Showing posts with label Fairytale of New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fairytale of New York. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 October 2010

It’s HERE!!!!

After a year of hard work, more edits than I care to remember and several sleepless nights, here is my new novel – all sparkly and shiny and utterly gorgeous!

The first copies arrived yesterday and it was an absolute thrill to open the package from HarperCollins to reveal the finished article. I love it. I was a little concerned after all the headaches and edits that I wouldn’t be as excited this year to see the books as I was when I first saw Fairytale of New York last year. But actually it was better.

I picked up the package from my local post office after I’d missed the delivery the day before – so had hardly slept the night before because I knew that they were sitting waiting for me to see them. After I’d collected the package, I hurried back to my car to open it. I wanted that moment to be just mine: a brief moment of selfishness after a year of working with a team of people to bring my book into being. And it was lovely.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am immensely proud of Welcome to My World. I’ve worked harder on this than I have on anything else in my life so far, and I hope it shows. More than anything, I know it’s a cracking story with a unique viewpoint and I hope that people will love it as much as I do.

This time, I have colour printing on the inside front cover, too (so exciting) – complete with my own branding strap-line! In my day job I have to write these kind of lines for a living, but it’s completely weird to have one written about me… So you can now officially ‘Escape with Miranda’ – and even though the wicked part of me would love to have a photo of me as a convict in a Prison Break jumpsuit accompanying that message, I’m actually quite chuffed about it!

But the best bit for me is that I now have a ‘By The Same Author’ page. It underlines how amazing this whole adventure in my life really is – something I need to remind myself of every day. I feel so incredibly lucky to be in the position of having created two novels and, with all the issues and hard work and worries aside, I know I am living the dream of being a published author. It proves that it is still possible for new authors to be published – despite all the doomsayers, economic downturn woes and concerns about the state of the publishing industry.

In my acknowledgements, I’ve thanked you – my authonomy chums – for your immense support and belief in me. And I’ve said, ‘Here’s to many more authonomy successes’ – because I truly believe that there are amazing books on the site that will be discovered and writers that will get to experience the tremendous honour of seeing their books for sale. Keep believing – because the next person writing here about the thrill of seeing their finished novel for the first time might be you

M xx

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Step Closer…

After the sheer hard slog of the pesky line edits I was desperately in need of something to get me excited in my novel again. Thankfully, this arrived in the form of the PDF proof of Welcome to My World

Even though I knew there would still be a lot more reading, checking and correcting to do, I allowed myself a day or so just to revel in the joy of seeing how the text of my book will actually look.

I love this bit. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the thrill of seeing the thing that I’ve worked so hard on actually coming to fruition. It’s a bit like when I first saw the ultrasound picture of my sister’s baby (though nowhere near the same league of awesomeness, obviously!) – here is something real, almost tangible, but not yet in the world.

It’s magical. There’s no other word for it.

Like last year, the thing that thrilled me the most was the legal wording page – you know, the bit with the ISBN numbers, edition numbers and the ‘Miranda Dickinson has asserted her moral right…’ statement. I know it sounds daft, especially seeing as this is the one page in the book that I haven’t written, but somehow it makes it legitimate, real – a ‘proper book’.

So, yes, I did do the crazy loon celebratory dance in my slippers (thankfully, no passers-by on the canal towpath outside my living room window to shock this year) and I did do a couple of unashamedly girly squeaks when I first opened the PDF. But then, after all the hard work, I felt I was justified in five minutes of embarrassing silliness. Or maybe even twenty-five

One thing that I’ve found is really important for me is to make an effort to celebrate the various stages of the publication process. It’s far too easy to get bogged down in the slog of editing, the terrors of whether people will like it or not (avoid Amazon reviews like the plague if you want to stay positive about your ability to write something credible) and the emotionally exhausting rollercoaster of emotions that you inevitably ride. I would never have believed it before I was published, but you can get to the stage where you hate your book, loathe your vocabulary and detest your characters – and, worse still, you can start to wish you’d never embarked on writing the flippin’ thing in the first place. So celebration – and reminding myself just how bloomin’ lucky I am to have this gift of a job – are absolutely vital for me to stay positive about my book.

When all else is said, I know that I’m unbelievably proud of Welcome to My World. I feel that it’s much better than Fairytale of New York in many respects – better pace, better realised characters, a less ambling plot – and, most importantly, I feel it represents a progression in my writing. I know it’s a good book. So whether it sells or not, whether it’s as popular as Fairytale or not, and whether those pesky Amazon reviews are going to get better or not is all immaterial. I can’t do anything about those concerns: but I feel I’ve done all I can to make sure I’ve written something that gives me the tingle that as writers we all know and strive for. So, I’m celebrating!

And there is much to celebrate – last week I found out about all the offers that various retailers are doing for Welcome to My World, which is so exciting! I’ll tell you more about that when I can, suffice to say that there are some brilliant ‘extras’ that totally made my day when I was told about them.

So, onwards… And, in the meantime, I’ve started work on book 3. It’s going to be called Started With a Kiss and will be published next year. I’m looking for stories of how couples got together (a bit like in When Harry Met Sally) – so if you’ve got a real-life love story you’d like to share, please email me at Thanks!

Till next time!

M xx

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Pesky Edits of Doooooom...

Happy Thursday celebrate, another guest blog from authonomy and Times bestselling author Miranda Dickinson.

Let’s face it, nobody likes editing. I’ve yet to meet a writer (published or waiting-to-be-published) who jumps up and down with glee at the prospect of whipping their beloved manuscript into shape. I am no exception to this – and second time around, I am even less enamored with the process than I was with Fairytale

As I mentioned last time, I’ve just completed the final round of edits for Welcome to My World – but, far from being a breeze after last year, I actually found them some of the hardest I’ve had to do yet.

I think the problem with editing is that, in your heart of hearts, you know it’s a necessary process to go through in order to make your novel as good as it can be. On paper (pardon the pun) it all makes sense: tightening the pace, sharpening the plot and polishing characters will only make your book more irresistible to readers (and, therefore, publishers). But that doesn’t mean that you have to like it…

One of my writerly friends describes editing as being like a root canal operation- painful, but necessary to stop further pain in the future. It’s a bit of a gruesome analogy, I know, but it works for me! Because the truth is that it can hurt incredibly – after all, your novel is your baby – your precious creation that you have nurtured, cared for and dreamed about, sometimes for many years. Being ruthless with it seems like a betrayal after so much love has been poured into it. And the process is even harder when the changes you’re inflicting on it are suggested by somebody else.

It’s one of the things about being a published author that, if I’m really honest, I never considered when I was dreaming of the ‘Big Sparkly Publishing Deal’ for all those years. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but being told that characters I loved weren’t coming across on the page in the way they did in my head, or that my pet plot points didn’t work, was a mighty shock to the system. Every writer I’ve met says the same thing, so it’s good to know I’m not overreacting!

The thing is, when I step back from the situation, I can completely see the need for the edits. In my day job as a copywriter, I work with other people’s words a lot and it’s always easier to be objective about how well a sentence or paragraph works when you haven’t written it. So I understand what my editor and the editorial team at Avon are doing when they send through suggestions to tighten up my work. But it’s still difficult at times to switch off the ‘proud parent’ inside my head and approach it as a teacher who wants to bring out the best in her pupil.

Of course, I stand my ground on some things – but I also make sure that the points that have been raised are really clarified in the text. When you live with your characters and story as much as we writers do, it’s amazing how much you can assume you’ve explained in the novel that actually didn’t make it to the page. But other things you just have to let go – like when the title of my first novel was changed from Coffee At Kowalski’s to Fairytale of New York, or this time when the name of the village where Harri lives was changed to Stone Yardley (this one was my solution to their suggestion, but it’s still taken some getting used to). There are some things that simply work better as something different – for a whole host of reasons – and at the end of the day I know they will help to make my novel something that people will want to read.

I don’t know if I’ll ever learn to love the Pesky Edits of Doooooom, but I think I’m gradually beginning to understand why they are a necessary part of the process. Thankfully, for this year at least, they are well and truly over and now I can look forward to the exciting bit of seeing the proof of Welcome to My World next week. It’s when I get to see what the printed pages will look like – and I’ll tell you all about it next time…

Thanks for your brilliant comments and lovely words of support – they mean a lot to me!

Till next time,

M xx

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Here I go again...

Here at authonomy, we can't get enough of Miranda Dickinson. Her first book Fairytale of New York was discovered on authonomy, published by Avon and went on to sell well over 100,000 copies. Her second book Welcome to My World is all but ready and waiting in the wings, ready for release this November. Miranda will be blogging for us every fortnight, giving us the lowdown on life as an authonomist turned published author...

It’s been a while since I last blogged and a lot has been happening. I’ve been writing and editing my second novel, Welcome to My World, I’ve signed another three-book deal and I’ve become a bestseller in Turkey!!

This writing journey just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Last year I thought that, once I’d gone through the publishing process once, I would be used to it for the next time around. Not so! If anything, the process of writing and editing Welcome to My World has been scarier than it was with Fairytale of New York - because last time I didn’t really think anyone would buy my novel. This time, with so many people loving my first book, I’ve really felt the pressure to write something that won’t disappoint the lovely people who took a chance on me the first time round. The pressure is all my own doing, but I think that it’s actually helped me to write a better book. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to write books, so I am determined to never take anything for granted about my writing.

It’s still utterly amazing to me that I have readers in the first place. It’s something I always dreamed about but, if I’m honest, I never thought it would happen for me. It’s only when I receive emails from people who have read Fairytale of New York that I realise it’s actually happening. This has been the best bit of the whole adventure by far. I will never, ever tire of hearing how something I wrote touched someone I’ll probably never meet. It’s such an immense privilege to be part of someone’s history – and better than all the other stuff put together.

The maddest thing has been discovering the vast array of weird and wonderful locations that Fairytale has been spotted in. A lady from my church was on holiday in the Cape Verdi Islands and met a woman by the pool reading my book; it’s been seen in a backpacker’s hostel in Australia, on the tube in London and in my Gran’s library in Ilkley; and my editor bumped into a couple of teenagers reading it on the train from Tokyo to Kyoto earlier this year! How mad is that?

One email I received recently was from a lady in Istanbul, who said that Fairytale was ‘on the bestseller shelves’ there. I wasn’t sure whether this was the English edition or the Turkish edition, so I checked with my editor. I knew that the rights had been sold to Turkey, Germany and Bulgaria, but as the German edition (Die wunderbare Welt die Rosie Duncan) isn’t published until December, I’d assumed that the Turkish edition wouldn’t be ready until early next year. But sure enough, New York Masali was published at the end of May and went into the Turkish top 20. Craziness…

The other big news was that Avon offered another three-book deal a couple of months ago. This took me completely by surprise – I had assumed that any kind of talk about future contracts wouldn’t take place until next year – so when it happened it was amazing. This means that I’ll be publishing one book a year to 2014 – incredible stuff. So far, I have enough ideas for five books – so any suggestions for book six are more than welcome!

I’ve just completed the final edit for Welcome to My World (more on those pesky edits next time…), so the novel is now winging its way to the typesetters. The cover design is fab – I’m chuffed to bits with it. Quite odd to now have a ‘brand’, but that’s one of the many things about this publishing adventure that is taking some getting used to…

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support – it means so much. It was fab to meet lots of lovely Authonomites at the Festival of Writing in York earlier this year – hope to meet more of you soon!

That’s it for now – more next time…

You can pre-order Welcome to My World now!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Dream Continues

More news from bestselling authonomy author Miranda Dickinson...

Just when I think this crazy publishing rollercoaster can’t get any more unbelievable, it goes and proves me wrong!

Last week it was announced that Fairytale of New York had made the shortlist for the 2010 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year in the Pure Passion Awards (which will take place in London next month). I was already chuffed to make the longlist, so this news came as a complete surprise! For the romantic fiction genre, the RNA award is akin to the Costa Book Award or the Orange Prize – what means the most is that my work has been recognised by writers in my genre and to make the top 6 out of the 1,500 works considered is just amazing!

I travelled down to London for the official launch of the awards and met the other shortlisted authors – and once again found myself in incredibly surreal territory! To be in a room with famous authors like Katie Fforde, Santa Montefiore and Lucy Dillon – all of whose books I have read – seemed so odd and I kept thinking that a burly security guy was likely to turn up and turf me out at any moment! When we arrived, we were putting our coats in the cloakroom and I suddenly became really nervous about joining everyone upstairs in the swish reception, scared that I would stick out like a sore thumb in a room full of talented people. Thankfully my editor, Sammia, was there to rescue me! She told me that I had every right to be there and that I was now a successful author so I should be proud of the fact. It still seems strange to think of myself as being successful – I think when you spend so long with no success you always have a bit of trouble believing it is real when it finally arrives!

So I’m thrilled to have been chosen as a shortlisted nominee for the award and I’m planning to just relax and enjoy the experience of the Awards Lunch on 16th March (I think I’m more excited about meeting the famous authors there than anything else!)

My second novel, Welcome to My World is finally written and I’ve just started the structural edits for it – more on that next time, suffice to say that I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out!

The other completely brilliant news that I received this week is that Fairytale of New York has just sold over 100,000 copies!!! Although it feels like a lot longer, it’s only been just over three months since Fairytale was published and in that time it’s sold a ridiculous amount of copies and is also going to be published in Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as large print versions and been nominated for an award! A fellow authonomite said to me the other day ‘the dream just keeps on giving for you’ and it’s so true. I never thought I’d sell even 20,000 copies over the three books I’m writing for Avon, let alone just over 100,000 in three months with my first book! It just goes to show that the dream can happen and it was wonderful to hear this week about Terrence O'Neil’s book being discovered on the site. I know there will be more to follow – there’s too much fantastic writing here for it not to!

I know I say it every time, but thank you to everyone who has supported me, bought Fairytale, recommended it to friends or sent me lovely messages. It means the most that the lovely authonomy community has championed me and my work – it’s what makes this place so special!

Miranda xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Oh. My. Giddy. LIFE…

My editor just called me with some phenomenal news – my book, Fairytale of New York, made Number 9 of The Sunday Times Bestseller list!

Excuse me?!I can’t believe it. I’ve only just got my head around seeing my book in shops (I snuck down the books aisle at my local Sainsbury’s yesterday just to see my ‘babies’ on the shelf!) – but this is something else entirely…

On P-Day, Bob and I were trying to work out how many books I was likely to sell, based on the number of people we knew. At a completely optimistic estimate, we figured that I could maybe sell 500 – but even then that amount seemed huge and would have meant everyone we know buying a copy, and I just couldn’t expect to be that lucky. I felt it would be really wrong to expect everyone to buy my book – after all, it’s just my little story that I wrote to entertain myself and my only ambition for it was that more than three people in the world got to read it!!

So you can imagine my shock when I found out last week that Fairytale had sold 5,849 copies in its first three days… I was only just getting over that revelation when I heard about the Sunday Times news today!

People kept telling me that they were having difficulty finding it, but I assumed that was because the shops hadn’t stocked many copies. I realise that sounds daft, given the latest news, but it’s so strange to get my head around all of this!

So, if I’m jabbering, please forgive me – it’s just better than I could have possibly dreamed – and my wildest dreams have already come true with being published.

Thank you so much for all your fantastic support – I know I’ve said it before, but I’m convinced that a massive part of Fairytale’s success is down to wonderful authonomites spreading the word. I appreciate it more than I can find words to convey and I hope that it paves the way for lots more amazing authonomy novels to hit the shelves!

Miranda xx

NOTE FROM AUTHONOMY: since Miranda wrote this, we have found out that Fairytale has sold over 11,000 copies in the last week. Well done Miranda!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I’m finally published – woo-hoo!

After years of dreaming, countless hours of writing and, quite possibly, the craziest year of my life so far, my very first novel has now been unleashed on an unsuspecting world…

P-Day itself was a little bit of a mixed day for me. I’d agreed to take part in an interview for my local BBC Radio station and they asked me not to go to a bookshop to see my book until Friday so that they could ‘capture the moment live on air’. My boyfriend, Bob, said he couldn’t wait, so he went into his local WHSmith, where the assistant said she'd restocked the shelf four times with copies of Fairytale of New York and they had sold out within an hour each time! Meanwhile, throughout the day I was receiving picture messages from incredibly excited friends and family, showing my book on the shelves at Tesco, WHSmith and Sainsbury’s. I think the enormity of the whole thing finally hit me and, to be completely honest, it just all got too much. Not being able to see my book meant that it felt like everyone else was enjoying a party I wasn’t invited to, so I didn’t feel as over the moon as I thought I would.

That said, I received so many wonderful messages, emails and tweets from people all over the world, so this helped me a lot!

Friday was a million times better – not least because I finally got to see my book on the shelves of my favourite bookshop... The day before, I’d received several panicked calls from the researcher at BBC Radio WM as she was having problems finding a Waterstones that actually had a copy of my book in stock! Apparently they had sold out nationally before P-day even arrived! In the end, the lovely people at HC couriered 25 copies to the Birmingham New Street store so that the interview was able to go ahead.

The feeling when I saw my books in my favourite bookshop was beyond description – better than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams. I was struck by just how beautiful they looked and the emotion I felt was immense. At the same time, I was trying to keep it together enough to speak to Cayte, the reporter from Radio WM, who was asking me to describe my reaction – I was determined not to lose the plot completely live on air! What was so lovely was that they had arranged my books on a separate table, so it looked completely amazing and the overall effect took my breath away.

Then, I actually bought a copy of my own book – which was brilliant and fulfilled an ambition I’ve long held. For years, every time Bob and I set foot in the bookshop, I’d say, “One day, my book will be here and I’ll buy a copy,” – so it finally coming true was a momentous occasion. The icing on the cake came when the manageress asked me to sign the copies for them. It felt more than a little naughty to be scribbling my name in 25 brand new books, and I half-expected security to throw me out of the store at any moment!

The interview worked really well and they gave Fairytale a brilliant plug - you can listen to it here (my bit starts at 2:07:48)

On Friday evening, I met up with my closest friends to celebrate the launch of Fairytale of New York. The whole evening was incredibly special – I even had fireworks! (Well, to be honest, my local football club was having its annual fireworks display as we drove past on our way to the restaurant, but it was as good as my own display!)

It's all incredibly exciting and I'm still taking it all in – I think it'll be a while till I get used to all of this! My travel article for The Sunday Telegraph is due to appear on November 22nd and there are lots more things in the pipeline, which you should hear about soon…

I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has so kindly bought my book – I’ve been blown away by the support I’ve received and it means more to me than I could ever hope to convey here. I’ve included a thank-you in my acknowledgements at the front of Fairytale for everyone on and I mean everything I’ve said there – this community is the best ever and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

So for now it’s back down to earth with a bump as I carry on writing Welcome to My World, but the experience of reaching publication has been a truly memorable one and it’s spurred me on to create something special for when P-Day 2010 arrives!

Friday, 30 October 2009

It’s here – at last!

So here it is: my very first novel – all wintry-looking and sparkly and truly amazing! Fairytale of New York is now, after so many years of just being a big Word document on my computer, a real tangible thing.

Like any writer, I dreamed about the day I would receive the first, printed copy of my novel. Being the completely hopeless romantic that I am, the image I always had was something like the scene in Little Women where Jo receives a gorgeous, gold-embossed leather edition of her work… Of course, it didn’t happen like that: in my case it was an innocuous-looking envelope handed to me by a rather gruff FedEx guy, who, when I told him excitedly that it was the very first copy of my debut novel, responded with a non-plussed, ‘Oh, right,’ before beating a hasty retreat… It’s going to sound odd, but I honestly couldn’t open the package for about five minutes… I just sat on my sofa, staring at it. I think I’d always pictured myself ripping open the envelope and screaming, crying, running round the room and generally looking like a completely deranged individual. But when it actually happened, it was a really quiet, beautiful moment. I took this photo as I was opening the package: the whole thing felt so surreal that I wanted to preserve the ‘first-look’ for a time when I was less overawed by it all. For a long time, I just stared at my book – my book – turning it over and over in my hands. The thing that struck me the most straight away was the wonderful ‘new book’ smell – something so familiar to a bookaholic like me, yet so completely strange to be accompanying my words…

That’s another thing: not only does it have my name on it, but it also has my words inside it! Again, a totally obvious thing to say, but it’s a very odd feeling to hold a book in your hands where you know exactly what’s written on every single page. Even when I’ve bought new editions of books I’ve read before, I haven’t been able to say that I know every line of it.

It’s taken me a few days to get my head around it – I finally did the whole jiggly victory dance thing yesterday, actually! I know that when I walk into my favourite bookshop in less than two weeks’ time and see Fairytale on the shelves, that’s when I’m likely to do the whole screaming, jumping up and down, girly crying thing (perhaps someone should warn Waterstones in New Street, Birmingham that a crazy writer is due to descend on them on November 12th!) Bob’s going to come with me (he’s taken the day off work, bless him!), so at least he can smile ruefully at the startled staff and customers and say, ‘It’s OK – she’s just a writer,’ to allay their fears…

A couple of days ago, I started getting emails from friends who had preordered their copies on Amazon, to say that their books had arrived, which was a bit of a shock as I’d assumed all books would be sent out on P-Day, but incredibly exciting nevertheless. The whole prospect of people reading my book fills me with a heady mixture of intense curiosity about what they’ll think of it and complete dread at the thought of my friends and family finally getting to read something that was ‘my little chick-lit story’ for so many years.

Like so often throughout my big scary adventure in publishing, this stage is completely different to the way I’d always envisaged it – but it’s a good different, not a disappointing different! Fairytale has been such a massive part of my life for so long - especially during this year – so reaching the run-up to P-Day feels like a relief in many ways, but also the start of a whole new chapter (pardon the pun) for me. Once my book hits the shelves, the whole process starts again with Welcome to My World – which means that, finally, I will be able to see myself as a ‘proper author’, instead of a completely wide-eyed newbie (although I think I will always feel like that!)

So now the final push starts to P-Day… I’ve written a travel article for The Sunday Telegraph (strange, but true) and have done a couple of interviews for book sites and which should be appearing soon. On Monday, I’m doing an interview for Radio Shropshire – weirdly, from studios in London (go figure!) – and I’ve also been asked to take part in a presentation that the lovely authonomy team are doing (hence me being in London)… There’s more to come – when I find out about it all, I’ll let you know!

One thing I will say is this: never stop dreaming about holding your book in your hands. Like I’ve said a million times before, if it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone. It’s the craziest, most amazing, most surreal feeling and it will take your breath away when it happens, trust me!

Thanks again for all your wonderful support!

Till next time,

Miranda xx

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Promotion, pre-orders and Facebook pages…

Well, November is now getting scarily close and things are happening in Fairytale of New York Land!

The review copies of my book have now been produced and sent off to various places, which is more than a little nerve-wracking, but I’m just trying not to think about that too much. I went to an Orange Prize Reader’s Day a couple of months ago, organised by The Birmingham Book Festival, and several of the authors there said that they don’t read their reviews… I’m not sure whether I will or not – maybe when I’m feeling particularly brave I’ll have a peek!

In this respect (and many others), my experience on Authonomy has stood me in great stead. Reading and responding to other people’s opinions of your work is a tough thing, but having done it here I feel a little bit more prepared for it ‘out there’. I guess the main advantage is that I won’t have to respond to reviewers in the same way we do on this site! (Although they won’t be wanting me to read their books, so maybe they won’t be as prepared to be nice!)

All the promotion stuff is starting now, which is a whole new world for me! It’s odd to hear my editor referring to me as ‘a brand’ – but it makes sense when you think that Avon ultimately want people to buy my book. In my day job, I write food industry reports, so I’m used to reading and writing about the importance of brands – but it’s still incredibly strange to think of me being like a can of beans or a box of cereal on the shelf!

To be completely honest, I’m so glad I get to be the writer in all this: the whole commercial side is a strange beast and there’s a large part of me that feels slightly odd about it. I’m just pleased that my main concern is telling stories, not having to market myself as a writer – I’m happy to leave all that stuff to the lovely people at Avon!

I’ve done a couple of interviews already for two online book sites, together with an interview for Bookarmy, which should be going up soon. There’s also a lot of possibilities for articles in newspapers and magazines, so I’m waiting to find out what turns up!

My friend emailed me last week to say that Fairytale of New York was the fourth highest fiction pre-order on – which was totally crazy news! Thank you so much to everyone who’s pre-ordered my book, it means so much that people here believe in me and your support is appreciated more than you know. Huge thanks as well to everyone who’s been spreading the word about my book – it’s wonderful to feel so supported by you!

Lastly, thanks to Kim ‘Inkycreative’ Curran for setting up a fan page for me on Facebook (how mad is that?!) You can find it here.
It was a real surprise and, to be honest, I’m still getting to grips with it all!

That’s all for now – must get back to writing Welcome to my World, which is going well, if a little slowly. Still, I’ll fire up the decaf and see what happens!

Miranda x

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Are we nearly there, yet?

Well, it’s now just over two months till my very first novel hits the shops on 12th November and I’m starting to get excited about everything – at last! After three edits, two meetings, countless phone conversations with my editor and even one brief appearance in A&E, my book is finished and is now being transformed into page proofs, which I should be receiving next week. I’m really looking forward to this because it will be the first time I’ll see my work looking like an actual printed story, instead of just a rather bulky Word document!

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about the final edit – where my manuscript was looked at by a professional copyeditor. Being a copywriter myself, there was more than a little professional pride at stake and, secretly, I was hoping she wouldn’t find anything that needed working on… Of course, this wasn’t the case, but the lovely Yvonne found some things I’d completely overlooked, so I was incredibly relieved that she did. One of the major issues she spotted was a problem with timing between certain scenes of the book. My original manuscript (still here on authonomy as Coffee At Kowalski’s) was just short of 80,000 words but I’ve expanded it considerably over the three edits to somewhere in the region of 115,000 words, which means that several scenes that were days apart in the original are now separated by a week or so by the new passages.

To my surprise, I found that I actually enjoyed the last edit. I received a hard copy of the manuscript, so it meant I actually had the chance to sit down and read my novel. That might look like a daft thing to write, but the line edits previously had been such an almighty slog that I’d just switched onto autopilot to get the thing done and had neither the time nor the inclination to read it through afterwards. This edit was a million times more relaxed and it was so good to see that all the additions worked well within the narrative. When I got to the end, I had a lovely warm glow again – something it’s been easy to lose during the editing process. I was grinning for a couple of days!

I knew at the beginning of this crazy adventure that it would be a steep learning curve, but I really wasn’t prepared for how much of an emotional rollercoaster it would be. I feel like I’ve learned so much about my writing and about how to respond to criticism – something that initially is crushing to receive when you want to think you’ve got it sussed! I have to say that this is where my experience of being on Authonomy stood me in really good stead: taking on board what other people say about your writing (and learning which bits to ignore!) is a vital skill for the publishing process.

The nicest thing about the end of the final edit was that I was able to write my dedication for the book and also my acknowledgements. These have been buzzing around in my head for months, but I wanted them to be the last thing I wrote – a bit of a treat after all the hard work! I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to mention everyone I wanted to (especially friends on authonomy and the fab community here) – although I was a bit worried that I’d written too much, especially when you read some author thank-yous that are barely three lines long…

So now, all the exciting stuff starts! I’ve already been asked to do an interview and pick my favourite book of 2009 for two chick-lit websites (which was a lot of fun) and there are plans for more things like that soon. It’s all a bit surreal, but makes a nice change from editing!

In the meantime, book two is well underway… The title is going to be Welcome to My World and a preview chapter of it will be included at the back of Fairytale of New York, which I’m really chuffed about. I need to get my skates on with it – the initial manuscript is due to be delivered to Avon this December, so the whole scary, rollercoastery, thrilling adventure can start all over again!

Thanks for all the travel-related recipes you’ve sent me – I could still do with some more, so let me know if you have any!

Miranda x

Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson is out on November the 12th 2009.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Autographs, paparazzi and a very swanky ‘do’

Well, the line edits are finally done and now the excitement can really start!

Whilst the opportunity to work in detail on my book was great – including finding glaring mistakes that had gone unnoticed for at least five years in some places – I would be lying if I said the line edit process was easy. There’s no way of romanticising it: it was flipping hard work!

Imagine a 300-page A4 word document, with comments every few lines and you will have some idea of what the edits entailed. Don’t get me wrong, the work was needed and the result is a novel I’m really proud of, but it was a slog, pure and simple. What made it worse for me was that, coupled with late nights and weekends of editing, I put ridiculous pressure on myself to make every sentence perfect (I’m a copywriter, so it’s unfortunately an occupational hazard!) and was working around my job which, coincidentally, involves hours of editing reports. Towards the end, when I was working silly hours to get the edits done, it was also the hottest weekend of the year, which meant that not only was I not moving for long periods of time sat behind my desk, but I also didn’t get enough water due to the copious amounts of coffee I was consuming to stay awake… The end result is that the day after I’d completed the edits, I ended up in A&E after the whole of the right side of my body swelled up at work! So there I am, sat in a cubicle in a very attractive backless gown (with the legend, ‘For Hospital Use Only’ emblazoned across it – I mean, how likely are you to want to pilfer such an item?) waiting for the doctor to examine me, when a very nice student doctor came in to take a blood sample. We got chatting – the main topic of conversation being, ‘So how come half of you is swollen?’ – and I told her about doing the edits for my book. She got really excited and asked me to sign her notebook! I must say that when I dreamed about being asked for autographs, I never quite pictured the setting being an A&E cubicle, but there you go!

Needless to say, I’m fine now – although still on decaffeinated tea and coffee, which is really tough on the old tastebuds! But I’ve learned my lesson about doing too much, so hopefully next time I’ll be more prepared… In fact, next time I’ll probably take a week off work and go and write on a beach somewhere!!

So, all the exciting stuff has now begun. The first thing was that I was invited to the ├╝ber-swanky HarperCollins Summer Party, held at the V&A in London. Bob and I headed down on the train, with Bob excited at the prospect of a Premier Travel Inn breakfast (we don’t get out much, you see!) and me fretting about what I was going to wear. I made the mistake of Googling the party last year and found a scary list of celebrities and well-known writers who had attended – which did little to help my nerves… Bob wasn’t invited (not that he minded at all – it would be his idea of hell) but very kindly offered to carry my comfy shoes around for three hours while I was at the party. Funnily enough, he actually met more famous people than me because he was waiting by the entrance for me when they all came out – he even chatted with Ciaran Hinds (the actor), who was waiting with comfy shoes for his partner, too!

The funniest thing was walking past the paparazzi photographers on the steps by the entrance - they took one look at me and shook their collective heads: “No, she’s not famous.” Hilarious stuff.

The event was amazing – like the society parties you read about and while it felt incredibly daunting to walk in (especially as it took me about ten minutes to find Sammia, my editor), I actually found I enjoyed myself. I met some really interesting people – including Trisha Ashley, Kitty Neale and the authonomy team, which was fab to finally put faces to names. The nicest thing was that they are so interested about all the discussions going on in the Forum and find it as addictive as we all do! I also met Steven Dunne, whose book The Reaper I had been reading on the train earlier that day. It was great to meet someone else in the same boat as me – and a surprise to meet the friendly, jovial guy from Derby after being scared silly by the creation of his imagination earlier!

I half-expected to be given a tray of champagne to hand round when I got there (“Oh, hello, you must be staff…”) but instead I was handed a badge with ‘Miranda Dickinson – HarperCollins Author’ – and for the first time it started to really sink in that my book is going to be published soon! I think up until now I’ve been too focused on the edits to allow myself to get excited about it, but now I’m starting to feel the thrill about the whole thing. It’s still daunting as anything, but it’s real and a dream come true.

So, after a bit of a break, it’s back to writing Book 2 and it’s lovely to be able to get back to creating again after all that editing. It’s all going well – if you have any food-related travel anecdotes, I’d definitely love to hear them, along with any recommendations for decent decaf coffee!