Who believes in Fate or destiny? Do you believe that there are predetermined events that can change our lives forevermore? Or is life just one long string of coincidences and lucky encounters? Either ways, whether it was Fate, Destiny or simple Coincidence that was at force to bring Writing.ie into my life, I will always be grateful and here is why!
When I started my writing journey to be a published author I quickly discovered writing.ie, a wonderful resource that has played a huge part over the past year as I worked hard to get a publishing deal. Advice and writing tips, publishing news, articles written by fellow authors, interviews, competitions and giveaways all shared daily by the team at writing.ie have been a huge inspiration and motivator to me. Being a writer can be lonely at times but I found that being part of the large writing.ie community made me feel less isolated and as I hungrily read about other authors stories and writing experiences, I realised that we were all in this together, this community all working hard to write our very best work and with any luck get that elusive book deal! In fact my first published article was from Writing.ie in their Writing and Me feature, which I will always be grateful for.
I have been asked several times over the past few weeks why did I choose to self-publish. It wasn’t because my manuscript had been refused by publishers, leaving it as my only route to market, in fact I hadn’t began approaching publishers yet. I made the decision to self-publish as an eBook to see what reception my novel would get, dip my toe in the waters so to speak. If it was positive, I would then start the process of finding an agent and publisher. Thankfully for me, my book did quite well, enjoying a stint as an eBook bestseller on ibooks and more importantly the reviews started to come in and were extremely flattering. So in the autumn of 2012 I began the process of approaching agents. I made a list of about 6 agents that I felt would be interested in my style of writing, based on their submission outlines. Of the 6 agents I contacted, 2 of them never replied, 1 called me back but said that a publisher would never go for me as I had self-published, (thank goodness that wasn’t true!) 2 came back with tentative interest, but The Trace Literary Agency replied stating that they would like the complete manuscript as they were intrigued.
Once Tracy Brennan had read the manuscript, thankfully she loved it. We had several long chats on the phone and realised that we could work very well together, so a contract was issued and I signed with the agency in January 13’. Having an agent show belief in you is a tremendous gift and marked a turning point in my journey.
Tracy Brennan then began submitting Beyond Grace’s Rainbow to 12 publishers for consideration in March 2013. While I had some success as a self-published author, my ultimate goal had always been to catch the eye of a book publisher and that never changed. I knew that I would have to play the waiting game once the submissions went out, so it was time to wait patiently (not very good at this bit) for an answer and I turned my attention to my second book, Sleep of Dreams. Of course every day I would take a spin around twitter once or twice to catch up on the news and one day at the end of March I noticed this tweet from writing.ie and it changed the course of my writing journey forever more.
I forwarded the link to Tracy suggesting that we add them to our list of queried publishers – so 12 submissions became 13 – unlucky for some, but oh so lucky for me! Harper Impulse are a new, innovative and exciting digital imprint within Harper Collins UK and in June while on a Father’s Day break in the Glen of Aherlow with our children, I received an email from Harper Impulse, saying that they loved Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. A meeting in London followed with an offer of a two book deal. I may sound blasé when I say that, but I can assure you that the offer was received by me with a lot of OMG’s and much whooping and hollering by all of the family, with a few conga dances thrown in for good measure as we celebrated the news!
Since HarperImpulse made the acquisition announcement, life has changed dramatically for me. I worked closely with the team at Harper on a new cover for Beyond Grace’s Rainbow and Alexander (genius creator of all the HI book covers) did a beautiful job for me. Then the edits arrived which I was mildly worried about, but in fact was a really enjoyable experience, helped greatly by my lovely publisher and editor Charlotte Ledger. Over the past two weeks I have been doing radio and even a TV interview and have been featured in several of the national papers and magazines.
Me. Yes me! Stay at home Mum and aspiring author. It’s quite incredible.
On 12th September HarperImpulse published Beyond Grace’s Rainbow as an eBook and later this year (watch this space), it will be available in paperback book too! My second novel Sleep of Dreams has now been submitted to my publisher and I have started book three which is a sequel to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow.
I can hardly believe that this has happened to me. My dream to be published author with a publisher, not just any publisher but an internationally renowned company like HarperCollins, is about to come true. It is everything I ever dreamed that it would be and so much more. So to every aspiring and emerging writer out there, please keep writing, work hard and keep dreaming, because trust me, you never know what Fate or Destiny has in mind for you.
(c) Carmel Harrington
With my husband Roger and two beautiful children Amelia and Nate, I live a pretty idyllic life in Ireland, full of stories, songs, hide and seek, Mickey Mouse, walks on the beach, tickles, kisses, chocolate treats and most of all abundant love. To make life even more perfect, I have now fulfilled a lifetime ambition to be a writer as I am both a published author with HarperImpulse, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and a sometimes playwright. I believe in Happily Ever After’s because that’s what happened to me.