My Route to Publication by Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb #TuesdayBookBlog

I’ve met my next guest on a couple of occasions, once at the Book Connectors meet up in Birmingham, and then again in Leicester just before Christmas. She is always so supportive of others, a delight to chat with, and an inspiration to all writers’. I am, therefore, over the moon to invite the lovely Lizzie Lamb to join me today to talk about her route to publication. Over to Lizzie…

Work Desk
My Work Desk

Many thanks to Shelley for inviting me onto her fabulous blog to talk about my route to publication. For those who don’t know me, I am in indie author and have just published my latest Scottish-themed contemporary romance, GIRL IN THE CASTLE. So, how did I manage to publish four novels in under five years and work collaboratively on two others? Read on –

My published novelsHere’s an extract from the end papers of Girl in the CastleWhen I was about seven years old I, along with two friends—Freda Wallace and Rosemary Smiley—went to Woolworths each bought a notebook and pen. Rushing home, we sat on my back doorstep and started writing . . . In my head I’m still that optimistic seven-year-old sitting on a cold doorstep overlooking the Ravenscraig Steel Works, notebook in hand and scribbling away.  Then, my grandfather bought me a petite typewriter and I never looked back –

 

Back doorstep
Me on the doorstep, overlooking Ravenscraig Steel Mills

 

Fast forward to the 1970’s when Jilly Cooper published novels, each with a girl’s name as the title. I adored those novels and decided, that’s what I want to write. However, my writing ambitions were put on the back burner when I graduated, married, took up my first teaching post and bought a house. One with a spare bedroom which we could convert into a space where I could write, undisturbed.

Jilly Cooper

Time passed; I became more involved in my teaching career, bought an Amstrad word processor and secured myself an agent, (the late Dot Lumley). Then, in 1990, I was appointed deputy head of a large primary school and had to make a difficult choice – a career (with a pension), or to live on a writer’s earnings. I chose teaching because I loved it and for the certainty it provided; but I never forgot my dream. In 2006, I took early retirement and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. Here I am on the very last day of my teaching career saying goodbye to the children and explaining why writing was so important to me.

 

last school assembly
Saying goodbye to the children

 

Full of can-do spirit, I formed the Leicester Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (with June Kearns) had the first three chapters of my novel critiqued by Carole Matthews, and won a ‘WOW’ mug into the bargain. Testing the water, I wrote a jingle for Little Black Dress (Headline) and won a year’s supply of novels. After finishing my first rom-com, Big Bad Wolf I submitted it to LBD, just as the line was folding. After receiving advice from the Hilary Johnson Agency, I lengthened the novel, changed the title to Tall, Dark and Kilted and invited multi-published author Amanda Grange to lunch and asked  – where-do-I-go-next? She advised me, Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford to give self-publishing a try; the Amazon algorithm was changing and if we were going to self-publish, now was the time. We formed New Romantics Press, and our first novels appeared on Amazon in November 2012. We then embarked on a series of book launches/author talks to bring our books to the notice of the wider world.

In the Garden
Amanda, June, Lizzie, Mags, and Adrienne

 

18-burton-overy-we-love-you-003
Book launch – plural!

TDK Cover

Exciting things began to happen – a fabulous afternoon tea with Trisha Ashley, bloggers approaching ME, asking if they could review my books, and we even appeared in Writers’ Magazine. I published Boot Camp Bride and was a finalist in the Festival of Romance new writers’ award. Soon, writing became my full time occupation. Adrienne Vaughan and I hosted literary lunches, raised money for a local Cancer charity and used social media to bring us to the attention of a new audience.  Adrienne took over as editor of the RNA magazine, Romance Matters, and we hunkered down to write our next novels.

Afternoon Tea

Promo
Our charity gig

Amanda was right, things were changing, and quickly, too. More digital first publishers were coming on to the market: Endeavour Press, Accent Press, Harper Collins, Bookoutre et al.  There were sites which gave books away for free – Bookbub, ENT, and Instafreebie and a situation was soon reached where some readers had over 1000 FREE books on their kindles, books they could not possibly read.  Why would they buy our books?

 

July WritingMagazine Edited Version
In Writers’ Magazine

 

Onwards and upwards. We held book launches in many different venues, the crowning glory – being Waterstones, Kensington High Street, complete with canapes and prosecco, and with many bloggers and authors helping us to celebrate. I put the finishing touches to Scotch on the Rocks and published in July 2015 – it went straight to #1 bestseller in its genre within two weeks. I now had three books to my name and two collaborative paperbacks. I entered Scotch on the Rocks in the Exeter Novel Prize (judged by agent Broo Dougherty), reaching the final six authors.

Newspaper cutting
Cutting from the Harborough Mail
Kensington gig
At Waterstones, Kensington High Street
Bestseller image
Amazon Bestseller
Paperweight
Exeter Novel Prize Finalist

Returning to my roots, I presented workshops on how to self-publish and used that as a way of reaching new readers. To repeat what I said earlier, times really were a-changing, but we were enjoying the journey and having a ball. In November 2016 Adrienne and I held a book launch at up-market handbag shop Aspinal, in St Pancras, London – where we rubbed shoulders with Tom Parker-Bowles and sold lots of paperbacks. I even met Her Majesty (just kidding) 😉

Books in Aspinal
My books in Aspinal
Tom Parker Bowles
Meeting Tom Parker Bowles…
Carols party - the Queen
…and the Queen!!

Spring 2017 – May – I published Girl in the Castle which is currently #8 in Scottish>Highlands and Islands, sandwiched comfortably between Jenny Colgan and Peter May. Illustrious company indeed.

Amazon poster

So – what next? I would like to write a time-slip set in Scotland where my heroine really does go back in time. I might write another Scottish-themed romance, I have plotted out the next three in line.  I have the first draft of three romances ‘under the bed, and could update those. Who knows – I might even look for an agent/publisher willing to take my books to the next level. Whatever I decide, I’m just going to keep on writing, it’s what I love and it’s what I’ll always do. I owe it to those little girls sitting on the cold doorstep with their notebooks on their knees, don’t I?

Thank you so much to Lizzie for sharing her journey with us. If you want to find out more about Lizzie’s books, blog, or the New Romantics Press then follow the links:

Lizzie’s Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Lizzie’s Website

New Romantics Press Website

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

55 comments

  1. Hi Lizzie!
    This gives me so much hope!
    As a teacher myself, I know what it is like. The demands of the day job leave precious little for the creative side! I hope that I will get my first fiction book finished before retirement, but until then, I can dream that it will be published one day! I’ll be sure to check your books out!
    Love a bit of romance!
    Thanks Shelley for the intro!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ritu, if I tell you that I was deputy head teacher for the last 16 years of my 34 year career, you can see that it is hard, but do-able. The demands of marking, assessment and preparation take such a toll on a teacher’s creative spirit that it’s hard to find that extra bit of energy to write. But, you’ll do it. I know you will.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. How lovely to read about Lizzie’s success. I met her two years ago at the RNA conference and she’s very positive and encouraging.

    Her advertising campaigns had already caught my attention; she certainly knows what she’s doing in that area.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi April, yes, I do work really hard at the old promotional/advertising thing. Canva.com is a boon to writers and I have upgraded to the ‘canva for work’ subscription – it makes my life a lot easier. I remember talking to you at the last conference a couple of years ago. I’m looking forward to the 2017 conference in a few week’s time. Maybe I’ll see you there, too?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Lizzie Lamb and commented:
    Many thanks to Shelley Wilson for inviting me onto her fab blog. A retrospective is always good and it reminds me how far we’ve travelled in under five years. Here’s to the future – I’d like to write another couple of books while I still have the energy – LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rosie, you and your reviewing team have always shown me and other members of New Romantics Press great support. It’s truly appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Suzy, I adored those books and I think they made a budding author think: I CAN DO THAT. I almost wish she’d ditch those great long blockbusters she writes and get back to what we all love.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I’ll never get tired of hearing Lizzie’s amazing story, and I’m saying this again, she is a true inspiration to all of us! A great friend and a great motivator, whatever your dream is ( I am not a writer, but I must admit I ended up in one of her novels, as the saying goes, I wasn’t careful enough LOL).
    Onwards and upwards! Fabulous blog post, it’s been a pleasure reading it. xx
    PS Loved the b/w photo
    PPS oh and the one of us with The Queen 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Isabella. We met through a love of books and Facebook and became friends from there, although we live in different countries. I had such fun making you a character in Scotch on the Rocks – the Diva from Dumbarton – and of course, you helped me with my Italian. That led to us being invited to Carole Matthew’s Christmas party where we met ‘in the flesh’ for the first time, and rubbed shoulders with her Majesty.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Wendy I see your posts on Facebook and Twitter and how well you are doing, too. The best part of writing is that you feel included in a huge community of talented people. Even though we all write different genres, its very inspiring to feel included.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading that post, even I was thinking – wow, what a whirlwind! I’ve known Lizzie for a long time now, and her energy, work rate and enthusiasm never seem to falter. She’s a generous supporter of others, too – a great friend and lots of fun to be with. Go Lizzie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks June, we’ve been on this path together and I value your friendship and that of the other members of New Romantics Press. I couldn;t have done it without your help and support. Here’s to our next books. As for energy, I don;t know where it comes from – I might have a slightly ‘driven’ personality. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary, yes Eileen Ramsay was in London on the night we had our launch in Waterstones and was kind enough to come along with her agent – Kate Bradley. That’s typical of her and the support RNA members show each other. Promotion is hard, so the more we can share it, the better.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for popping by. I’m toying with the idea of a time slip and did include a phantom piper in my latest, Girl in the Castle. I’m glad you found my blog post inspiring, I just wish I could have started years ago. Amazon, for all its faults, certainly let me get my foot in the door.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What a brilliant post, Lizzie & Shelley. I’ve known Lizzie a while now and cherish our friendship. As well as being a top writer, Lizzie’s valuable advice, support and encouragement for other writers has been unwavering. A great role model and always so full of enthusiasm. I so enjoy reading about her route to publication and about all she’s achieved. Success that is fully deserved. Fantastic pictures too, Lizzie! 🙂 Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jan. You ‘ve been with me every step of the way and I really value your help and support, too. I was never happier than when you were taken on by Choc Lit and they published As Weekends Go. (Looking fwd to the sequel on that one.) I’m happy to count you as a friend (something else I have to thank Facebook for!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful interview Shelley, the fact that Lizzie Lamb is not only a wonderful writer, but a very special person shone through every word. Love her dearly, and having journeyed part of that way with her makes me so proud of all she has achieved. Lizzie’s vision and determination certainly spurs me on, and where would I be without the RNA Leicester Chapter – still run by herself and June? Probably still tapping away on my Petite typewriter! More power to her … and you too. Great work! XXX

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those petite typewriters, along with the Jilly Coope novels, must have been the launch pad for so many writers of romance. You have always shown me help and support and as a pair of ‘mad Celts’ we get plenty of raised eyebrows at our antics. I’m so glad that you joined NRP and brought all your PR experience with ou, otherwise, we would never have held those book launches (or met Tom P-Bowles – top bloke).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great story, Lizzie and a fantastic achievement. You’re a brilliant example of what determination to follow your dream can achieve. And natural talent, of course. An inspiration to us all.

    Liked by 2 people

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