Happy New Year, Guys!
So, I’ve been working on this post for some time but with Christmas, work, assignments and the New Year getting in the way it got really delayed. Also, it took a while for me to wrap my head around what actually happened and it was something very very VERY exciting! If I haven’t already spammed your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram news feeds, (sorry about that) you may have guessed from the title, that yes, I’M PUBLISHED! One of my short stories – The Cores – that I began writing in my first year of University has been printed in the pages of The Young Writers’ Anthology 2015 by Electric Reads – exciting! This is Electric Reads’ first ever anthology and that just made me feel even more honoured to be a part of it! It’s publishing companies like these that I absolutely adore because they search for those unknown British writers lurking in the shadows just waiting for opportunities to strike and they give them that chance to put a foot in the door of the world of writing – as it has done for me! And right now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! What a lovely way to end 2015 eh?
I highly recommend you all to pick up a copy of the anthology, not because my story is in there (who am I kidding, of course it’s because my story is in there!) But there is also a huge variety of raw, young, British talent out there that is featured in this one publication. As I was reading some of the other short stories within it I was immediately asking myself how I was considered to be chosen to be in the same category as this gifted bunch! Of course my mum will argue that mine is the best, so to keep the peace let’s all agree with her. Agreed? Good. 😉
On a more serious note though, if any of you are aspiring writers and want a platform such as this to get your name out there somewhere, here’s what I did.
*Cue my publishing journey*
I was lucky enough to stumble across the Electric Reads ‘Call for Submissions’ article on my creative writing university blog (Beyond the Walls) If you’re in school/college/university then taking a look at their creative arts programs for competitions and submissions is a good place to start. I saw this article in early September and when I saw the closing date was the 31st October I quickly jumped at the chance to apply for it!
I had taken a look-see at the submission guidelines – I can’t emphasise how important this is, for any aspiring writers, you could write an epic, amazing piece for a magazine/journal/anthology/article or whatever and it won’t be what they are looking for! So they’ll simply dismiss it and it will break your heart. Luckily, Electric Reads were looking for prose (my speciality!) and something unique, creative and original (not as easy to achieve!) Oh, and I had to be 25 and under and British so, from reading this I seemed to be ticking all the boxes that the submission guidelines consisted of – debatable about the originality part – and I instantly thought that my short story The Cores would be perfect for it. After drafting and re-drafting what I had wrote a year and a half ago I finally thought it was acceptable to submit (well, I wasn’t perfectly happy with it but then again I never am when it comes to my own writing!) So I submitted it a few days prior to the deadline.
A few days later. . .
To my surprise I received an email to say my piece had been SHORTLISTED! So that’s when I thought, wow! Okay, that’s it that’s as far as I’m going to get, to be shortlisted is such an honour and it’s something I can still put on my CV, always thinking ahead me! But as a shortlisted writer I was told by the publishing company that I still had to provide some details about myself like a short bio and a photograph! Believe me, the hardest part about this whole experience was trying to find a photograph of myself that didn’t make me look like a mug. We got there in the end, well, kind of.
After I sent all that the next step was just to wait. Yes, it was painful because whilst waiting I was thinking to myself ‘OMG, what if I was too ego-centrical in my bio? What if I really did look like a mug in my photo and they don’t want anything to do with me now?’ I’m an over thinker, okay? So after what felt like a year (I think realistically it was like 4 days) I received an email to say that I had been chosen within the top 25 to be PUBLISHED!!! That’s when it all started to feel completely surreal and everything moved really quickly. I was assigned an editor to work with and he read over my piece and returned it to me with feedback and suggestions of what he thinks I should change/add. This was a process I didn’t mind doing because I love constructive criticism, this guy is just trying to make my story better, how could I argue with that?! So within the course of about 2-3 weeks my story had evolved massively. After a final proof-read it was ready for print!
THEN, IT WAS THE DAY WE HAD ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! The release date came about on the 11th December and the anthology was first available in an e-book and then the paperback version followed it a few hours later on Amazon. Of course, mum was already on the job ordering her own copy and arrived at our door a couple of days later. The whole thing just felt so surreal (it still does!) I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. When we opened the book to my page (the biggest shock was seeing my face take up a whole page on all its own) but they were MY words printed in that book, MY story, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that feeling.
ALSO, I also had the privilege to be published alongside a fellow York St John Creative Writing student and friend, Bryony Eilish Porteous. She has had her short story The Drude printed in this anthology too and I have to say it is such a unique, stunning read! This girl is crazy talented in story-telling which is why you need to pick yourself up a copy!
And I think that’s about it! Hope you guys enjoyed the post and have an AMAZING New Year! All the best for 2016!