So you want to be a writer?

So you want to be a writer?

I know from our postbag and the number of books that I get sent to review that many of our readers spend much time and effort writing a book, but of course, very few are published.  Many accept that the task of writing is a pleasure in itself but where do you go if you want to get published?

From time to time publishing houses hold competitions to find budding new authors and one such is Legend Press which has a bursary to offer.

They have announced the opening of submissions for the 2016 Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary.

The award was set up shortly after Luke’s death in 2006 by his family to support and encourage the work of fledgling novel writers and the Bursary is now the UK’s biggest award for unpublished authors. The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press and a £2,500 cash prize.

Luke Bitmead was the first novelist to be published by Legend Press, his novel White Summer was released in 2006 shortly before his death. Two novels have been published posthumously – The Body is a Temple and Heading South (co-authored by Catherine Richards). Information about Luke can be found at

They are pleased to be continuing this fantastic bursary for a ninth year, and hope to continue the success of previous winners Andrew Blackman (On the Holloway Road), Ruth Dugdall (The Woman Before Me), Sophie Duffy (The Generation Game), J.R. Crook (Sleeping Patterns,) Joanne Graham (Lacey’s House), Jo Gatford (White Lies), Tara Guha (Untouchable Things) and Lyn G. Farrell (The Wacky Man) published on 2nd May 2016.

Only adult fiction is eligible for this bursary, no children’s books or non-fiction.

Tom Chalmers, Legend Press MD comments ‘We are delighted to be continuing this brilliant bursary for the ninth year. The prize is a fantastic way to find new, undiscovered writing talent, and we have found some of our most exciting authors through the prize. Luke was an amazingly talented young author, and it is an honour to be continuing the prize in his name.’

Submissions from writers will be accepted from Monday 2nd May until Friday 15th July 2016.

For information about how to enter visit: Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary

There are many other competitions held throughout the year and in other countries so if you want to have a go at entering the following website has a list:

Christopher himself is a writer and his website has plenty of useful information for budding authors.


Debut author

I spoke recently with a first time published author, Hilary Coombes who after years of submitting manuscripts has had her novel, Hen Party published by UP Publications and put the following questions to her:

Have you done any writing courses?  I did one weekend course 10 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned a lot especially the dogged persistence one needed to get anything published. At the time the tutor encouraged me tremendously saying that I had the makings of a good writer and storyteller.

Have you submitted manuscripts before and if so how many and to whom?  Over a ten-year period, I submitted the first three chapters (the norm) of several ‘unfinished’ novels to many and various agents and publishers without success. Looking back and with more experience I can now see why they were rejected, at the time I thought the writing was good but I was fooling myself.  I sent this book to three different publishers.

When I submitted the Hen Party it was a finished and edited book and by then I had an enormous amount of writing experience behind me.

Have you got an option on any more novels?  I have completed a second novel, which I’ve edited once. I will probably edit it again three or four more times before seeking publication. My present publisher has indicated a willingness to take my second book but as yet I am unsure what I will do.

Who designed the cover? The design department of my publisher.

So while it is far from easy to get your book published there is plenty of help and advice out there.

by Charlotte Courthold