Merry Christmas!

BROKEN PALACE SHAREABLE - FREE

Merry Christmas to you all!

Very quick post today before I log off until the New Year.

I’ve been busy these last few weeks doing the revisions for book 2, ‘The Principle of Evil’, which is now available for pre-order (final cover still to be revealed)

The publication date has been pushed back to 25th Feb. I’m excited for its release, but also nervous. I hope anyone who reads the slightly revised version, likes the changes I’ve made.

Once book two has been released I will be focusing on book 3 in the DCI Winters series AND working on my standalone simultaneously. I am also putting together ideas for a novella, entitled ‘In The Blood’.

I’ve worked for so long on book 1 and 2 in the DCI Winters series that I am very eager to get some new material released in 2016.

Lastly – My short story, ‘Broken Palace’ is FREE over the festive period.

Short and sweet, eh?

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year whatever you’re doing, and a massive thank you to everyone who has bought my books.

‘For All Our Sins’ has been doing so well with Carina UK/HarperCollins, and it’s storming the various Amazon UK Kindle charts. That’s definitely THE best Christmas present I could ask for.

Here come the revisions

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. . . the second lot of revisions that is.

Yes, the next deadline is looming for me to complete the next lot of revisions for ‘For All Our Sins’, and whilst I admit there is an amount of pressure, in a way I’m actually enjoying it!

Yes, you read that right – ENJOYING it. I know all this extra hard work will pay off. It will make the novel even stronger than it now stands and the deadline that comes with this is completely worth it.

When you go it alone and self-publish, you only have yourself to answer to. If life gets in the way and you are pulled away from your writing, it’s OK. The only deadlines you have (if any) are the ones you impose on yourself.

Now that I’m back in a position where someone else has given me a deadline, things do not always run so smoothly. It’s the summer holidays and that means there are far more distractions than there normally would be. My five year old is at home and can’t simply be dumped in front of the TV so I can write, my husband is at home this week, and I have a holiday coming up. All of these things can make you just want to pull your hair out when you think about that deadline coming up and trying to juggle everything at once.

In truth, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve had that sick feeling that I might not be able to deliver. That’s life though. It doesn’t stop just because you have deadlines to meet, so just ‘get on with it’.

So that’s what I’m doing and I’ve found once I’m into the revisions, I’m enjoying them.

It’s amazing what a second fresh pair of eyes can do for your manuscript. As an author you need to be open to other people’s suggestions. Even the best sellers have their work edited and revised many times before it goes to print and having someone who is not so close to your novel give their expertise is fantastic. It can breathe new life into your story and help smooth out anything that wasn’t working and tie up any loose ends you might not have spotted.

My editor has come up with some great suggestions to improve ‘For All Our Sins’, and I’ve even had a few ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moments. Having someone invest so much time in your novel also gives you a boost of confidence. There is a team behind your book who want to see it do well. In this super competitive market, you need that support and enthusiasm.

Even if you self-publish, I’d recommend hiring a professional to help mould your novel into the best possible shape it can be before it goes on sale. Don’t be to precious about your manuscript. None of us write the perfect novel. We are always learning and honing our skills as authors.

Despite it being a rocky road sometimes, I think this has to be one of the best jobs in the world. 😀

Finally some news…New publishing contract!

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Things have been pretty quiet from me on here (and social media in general), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy behind the scenes.

I’m pleased to announce that the DCI Claire Winters series has been picked up by digital first publisher Carina UK, an imprint of Harlequin – a division of HarperCollins!

Many of you who have followed me from the beginning of this journey know that both novels in the series were self-published in 2013. I have had complete control over the whole process for all this time, so there was a bit of nerves when I clicked the ‘unpublish’ section over on Amazon’s KDP site, BUT the response from the team at Carina UK has been fantastic. They have been so enthusiastic about the series, championing DCI Claire Winters and that’s given me a lot of confidence to sign with them. I feel like my ‘baby’ is in good hands.

This new venture means the books will be available across devices and sites, reaching a far wider audience than before.  There will be new front covers, and a few differences in the text itself.

I’ve spent the last few weeks working on strengthening the first book, ‘For All Our Sins’, after my editor’s suggestions. I’m waiting for her to report back, but I’m hoping (praying, biting nails!) that she approves. I’m certainly happy with it, and I think some changes bring more depth to the central characters and their motivations.

There is a chance the novels will be available as paperbacks if eBook sales prove strong.

A BIG thank you to everyone who bought the novels since 2013, and left reviews. I’m told the reviews should all transfer over to the new listed versions on publication day – fingers crossed!

What next?

Well, I’m currently working on a new standalone novel, ‘The Shattered Ground’, which I hope to really get stuck into now I’ve signed with Carina UK, but a third book in the DCI Claire Winters series is in the pipeline.

That’s all for now. I hope to have more to share soon!

Books released today

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Both my DCI Claire Winters novels, ‘For All Our Sins’ (re-released) and The Principle of Evil’ are out today on Amazon Kindle. I will also be looking at making the novels available on other eBook formats.

Don’t forget – You don’t need a Kindle to download these books. You can download the FREE Kindle app for your PC, iPhone, iPad and other Android devices 🙂

The books are written in a way that they can be read in any sequence. Although they are part of a series, they can be read like a standalone novel. There isn’t any spoilers about book one, in book two.

To those of you who have waited for the second novel, thank you for your patience. There have been several delays for various reasons.

Those of you who regularly follow my blog – a huge ‘thank you’, by the way! –  may remember that it has always been a goal of mine to secure a literary agent and then find a traditional publishing deal.

That is still my ultimate goal at the moment but there are reasons I’m choosing to self-publish my work at present.

Out of the two books, ‘The Principle of Evil’ is my favourite. I feel my writing has noticeably matured since the first book and the plot is much tighter.

‘For All Our Sins’ had one request for the full MS by an agent, whereas ‘The Principle of Evil’ has had three literary agencies interested to date. It is definitely the better received of the two books.

So why self-publish?

Anyone reading this who has sent their work out on submission will know just how hard it is securing a literary agent. The route to becoming a traditionally published author can be disheartening, and thankless. It’s rare you get any feedback, other than a ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

If you get several requests for a full MS it’s very encouraging, but still doesn’t guarantee you’ll be offered representation. Anyone who has experienced this will share my frustration when you are rejected because an agent thinks they’ll have a hard job selling your work to a publisher, despite having excellent feedback about your work.

Talk about so near yet so far!

Those in the business obviously have more of an insight and a wide knowledge of what’s selling and what a publisher is looking for. I do appreciate the detailed feedback I’ve had from these agents.

One thing that is important to remember, however, is that one person’s opinion on your work is just that – an opinion.

Crime is a very competitive and overcrowded genre. It’s hard to stand out and be 100% original. ‘If it can be done, it has been done’, to quote a friend of mine.

Anyone who is a veteran at sending their work to agents will know that, sometimes the only reason that you got a rejection is because an agent or publisher doesn’t see the sales potential in your work – especially if you’re a début author.

Whether you think it’s fair or not – publishing is a business after all – it’s a cold hard fact.

I’ve now decided to self-publish because I believe my novels have a readership.

My work may not be selling as many copies as those in the top ten, but if readers write a review, tell me they love a story or a character, it means a lot to me, and encourages me to carry on publishing my work.

I’m ambitious though. I do hope someday I’ll achieve my overall dream of walking into a big retailer and seeing hardback copies of my novel on the shelf, and it’s a dream shared by many, I’m sure.

Being an author can be tough. It’s not easy, but things that are worth striving for are rarely handed to you on a plate. You have to work for what you want.

If you download a copy of the book(s), please be kind enough to post a review. If you like them, please spread the word! Word-of-mouth is the best way of getting books to new readers.

If you’re a fellow ‘indie’ author, keep writing, hone your craft and support other authors. Us writers need to stick together.

*note* for some reason if you download a sample of book one, you get the old file, even though the ‘Look inside’ section on Amazon shows the new one – weird. Hoping Amazon sort this ASAP.

‘Broken Palace’ – FREE promotion – LAST DAY

It’s the last day of my FREE promotion. Thank you to those who have bought or downloaded the free copy. It is very much appreciated.

You can download your copy here for Amazon.co.uk or here for Amazon US.

Please share, re-blog, Facebook it, tweet for me. Reviews are also welcome 🙂

Don’t forget, I’m now on Twitter, so please follow me (@tmewalsh)

Have a fantastic Sunday everyone.KINDLE FINAL COVER - BROKEN PALACE

When cutting the word count is a good thing…

As some of you may know the complete MS for my second novel, The Principle Of Evil, was requested by two agencies.

The first agency was very encouraging, and gave me some great feedback but the only thing that really let me down was the word count. I was advised that they would be more than happy to reconsider the MS if I cut it back to between 90-100k words (standard length for those writing in my genre.)

In my heart I knew the novel was running too long, but I’d spent 18 months completing the MS to the level it needed to be to stand up to scrutiny from those in the business, so I submitted it in all its 145k word glory and hoped for the best.

Yes, I did say 145k words!

Very long but that’s what happens when you try to build a complicated plot with a lot of twists – sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. I had no idea where to make the cuts, having spent so long inside this book.

When the agency came back with the word count issue, I set the MS aside to allow me time away from it, in the hope I could come back to it and begin to see what to cut.

During this time, after 6 months from submitting the initial first three chapters, another agent requested the full MS, and didn’t let the word count deter them. After 8 weeks they came back with the same suggestion – cut the MS and we would like to reconsider it.

Advice from not one but two agencies, is like GOLD DUST.

When we send off our work, we’re rarely lucky enough to get any feedback that is more than the standard, ‘Thank you for your submission…but it wasn’t right for us.’

After 8 months away from the MS I figured it’s now or never.

I contacted one of my favourite best-selling authors during the period between making these cuts from my MS, and he was good enough to reply to me.

His advice was sound (if rather daunting!) Cutting out 45k words means cutting out significant characters and story arcs.

My heart sank when I read that, even though I knew he was right. All the months of hard work, creating characters and interweaving conflict between them, adding colour I thought I needed, it was all about to be CUT!

There were two things I could do –

  1. Admit defeat and start a new novel
  2. Cut, edit, cut, edit (you get the idea) and prove to myself that I could do it.

Well, I chose number two and I’m so glad I did.

After 8 months away from the MS I could see what needed to be changed and although it was far from an easy process, I think I’ve got it right. I’m now reading through it all to make sure it all makes sense now at it’s a more manageable 100k word count.

Plots are like fine stitching on a piece of clothing – It needs to ‘flow’ in a neat line with no ragged edges, puckering or tearing.

Once you start unpicking the stitching, everything else begins to slowly buckle and needs mending, improving and stitching back up, so all the loose ends are flowing in a beautiful line.

So, bad sewing analogies aside, I guess I’m trying to say that if you find yourself in a similar situation, where you know your work needs a big overhaul, you need to make those changes, especially if someone who knows the industry has advised you to.

Remember, the length of your book will be something a publisher will be scrutinising. If it’s the next book to rival War and Peace in terms of length, your chances of getting that publishing deal are considerably reduced unless every single word is necessary and the pace of your work hasn’t suffered as a result.