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Life of Crime

Life of Crime is the title of an article by Jo Haywood in the May issue of North East Life - on sale now. It begins: Talk to anyone in the North East writing fraternity and the name Mari Hannah crops up . . . which comes as a surprise even to the author herself as her first novel is not due to hit the shelves in the UK until spring 2012.

That is SO true. But the clever sub-heading made me think: Jo Haywood talks to Corbridge author Mari Hannah about her chances of going straight (to the top). If only it were that easy . . .

As anyone who's ever aspired to write for a living will tell you, it takes years to create a book good enough for publication, sometimes longer to find an agent willing to take you on. And even after you've managed to jump those particular hurdles, there's no guarantee of finding a publisher willing to put their money where their mouth is and offer you that all important first deal.

I was luckier than most. In my case it was my first novel, my first attempt, albeit re-written a million times. But I am aware of writers who've written three, four, or even more books before hitting that all important jackpot. I know of one writer - she wouldn't call herself that but that's exactly what she is - who has a finished manuscript but never shown it to another living soul, a book I'd personally love to read. That is a massive amount of work and commitment for anyone. Who knows? It could be a bestseller lying in the corner of her room gathering dust. If you are reading this Muriel, I challenge you to share it.

After the euphoria of the deal comes the self doubt and confusion over what happens next. Will I be able to cope with the demands of being a professional writer when I have more to think about than sitting at my computer enjoying myself, making up stories? There are legal contracts to consider, learning how the industry works, author questionnaires, editors to please, cover designs to consult over. If you are in any doubt, read Carole Blake's From Pitch to Publication and you'll see what I mean. I read it before I began this journey and I'm now reading it again.

Writers write because they'd rather do that than talk, don't they? But, these days, it's simply not enough. An author is expected to promote themselves, engage with the press, meet the public, talk to crime fiction fans face to face. Networking is the name of the game and that is seriously scary. So, it does come as a surprise, not only that I'm being talked about a year before THE MURDER WALL is launched in the UK, but that anyone would be interested in meeting me, talking about ME! But just in case anyone out there wants to know more, you can read Jo Haywood's full interview by clicking on the link on my Reviews page.   


Reader Comments (1)

I've just found your website from your kind comment on Stephanie's "Bah! to cancer" blog

You asked why would anyone be interested in meeting you or talking about you. You have partly answered your own question - because you have written a book. The second big step (now you have a publication date) is to meet the public.

Keep in mind that people want to know about you and about your book, and these are the two subjects that you know more about than anyone else in the room. Everyone will want to hear what you have to say. So take a deep breath and go for it.
best wishes

June 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

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