Two years ago I entered the first few thousand words of BOONIE for the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition. For the uninitiated, this is a comp for the unpublished and unagented (dreadful word!) writer. Now, the SCWBI UV competition has a pretty impressive record. As I write I believe 22 of the 36 writers featured in the anthologies have been published or are contracted to be so and quite a few more have agents beavering away on their behalf.
Now, I’d been writing for a good many years. I’d had some kind comments, even once had an agent but never had any luck with mainstream publishers. What made me enter UV2012 apart from their impressive success rate was that I had been more successful with competitions than I ever had been with regular submissions. I had actually won a couple of comps and been long and shortlisted many times so felt this was a luckier route for me.
So, I polished up the beginning of BOONIE, entered UV2012 in June 2011 and pretty much forgot about it. Then, in the September I received an email telling me I’d been long listed. A quick visit to the SCBWI website and there was my name nestling in the middle of the lucky 24. Quite pleased with that. Then I forgot again and got on with my writing.
The phone rang in November 2011 and an enthusiastic voice told me I’d been selected to appear in the Undiscovered Voices 2012 anthology and could I come to a meeting with all the other winners in January? Wow! Chuffed or what?
The only snag was that I was to leave the UK at the end of November to spend a couple of months in the Zimbabwean sunshine. (I know, its tough but somebody has to do it!) SCWBI were really helpful and I joined the meeting via Skype. Pretty exotic stuff!
Things moved on pretty quickly after that. I got back to the UK in February 2012 just in time for the launch party and I was beating off agents and publishers with a stick. Well, not quite perhaps but within two months I had a publishing contract from Hot Key Books and shortly after that signed with Anna Power at the Johnson & Alcock Agency. Thanks to SCWBI I have become a real writer.
And here we are, or at least here I am. BOONIE was published in January 2013 and the paperback is due out in July. As I sit and write every day (OK, nearly every day) I can look up at my bookshelves and there, nestling between Daniel Mason’s The Piano Tuner and my collection of John Master’s Raj books is a book by…well…me. How good is that?
So, if you believe you are a good writer and only need a lucky break to get your books published, enter Undiscovered Voices 2014. Click http://www.undiscoveredvoices.com/ and get to it.