The Secret To Getting Published

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals was out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post. 

I’m going to do a little bit of swapping around this week. Today I will point you in the direction of a post I wrote elsewhere and tomorrow there will be a video blog. T-minus only SIX days until Distress Signals hits the U.S. – can you believe it? (Also, T-minus six days until I give myself a month long blogging holiday. Hooray!) Today’s “one I made earlier” post is a piece I wrote for the Irish Times back in May about the secret to getting published. If you missed it first time around, here it is again…

Before I became an author myself, I was shamelessly obsessed with them. I clipped newspaper interviews and recorded their appearances on TV. Attended workshops, seminars and literary festivals, sidling up to the panellists afterwards under the guise of getting my book signed. Made forensic examinations of the advice they shared in magazine articles and blog posts. Googled the names of the agents and editors they thanked in their acknowledgements. Systematically worked my way through the reference section of Waterstone’s on Patrick Street, Cork, reading every How To Write a Book, Get Published and Make Millions – This Weekend! style title they had in stock. I once even took a day trip from Amsterdam to Paris just to giggle like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert in front of Harlan Coben and see what a publishing superstar smelled – I mean, um, looked – like in the flesh.

All in pursuit of the answer to this question: how did you get published? I needed to know because I was desperate to get published myself. Was there a special pen I should be using? An optimum type of paper? Maybe a particularly inspiring brand of coffee grounds? I heard Maeve Binchy got up at 5am every morning to write but then I also heard that Cecilia Ahern stayed up until then to do it, so I didn’t know what to believe. Where was I going wrong? Just tell me which bloody pen, okay?




Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

6 thoughts on “The Secret To Getting Published

  1. Joel D Canfield says:

    Just tell me which bloody pen, okay?

    Songwriters do the same thing, sadly. A select few finally realize (or knew all along) that touching people emotionally matters. The pen and paper or software you use to compose does not.

    Tell a great story and the rest matters little (I won’t say “not at all” but I don’t think Cormac McCarthy studied real hard in order to use less punctuation, I think it’s just his voice and nobody cares because CORMAC MCCARTHY fer cryin’ out loud.)

  2. Andy Blatchford says:

    And Finally. The secret is…..? Luck?
    Perhaps it is as Arnold Palmer said, “The more I practice the luckier I get!”
    I am looking forward to winning the signed hardback. If I don’t, then I will just have to go and buy one anyway. How will I get that one signed?
    Well done for finishing your Draft 2 of Book 2. Avid reader available to pre-read.

  3. cici says:

    Thank you for sharing so much of your writing process in your blog, it’s much appreciated. Really helps me out during those “For why? For what?” moments when I wonder just to what end I’m trying to squeeze my writing schedule around a full time job, and still get enough sleep to function at both.

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