Last year, My Book Corner invited me to publish a guest post about my up and down journey to publication.
A few people have very kindly contacted me to ask what has happened since then so, with thanks to them for their interest and to My Book Corner for their tolerance, and as Gangster School hits the shelves in the UK, I’ve written a brief update.
The first thing is that I’ve been amazed at how quickly things have progressed with my UK publishers, ZunTold. I signed with them in November and only six months later, my book is about to be released. I’ve been involved in everything and it has been a revelation and a joy. What I especially enjoyed was being able to influence the book’s cover. ZunTold’s designer, the brilliant Isla Bousfield-Donohoe (@squgcreative), sent me half a dozen pencil drawings of potential covers and picking and then tweaking the final one was very much a collaborative effort. I’m delighted with the result and can’t wait to share the cover of Gangster School 2, which comes out in the autumn. It’s wonderful – quite possibly my favourite so far!
Being part of a small (at the moment) indie publisher means that I have regular personal contact with Elaine, the owner of ZunTold. As a new author this is very much appreciated and I try not to take advantage and inundate Elaine with emails and messages. I’m not sure how far I succeed – maybe I’m not the right person to ask. I recently went to Manchester to take part in a photoshoot and do some other publicity stuff and to meet another ZunTold author, the amazing Ruth Estevez. It was a lovely day and I went home feeling that I was very lucky to be part of such a great team.
These past few months have been busy and are getting even busier. I have articles to write for my book blog tour (something I’d never heard of until a few months ago) and material to prepare for school visits on top of continuing to write Gangster School stories. I also have another book on a very different subject that I need to edit. So I’ve become quite adept at juggling my time, although I have to admit that without the aid of post it notes and copious notebooks and a modicum of self-discipline, I’d be lost. Sometimes I find this a frustrating. I’m a writer. A children’s writer. All I want to do is – you’ve guessed it – write for children. I had a vague idea about offering a mentoring service once Gangster School is safely launched in the UK, but at present I just don’t see how I could fit it in. But it’s all part of being a 21st century writer and I’m not complaining.
Other good things have happened this year. A wonderful Dutch publisher – Uitgeverij Holland – read my original post here, on My Book Corner, and tracked me down on LinkedIn.
I recently signed a contract with them and they’re bringing out Gangster School 1 in August. And then a fab agent, who was a friend anyway, offered to represent me. It’s all good stuff. Brilliant stuff. And I never stop reminding myself of how lucky I’ve been.
Sometimes, friends ask me if I’ve made lots of money. The friends who ask me this are non-writers. If any writers read this, they’ll know that we don’t write for the limitless riches we’ll garner.
We write because it’s in our blood and our bones and if we can make a living from it, that’s a wonderful, exceptional bonus.
Looking back at my journey over the past few years, I can see that there have been highs and lows. At the moment I’m on a high. Nine months ago I was in a definite trough. I’m just glad that I didn’t stop believing in Gangster School. I’m glad I kept the faith. I was going to write that it would have been easy to give up, but it wouldn’t be true. I couldn’t give up. Can’t give up.
Writing is what I do, irrespective of the high points and low points. End of story.
Congratulations Kate! Gangster School is a wonderfully funny and quirky adventure novel with great lead characters and plenty of unexpected twists. Follow Kate Wiseman, on her #GangsterSchool tour during this week and next week.