – hallelujah! – four publishers decided, like Goldilocks, that it was just right. This was the fun part.

You know those fantasies you sometimes have? No, not those. Or those! (Blimey – should you see someone about that?) I’m talking about those publishing fantasies. The ones where you go to a publishing house and security actually let you in. Where you meet an editor, and they don’t say ‘I’m sorry, Ms. Harris. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.’ Well, it happened!

One editor put up Jubilee bunting. Another served me cake with a sparkly Union Jack on top.  Best of all, they were friendly, and great company, and we got to talk about books a lot. There were other surprises, too: in my meeting with Weidenfeld and Nicolson they told me, thrillingly, that they also publish David Essex – my childhood heart-throb, mentioned in Jubilee and still able to raise the blood pressure (that gypsy soul!). This is the man who told Jackie magazine he’d celebrate the Jubilee ‘down on the beach at my secret holiday hideaway’. It glows with promise, doesn’t it?

Then the bidding began. It took place in two rounds (more distraction, more obsessive email-checking). At the end of the first round, Jo let everyone know the highest bid, and then they bid again with that in mind. And while all this was going on I did some research, discovering that even without fabulous ‘connections’ in the book world, there’s a lot you can learn; possibly my most revealing discussion was with a member of staff in a bookshop, twenty years in the business, with very clear ideas about which publishers sell best. I looked at the websites, the current titles, the marketing and publicity, and started to feel that Weidenfeld and Nicolson was the place for me.

Then – this still seems unreal – the deal was concluded, and suddenly I’d done it. My book was going to be published. The novel did go to W&N, and to their excellent editor, Kirsty Dunseath.  After all those years working alone, I finally have a home for Jubilee.

And that’s the whole story of my book deal.

Well – almost.

There’s just one tiny detail I haven’t mentioned.

You see, there was another reason – just a teensy one – why I chose W&N. In the small print of their offer, underneath the advance and percentages and foreign rights, there was a final clause, and it was this: they’ve said they’ll try to arrange a meeting between me and David Essex.

Me. And David Essex.

Do you think he still has that secret holiday hideaway?

29th March

48 hours after the festival, and we have our first piece of stunningly wonderful news.

DAVID HEADLEY IS OFFERING REPRESENTATION TO SEAN WALSH  for his self-illustrated children’s fantasy novel.

David Headley doesn’t even represent kids’ authors, or fantasy, but he was so blown away he had to get his mitts on this. Massive well dones to Sean. Massive well dones to David too, for being such an approachable, positive, and hard-working guy all weekend.

But also huge, fat, massive well dones to DEBI ALPER, who has done loads of editorial work with Sean over the past year and whose help has surely been one of the things that has made the difference here. Also – and how’s this for personal, ultra-committed, WW-ish service – she made a point of seeking out David to tell him how much she rated Sean’s work and how he should take particular care to look at it. Given that DH was not positively inclined towards kids’ fantasy in the first place, then that little extra touch might have made all the difference.

Anyway, huge, fat, monster well dones to all concerned. And my goodness, I don’t think those will be the first well dones either …

20th June

Another day, another triumph.

Following the Festival of Writing, Roger Hardy has been taken on by Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency. I know Peter well, and he’s a top bloke, a top agent.

Monster congrats to Roger, and I hope he snares a monster deal sometime soon.

But congrats too to Roger and Debi (his editor of a many a year) for a different reason. This isn’t Roger’s first book; far from it. He’s used a series of books to hone his craft, and each time he’s got better, and each time he’s used tough advice from Debi to get himself in shape.

If I’m honest, when we first started working with Roger, I didn’t think he’d make it. And now he has. And he has done because he’s gone about this in absolutely the right way – and it hasn’t hurt that he’s been working with one of our most gifted & generous editors. So major monster aerial congrats to all. Oh, and do read Debi’s post of a year back about all these things.

5th July

Got loads of congratulations messages to offer at the mo. They are:

Gordon Gray
He’s worked with us on his MS – a wonderful maritime tale – and (on our advice) went direct to publishers with it. And he’s only gone and got a deal. Here’s Gordon’s commentary:

“Wow! I’ve done it!   At last after all those months of trying and rejection someone loves me!!   Well, they like my book, but right now it almost feels like the same thing!

  My first book has been accepted by a proper publisher.  It is a thrill that keeps buzzing around.   Me, “I will be a “published author”.  How good a feeling is that?  I accept that my book is no bodice ripper or a Frederick Forsyth thriller and that it will never make the best sellers list but it is MY book.  It will be on book shop shelves, rubbing jackets with Freddie Forsyth and the rest of them;  and it will be available to anyone, forever.   

The long months of sending off the standard letters and synopsis and the sample chapters are now over.   I tried to remain positive as each SAE appeared on the mat with the returned letter, synopsis and the sample chapters.  Some just had a  compliments slip saying Sorry, not for us, or some had a letter saying sorry, not our genre, a few rejection letters actually said they enjoyed reading it but it was still not for them.  One actually said that all new authors only had one chance in a thousand of getting published but keep trying!,  That really cheers you up!  Finally it was actually an E Mail that arrived saying that they had enjoyed it, found it interesting, well written and amusing and they wanted to publish it!

 One day, one E mail made it all worthwhile and proves that If you believe in your book, Keep trying!

Jane Forres
Her memoir on nursing is cruising towards publication and she’s keen to include mention of the WW in her acknowledgements. That’s really nice of her, and fingers crossed for a wonderful launch.

Leejohn Fearnehough
A major project we worked on a while back is now under serious review by a German production company. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome there – the film world is always a precarious one, but the omens are good.

Ian Thornton
Again, a project we worked on a while back has finally been signed up by a major Canadian agency – which promises very well for future success with publishers. And indeed with film: Hollywood has already been keenly sniffing around this most filmable of projects.

Margaret Kirk
We worked on her novel not long back, and the client is still revising that – but in the meantime she’s obviously gained both confidence and know how because she’s had a story shortlisted for the 2010 Woman & Home / Costa Book Awards Short Story Competition – a very decent achievement that.

As it happens, I think I’m failing to remember one or two recent successes – but it does go to show that tough, honest but encouraging editorial support can make all the difference to the success of a project – as well, quite simple, as the development of the writer. It’s always delightful to be able to help, of course. (And if you would like our help, then all you need to do is click here to get started.)

In the meantime, monster congratulations to all those above – and to all our clients who are treading a similar path right now. May they all succeed!

7th April

Can we all say a big cloudy Congrats to SecretSpi, who’s not only won the EarlyWorks prize but got a lovely little publishing deal to boot, with Circaidy Gregory Press.

I know our not-very-Secret friend has already mentioned this on the site, but I reckon she was too modest. She won a competition! She’s being published! What more do you want?

Yes: it’s a small press and a small advance, but that’s sort of missing the point. There are lots of really good, really small publishers who do pay peanuts and don’t get monkeys. I don’t know what Tindal Street offers by way of average advance, but I bet it’s tiny. Yet you couldn’t imagine a punchier or more successful publisher: I guess no publisher in the country has a higher ratio of prize wins/awards amongst its authors.

So by my reckoning, our less-than-entirely-Secret friend earns herself as many congratulations as anyone else who gets herself a book deal. Thanks to to WW editors John Dougherty and Susan Davis who helped her get this far.

And watch this space: agents like people who have won comps, got deals, and are breathing down the neck of bigger and better things. I reckon we haven’t heard the last of this …

17th December

Huge, big, fat, monster congratulations to Paul Ryan, a client of ours whose Poacher’s Tale has just been taken on by Guy Rose at Futerman Rose Associates. That’s a terrific outcome; absolutely thrilling.

Two points of interest on this one.

First, this was one of the very first novels to have emerged from Daren King’s Comprehensive Writing Course – basically, a mentoring system that takes you from first idea to final(ish) draft in the company of a Guardian Prize shortlisted / Nestle Prize winning writer. The service isn’t hugely cheap, but it IS amazing. It’s a massive compliment to both Daren and Paul to have scored such a big success so early. It’s wonderful to know that our concept is progressing as we hoped it would.

Secondly, I boobed. I got it wrong. I made a mess and ballsed up. When Daren sent me Paul’s MS asking me to see if I could get him an agent, I thought about it and said I couldn’t see quite see it. The book was really technically accomplished. It didn’t put a foot wrong. But I couldn’t quite see the edge that would get this book accepted in the ferociously competitive market for adult thrillers. So I said to Paul that I didn’t know an agent who’d be interested and recommended a few other options instead (one of which was getting the MS out to agents anyway, just in case.)

But Futerman Rose saw something that I failed to see. The book was NOT in fact quite right for the adult thriller market … but it was only half a pace away from being a cracking book for the YA market. Paul will make the necessary tweaks and it’ll be sold as a YA novel. I’ve learned something from that, and of course I’m just thrilled to have been proved wrong.

Oh and finally, my piece of non-news has to do with my detective novel. (see previous post). The novel has sat with some very nice publishers. Some of those very nice publishers said they liked the novel very much but wouldn’t bid for it. Some of the other very nice publishers said they liked the novel very much and would be delighted to make an offer. The arrival of Christmas means that things are now going to go dormant for a couple of weeks, but it’s nice to go into turkey-munching season knowing that the novel will have a home. (And indeed, a very good one, because the publishers involved at this stage are all excellent.)

Because the wheel is still in spin, I’m going to have to remain rather coy about all the details here, but I’ll tell you more as soon as I can. A very happy Christmas to one and all.

28th June

Congratulations to Ian Thornton whose one-of-a-kind MS that the WW helped with a while back has finally been picked up by Canada’s top literary agency. About time too, I’d say – but congrats to Ian for his persistence and self-belief.

Also, I thought this was an interesting article: an Aussie crime writer has just run the Aussie Booker – something that essentially couldn’t happen here. But it ought to be able to happen here. It’s ridiculous, for example, that neither John le Carre nor Patrick O’Brien have ever picked up proper literary awards. The latter is arguably the best historical novelist in English. The former is, without argument, one of the most important post-war writers in the language.

As it happens, I can’t immediately call to mind a crime novelist writing now who’s good enough to win the Booker – though there’s a lot I haven’t read – but it should jolly well be possible, nevertheless. Good for the Aussies that they judge fiction by its quality, not its genre.

20th Sept

… to WW client, Dr Suzanne Covitch, whose memoir is being published by Freemantle Press in Australia right now. Always nice to have a reminder that London and New York are not the only places in the publishing world that matter!

Also, nice to see that Getting Published climbed as high as #483 in the overall rankings this weekend just gone. Not a bad achievement that for a book that doesn’t yet exist …

23rd February

Because I’ve been a bit out of things just recently, I haven’t passed on all the good news I should have done. So, congratulations to:

Barbara Tate, whose West End Girls has just come out in paperback.

Alexander Mortimer-Moore, whose biography of Marshal Leclerc has just found a publisher (Casemate, in the US). Robert Dudley was the agent.

Louisa Larkin, whose eco-thriller has been published by Murdoch Books in Australia / NZ, and whose second book is coming out with them shortly.

I’ve a horrible feeling that I’ve forgotten various other clients who have achieved significant milestones recently. So, um, big fat congratulations to them too. Congrats to everyone, in fact. Champers all round.

26th April

Congratulations again for another Festival success … which is to say the deserved success of yet another fabulous writer.

The agent, David Headley, has taken on Gabriel’s Clock by Hilton Pashley – it’s a children’s MS set in the deeply strange village of Hobbes End.

Hilton worked with Fay Sampson at the Writers’ Workshop. She was a fan of his work from the off and, we’re all delighted at this end to see HP succeed. I hope David sells the work for a properly huge amount of wonga. All power to his (and Hilton’s) elbow.

9th June

Massively monster congratulations to Cicely Havely, whose book Mrs Vale’s Special Girls has just been taken on by Piers Blofeld at Shiel Land.

Those of you who were at the Festival on Friday night will remember Cicely’s triumphant reading – and the all but unanimous audience vote which saw her win that comp.

Following that success, Cicely met Piers at the Festival. They got on very well. Cicely wanted to make some changes to her MS (following, I think, some hints from a book doctor), and Piers has just seen and fallen in love with the final manuscript. Another absolutely fantastic festival success story – and one that is another triumph for wonderful, impassioned, committed writing.

Cicely is a lovely person too, so I’m double-chuffed for her. Congrats too to Tricia Wastvedt, who was Cicely’s original editor with the WW.

(Also, since we’re on this theme, modestly monster congrats to me too. My crime novel has just sold in France and to Random House in the US. I’ve never properly sold a book in the US before, so it’s exciting not merely to have a sale, but to be published by such a top class publisher. More thoughts on all that in another post. Meanwhile, um, I think I need to write crime novel #2. People seem to want it …)

13th May

To Ruth Mazet, whose Horse Talk is being acquired by the equine publishers, JA Allen. Congratulations to her – it’s been a heck of a journey – and to Jane Struthers who was the WW dynamo on the project. Equine champers all round.

Oh, and if you like crime novels and you haven’t yet seen my blog on crime reviewing, then don’t you think it’s time you did?

26th April

Congratulations again for another Festival success … which is to say the deserved success of yet another fabulous writer.

The agent, David Headley, has taken on Gabriel’s Clock by Hilton Pashley – it’s a children’s MS set in the deeply strange village of Hobbes End.

Hilton worked with Fay Sampson at the Writers’ Workshop. She was a fan of his work from the off and, we’re all delighted at this end to see HP succeed. I hope David sells the work for a properly huge amount of wonga. All power to his (and Hilton’s) elbow.

11th Oct

Monster congratulations to WW client Ian Thornton whose Death and Life of a Grim Reaper has been bought by Simon & Shuster in Toronto. Westwood Creative Artists are currently in Frankfurt seeking to sell the book worldwide.

The book had an amazing concept – guy plays an inadvertent part in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, and consequently feels personally responsible for World War 1 and World War 2. Ian’s writing was always very strong and I could easily see this book doing very well internationally. Paws crossed for him. That kid has talent – and we’re proud to have played a small part in that success.

21st July

A couple of people to congratulate today. The first, Word Clouder Catherine Cooper, who wrote to us to say this:

I just wanted to say thank you to you all at The Writers Workshop.

Three years ago I emailed, spoke to you and sent in my manuscript to be reviewed.Geraldine Pinch sent me a comprehensive 19 page document and followed up with a phone call. Her suggestions were radical to say the least but I followed her advice and resubmitted the second draft to be reviewed too.

Three years late I was at the indigo suite at the O2 and collected the award for the best Children’s Story and also the award for the Best Writer of 2010 at the Brit Writers’ Awards.


Had I not contacted you I would not  have had the confidence to become my own publisher of not only one but three books and with three more to follow. I sold over 1000 books in the first 7 months on my own initiative and now I have a publishing deal with Infinite Ideas as a result of the BWA competition.


So… dreams really do come true.

That’s an amazing and brilliant story, is it not?

We should also congratulate Writers’ Workshop client, Richard Malim, whose work has just been bought by McFarland, an upmarket US publisher. We’ll get him to blog for us when his work gets a little closer to publication.

Well done to those two – and to the Writers’ Workshop editors who did their bit to help achieve those outcomes. Champers all round.

16th July

A venerable old lady – over 100 at the last reckoning – is about to have a baby sister. The sister can be viewed here. Doctors and widwives  are confidently expecting a birth date on 27th Sept. Anyone wanting to come to the christening can book their place here. Gloves and hats, please, ladies. Gents may wear toppers if they wish.

Oh, and congratulations to Writers’ Workshop client, Mike Taylor, who now has a publisher (History Publishing) to go with his agent. The publisher wants some changes to the MS, so our editor, Sam Jordison, may yet get pressed into service again. We’ll oil him up in readiness …

Oh, and there are some mega-monster congratulations coming someone’s way very soon, but I can’t say who just yet. It’s a good ‘un, though.


Saturday, 20 March

No Lady – No Lamp

Gosh and a-golly. These congrats notices are just pouring in at the moment.

Jane Yeadon’s wonderful memoir, No Lady – No Lamp, is to be published by an independent Scottish publisher, Black and White, this September. B&W is a well-established house with strong local connections and an excellent list. I think (and hope) they’ll do a terrific job for Jane.

It’s also so nice to hear from Jane that we were able to help. She wrote (to her principal editor, Diana Stainforth): I couldn’t have done it without you, Diana. I held onto your words of encouragement and advice like talismen and of course Harry’s input was fantastic too. Made me feel so supported. Of course, I don’t need to tell you about the solitariness of writing but you both made great companions along the way.

It’s really rewarding to hear things like this. Very often, with our more talented clients, we feel that all we’re doing is giving them a little nudge in a direction that they’d probably have been heading anyway. And perhaps that’s true. But writing is a solitary old game, and those little nudges – at the right time, and delivered in the right manner – can be live-savers. I know that well enough from my own experience.

So big fat congrats to Jane. And take a bow, Diana, for your help along the way. Best of luck with the publication process!

Friday, 19 March

Future perfect

Congrats to Tony Bayliss, whose Past Continuous – a sci-fi romance for young adults, if you can get your head round that – has just been taken on by a new publisher, Sparkling Books.

 A couple of interesting points. The first is that Tony’s book was certainly helped on its way by its success on HarperCollins’ site, Authonomy. The book rose to the top of the all time rankings for Romance, and #2 in the all-time rankings for Sci-Fi. HarperCollins itself didn’t want the book, but that record was obviously a persuasive factor in Sparkling Books’ acquisition decision.

 Secondly – and this is something we’re coming across more and more – SB isn’t offering a load of money upfront and is requiring Tony to work hard on marketing his work. Some authors are concerned that a bigger publisher might have a different working method.

 The answer to that puzzle is both yes and no. Of course, the big guys have more money and more resources. But the truth is that authors were badly paid five years ago and are much worse paid now. Zero advance deals from commercial publishers (that is: not vanity publishers in any shape or form) have become more common. Equally, authors jolly well should be working hard to market their work. The bigger houses certainly expect the same.

 So well done Tony. Hope SB does a terrific job for you. A genuinely original premise with some very thought provoking development. It deserves to get read.

Friday, 12 March

Congratulations – Roy Carter, Lata Pattni & Leigh Ferrani

It’s been a bit of a day today.

First up, monster congratulations to Roy Carter. His MS – a Vatican thriller, yes, but not in any way a Dan Brown knock-off – has been taken on by David Smith at the Annette Green Agency. David loves the MS and is planning to race it straight out to publishers next week. Massive fingers crossing involved in that.

Roy has really done a lot of work on this MS. He had a stunning plot and premise to start with, and the resultant novel has really done justice – more than justice – to that original conception. I think it’s got a searingly clever concept and denouement and could do really well. I hope so.

Secondly, massive congrats to the double act of Lata Pattni and Leigh Ferrani. Leigh has ghosted a book proposal for Lata based on Lata’s own remarkable story of adversity and triumph. That book proposal has been taken on by a top London agency and will be going out to publishers before too much longer.

Lata is both a very nice person and a very courageous one, so thoroughly deserves success. Leigh has done a wonderful job with the story, so she’ll have jolly well earned whatever comes her way as a result of this. Also, it’s a good illustration of how a really positive collaboration between subject and ghost is essential to producing a good work. Wherever that collaboration falters or is uncommitted or has the wrong chemistry, the resultant MS is always flawed.

Fingers crossed for all concerned.

Monday, 1 March

Tears of a Stranger

And more congrats are in order. Alan Chance’s Tears of a Stranger – a very tight, efficient thriller with a strong premise and plenty of good incidental invention – has been taken on by agent Jonny Pegg.

I’ve read published books – including some that have sold for loads of £££ – that aren’t as proficient as this manuscript, and I think it has a topical, market-friendly feel into the bargain. I certainly hope so. best of luck from here on, Alan – and congrats not just to you, but to Debi Alper, who did her normal excellent editorial job with this. I hope for a big announcement on this front before too long. Fingers crossed, as ever.

Wednesday, 24 February

Making a Splash

MS sufferer – and cross-Channel swimmer – Mike Taylor has got an agent for his memoir / self-help book. Sam jordison helped with that one, so big congrats all round.

on the whole, we tell clients that the manuscript is everything and not even to think about drafting a cover design. That’s strong advice, of course, and it’s right 99.99% of the time … but when the draft cover design in this instance showed a man in speedos, on the shore of the English channel, and using crutches to stand, you know you’ve got something pretty special.

We wish him well with the next phase of things – whatever happens, it’ll be a breeze compared to that Channel crossing.

Monday, 22 February


Just heard that Kathy Bagley – who worked with the great & wonderful Susan Davis – has just signed up with Juri Gabriel, who’s a terrific agent with demanding taste & high standards, so well done you Kathy. Fingers crossed that publishers line up to buy your MS!

Kathy says: Catch Me is set in Cornwall and tells of how a family strives to cope with fifteen year-old Jaz, their brilliant but impossibly difficult youngest child.

Promising material that, but today’s market is (to use a technical term) a real bugger, so we’ll be keeping fingers crossed …

Thursday, 21 January

An angel is published

The bell of congratulations needs to toll again, for Patty Tashiro’s An Angel Whispered. The publisher is a smaller, specialist one (O-books), but the smaller guys often do better with niche books like this. I hope they do a tremendous job in selling it.

Oh, and a word too from Beverley Roberts, who’s now got book deals in Germany & Holland. Way to go, Beverley!

Wednesday, 2 December

Pomegranate Sky

Why can’t I come up with titles as strong as Pomegranate Sky? No idea, but I certainly never come close.

In any case, the point of this post is to let you know that Louise Black’s novel has won the Virginia Prize and will be published next year. You can read a booktrade item about her success here.

The novel is a love story set in the troubled world of contemporary Iran. It’s got a terrific feel and thoroughly deserves its success. Tricia Wastvedt was the guru who originally helped with this. I advised too, but I’m not sure that I added anything at all to the mix.

Huge congrats to Louise for this. We’ve had plenty of books published before, plenty of books agented, but is this our first prize winner? I think it could just be. Hope the book does really well.

Friday, 20 November

Only joking

Congrats too to Michelle MacNamara who’s got an agent, following help from Rebecca Horsfall. So huge congrats to Michelle & only slightly smaller ones to Rebecca.

Michelle is now represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors ltd. Michelle tells me “I’m still waiting for someone to jump out and say ‘Nah, only joking’!” – I know that feeling but, Michelle, I reckon you’re in good hands there. Best of luck!

Caribbean Chemistry

Chris Vanier’s lovely collection of Caribbean tales is being published by the Kingston University Press this December. Congrats to him & to Helena Drysdale who helped out with an earlier draft.

We don’t always get to see book covers and when we do, I’m not always impressed. But just a look at this beauty. Ain’t it lovely? Gorgeous design and lovely colours. Makes you want to pick it up, no? Well done to Chris & to everyone connected with the project.

Wednesday, 11 November


And another well done to Mark Radcliffe, whose Gabriel’s Angel has been taken on by BlueMoose, an indie with a decent list of new authors. Well done Mark. These days, any deal is brilliant so that’s fab news. The book has a brilliant premise – heaven as an ternity of therapy / self-help groups – so it deserves to do well, and could just have that edge which catches the market’s attention. best of luck with it.

Monday, 9 November

And more hoorays …

To Gerard Macdonald, whose absolutely stunning political thriller, The prisoner’s Wife, has been taken on by Pete Buckman at Ampersand. I read this one mesmerised myself. It’s a cracker, and I hope it sells & sells well. It jolly well deserves to. Dexter Petley was this book’s first editor, so well done to him

GM also has a great YA novel ready to go, and I hope that sells very well to. GM is a darn good writer.

An Angel Whispered …

… or rather shouted, CONGRATULATIONS – to Patty Tashiro, whose book An Angel Whispered has been accepted by O-Books, a specialist devotional / MBS publisher.

That’s a terrific outcome for Patty, so well done her. And well done to Jane Struthers who helped her out with comments. Take a bow both of you.

Friday, 2 October

Showing off

Well, then. Ian Thornton’s only gone and got an agent. And not any booooring book agent either. He’s gone straight to Hollywood, got himself an agent out there, and she’s hawking both the book (to New York) and the concept (to all her rich buddies, like Spielberg and Cruise and probably Obama and people too).

Congratulations to Ian – he had a splendid concept (which I won’t reveal here) and lashings of talent. That talent had been occluded by a rather overwrought treatment, but just 70,000 words of pruning later, he’s obviously hit the jackpot. Monster congratulations all round. Paul Toth and my good self were the original commentators.

Cross Fox Shock

Hooray! Those nice pair at Fox & Howard literary agents pass two lovely editors our way (Claire Gillman & Jane Struthers since you ask). Claire works on a diet book by Maria Cross. It’s a good book. Maria sends it out to agents. Fox & Howard take it on.

So congratulations – as ever – to Maria for being talented and to Claire for being her usual fabulously helpful self. But on this occasion to F&H as well for being the agency who provided the editor who made the whole thing happen.

Ain’t it nice when things like that happen? Champagne all round.

Tuesday, 14 July

Consider the Lilies

A spray of orchids and a shower of rose petals to congratulate Faith Anstey whose ‘Flowers in the Field’ has just been taken on by Whittet Books. That’s great news for her – well done, congrats, and bonne voyage!

Saturday, 20 June

The Art of Standing Still

Just a note to say Yahoo, Hooray and Yippee-de-do for Ian Critchley whose Art of Standing Still was taken on by agent Sarah Such some time back. (I’ve only just learned about it; and take a bow, Ed Fenton, for helping out on this one).

SS hasn’t yet sold the book, but then again today’s market is so awful, so absolutely dire, that failing to sell something means hardly anything about quality. The fact that Ian C secured the services of a really capable agent means that his work passed muster. He’s at work on another novel now and – fingers crossed – by the time he’s finished it, publishers may have woken up to the fact that if they don’t buy books they won’t have any to sell.

Not counting on it, though. These things have only ratcheted downwards for years now. There are abrupt downturns (as now), but then where’s the bleeding upturn?

Thursday, 4 June

Pop, fizz, hooray!

Well done to Martyn Murray whose excellent travel MS about Africa (The Storm Leopard) has been taken up by Whittles, a mid-sized Socttish publisher. Whittles is just the right outfit for this job – with a strong focus on wildlife, which is the theme at the heart of Martyn’s book.

Huge congrats to MM, and slightly smaller but still robust congrats to Linda Proud, who helped martyn with this one.

Wednesday, 25 March

More congrats …

Yay! for Beverley Jones, who is just inches away from tying up a deal with Peter Buckman of Ampersand. Bev has a terrific young female voice and a good sense of crimey darkness (without the gore or dissected body parts). She’s gonna do great. I can also mention that we’ve secured a finder’s fee from Ampersand: a glass of ginger beer and a warm chorizo salad. Thanks, Peter!

I can also reveal that Poppy W’s deal (see below) is with Susan Smith at MBA, who is quietly gathering in some of our best clients.

And last but not even a wee bitty least, the brilliant Silvia Rossi has found a home with Kate Allan, who’s acting as her agent. Silvia’s got a huge talent, a literary voice with a nice line in gritty crime, and I’m delighted that she’s found a home. Hope a huge deal follows before too long.

Wednesday, 4 March

Congratulations x 3

HB: This blog is, you’ll have noticed, more or less dying off for lack of love. The reason is that I’ve got a new love in my e-life – the Word Cloud. Pop over if you want to have a look.

But in the meantime, dear old TN is still the place where we pop our congrats notices – and we’ve got a whole load of those.

Louise Sharif’s Pomegranate Nights has just been taken on by Sonia Land @ Sheil Land – very posh agent that. Big congrats to Louise.

Poppy Wellby is meeting a very good London agent, and I’m hopeful that they’ll be striking a deal very soon. The book in question is Incense & Blood – a terrific travel book about the living goddesses of Nepal. More info when I have it.

And Leela Attfield has been offered a serial rights deal in a magazine. Big salaams and congrats to her too. Champers all round.



Monsterly giant & humungously enormous congratulations to WW client, Dania el Kadi, whose book Summer Blast has become a number one bestseller in her native Lebanon.

We’ve had bestsellers and prizewinners before, but this is the first time that a client of ours has had a number 1 hit book. Debi Alper – yes, her again – was the editorial wizard who helped make this happen. Big fat congrats to her too.

The book was (as I remember it) a wonderful combination of women’s fiction and gritty reality-war story. It’s Bridget Jones meets the Middle East. Not just a fun book, as it happens, but an important one. The book is also available here on Amazon. If we can get Dania to come to the Getting Published event next month, we will.

In fact, Dania’s success has inspired us. We’ll give away a bottle of fizz to the best entry to Slushpile Live at the GP event. Writing is such a tough game that it deserves to be celebrated. If you can come, then please do. If not – well, we’ll raise a glass to absent friends.

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