Why new authors should never give up

I was thrilled to heaOut of Shadowsr about new children’s author Jason Wallace whose debut novel, Out of Shadows, won the prestigious Costa Children’s Book Award. What makes this victory so sweet is that Jason was turned down by 100 literary agents and publishers; I bet they are now regretting their hasty decisions.

I do wonder how much time agents spend reading submitted manuscripts, particularly from unknown writers. Sure, they must get inundated, but there could be some little gems which they fail to recognise if they stick to the tried and trusted books, such as celebrity autobiographies and published authors.

I really like the sound of Out of Shadows, described as the “book of the decade”, which is set in newly-independent Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe – certainly different to most children’s books, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was turned into a film.

I was lucky to find a literary agent and publisher straight away when I was the ghost writer for Being The Soham Psychic. On the strength of this I was approached by a woman last year who had been unsuccessful in finding a publisher for her debut book and asked for my assistance. I thought it was a terrific book and I simply re-wrote her proposal and submission and suggested the name of a high profile person to write a foreword drawing in on his personal experiences which would make it more eye catching.  After my approach, this celebrity dress designer instantly agreed to do so and has avidly been reading the manuscript over Christmas and really likes it. This lovely man has been tipped to design the wedding dress of Kate Middleton, and I will reveal his identity later.

The woman writer had been turned down by countless agents too for various reasons before she contacted me, and I tried to find others who might be interested. Just before Christmas, one literary agent contacted me to say he had liked the sample chapter and wanted to read the full manuscript, which sounds very promising, and we are waiting to hear more.

I have been contacted again today by another writer with another thrilling storyline who wants help in securing a book deal. I know it is fiendishly difficult and that the publishing industry is struggling, but this is an area I really enjoy working in and I relish a challenge. I have also learnt much from my own personal experiences; my book reached No 1 on Amazon for True Crime and Murder.

There must come a time when a writer decides to give up after receiving dozens of rejections. I’m so glad Jason did not. I bet he is too…..


  1. Yes, I sometimes think that publishing is a bit of a lottery, and it certainly helps to have some advice and support.

  2. I hope you’re getting commission, Ellee!

  3. Philipa

    Love this blog post and your supportive perspective, Ellee – it’s so easy to get disheartend and JK Rowling got turned down loads of times. The safe bet in publishing celeb biographies doesn’t ensure literary excellence now does it? Anything to stop Tony Bliar grinning at us from the shelves gets my support.

  4. Kevin, I couldn’t agree more with your words: “It has to be done for love above all else. Getting it out of the system and on to paper is the game, and then having a hope and a dream … like a lottery ticket – you’ve got to have a go and be in it to win it.”

    I hope they inspire many aspiring authors. Self-belief is crucial.

  5. all I can say is- HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  6. There are so many for publishers to read. A lot of it comes down to luck and persistence. Send to many publishers, or consider self publishing.

    There may be a message for aspiring authors who keep getting rejected that they are not getting it right. But that’s not the point of artistry. It has to be done for love above all else. Getting it out of the system and on to paper is the game, and then having a hope and a dream … like a lottery ticket – you’ve got to have a go and be in it to win it.

  7. New authors will always come up with something fresh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *