Friday, May 25, 2012

The Long and Winding Road to Publication - Catherine Cavendish

Catherine's on the blog today. You've met her before : She Believes in Ghosts and Her Fascination for History

In the last year she's had phenomenal success in her writing career.

I asked her to tell us about her road to publication and here's what she said:

Catherine: These days, getting a publisher to fall in love with your book, enough to go to the time and trouble of publishing it, is a story in itself. The journey is usually a long and fraught one, beset by many a wrong turn, pothole and more than a few prangs- maybe even a few crashes!

My long and winding road has been probably no harder or easier than most writers’. I started writing when I was old enough to hold a pen and could spell a little more than my own name. I was the strange kid who smiled when given an essay for homework, while all around me, the other children groaned.

I first discovered The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook in the early ‘70s and, having completed my first book, started the painstaking work of typing up individual letters to literary agents. No computers in those days!  Out of every six sent out, at least one would agree to read it. I would then have to package up a good carbon copy, trot along to the Post Office and send it – recorded delivery and with return postage. Not an inexpensive exercise.

Quite a number of agents I approached in those early days are still around today. Ten years and a few more manuscripts later, a new agent called Darley Anderson phoned me one Saturday morning. He was direct, encouraging and pulled no punches. I gained some valuable advice from him which I have never forgotten. A big ‘thank you’ to him. He is now one of the top agents in the UK (and probably beyond).

In the years since, there were some successes – but these were with publications connected with my then ‘day job’. I was still chasing that elusive deal for one of my increasing collection of unpublished novels. There were some near misses as well. On two occasions, I actually landed an agent, only to receive the dreaded letter of regret a year or so down the line when they couldn’t find a publisher. I came close to success on that front myself with a  fledgling Scottish publisher who has now gone on to bigger and better things.

So why didn’t I just give up? Firstly, I write out of a need to do so. It is so much more than a hobby. If I didn’t write, I’d be lost, and that is no exaggeration. Secondly, along this tortuous road, I have had a lot of sparks of encouragement. I have mentioned Darley Anderson. I would add to him the wonderfully named Fifi Oscard and Assocs of New York, Teresa Chris, Brie Burkeman, Canongate Publishing, and there are many others. To all of you a big ‘thank you’.

And then I discovered Litopia – the oldest writing community on the Internet. There I found aspiring writers just like me and also an array of talented, successful authors and editors, willing to give of their time and expertise. There I found useful contacts, information, help and support. And I found my first publisher. A fellow Litopian had just signed a publishing contract with them, so why couldn’t I? Spurred on by his success, I sent them a manuscript. They rejected it but invited me to submit again. I did. Another rejection but even more encouragement. The third manuscript I sent was a horror short story called In My Lady’s Chamber. The publisher? Etopia Press. To date, they have also published two horror novellas of mine as e-books and one of these, Cold Revenge, has recently been included in a two author anthology called Cold Sparks which is available in paperback as well as e-book, so I get to look at it on my bookshelf! More books and anthologies are in the pipeline with them for later this year. So let me add another huge ‘thank you’. This time to Peter Cox and everyone at Litopia (where you’ll still find me), and to Etopia Press.

Also at this time, Gypsy Shadow Publishing contracted with me to publish two of my short stories – Say A Little Prayer and The Dust Storm- both of which are now out in e-book. Thank you to them as well.

All this has happened in the past twelve months. So yes, a long and winding road it has certainly been, but worth the toil, sweat and tears.

Let’s face it, I could never have stopped writing even if the publishing contracts hadn’t come along. As the old saying goes, I am a writer. A writer writes.

Buy links:

Cold Sparks is available in paperback from: 

And in e-book from these and other online booksellers

The Dust Storm  is also available  from:
 and other online booksellers

Catherine Cavendish lives in North Wales with her husband and a slightly eccentric tortoiseshell cat. She has had a lifelong fascination with the paranormal which intensified when she herself saw a ghost. She is currently working on more paranormal stories and a novel featuring a circle of ancient standing stones. To find out more about/connect with her: