Posted in Pitch Wars

My PitchWars Wishlist – Give me ALL THE BOOKS

Click here for a text-only version of my wishlist in a Google doc

What is Pitch Wars?

This year I’m a mentor for Pitch Wars, a fabulous writer mentorship scheme that has helped many writers find agents and publishers. I’ll have the honour of choosing a writer to work with for three months, developing their manuscript to be the best it can be before we present it to agents in the February showcase.


Who am I?

I’m 31, female, and live in London with three cats. I’m debating how soon is too soon to go for a fourth and really cement my path on that ‘old cat lady’ road. 32?

I’m a professional nonfiction writer and editor for a day job. In my spare time I read, write fiction, play PC games, and get bullied by the cats.


I’m represented by Amanda Jain at BookEnds. My first publication was a novella, with a small press, at the end of 2018. My debut novel was released right at the start of the pandemic by Headline, an imprint of Big 5 publisher Hachette. I’ve been through an agency change with my agent. I’ve signed contracts with publishers on two continents. I’ve seen the publishing industry from a lot of angles, and I have ADVICE! 

I do a lot of critiquing and beta reading and I’m mentioned in a couple of books’ acknowledgements, which is one of my proudest achievements.

You can see a short critique from me – of a contemporary romance query and first page – on the Pitch Wars website:

Day 5 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars Mentor Workshops with Anna Kaling

Wishlist Overview

I know you have a tonne of wishlists to get through (though mine is definitely the best, just ignore the others) so let’s get straight into it.

Continue reading “My PitchWars Wishlist – Give me ALL THE BOOKS”

Posted in Book Reviews

August Roundup: What have I been reading?

First let me announce that I’m having computer problems. My A, Q, and 1 keys are working intermittently, so there will be typos in this post. Don’t judge me. Actually, you probably should judge me, because I think the problem is that my keyboard is full of cat hair.

August was a pretty good month in one way – I had a week off work so I read 22 books in the month. But it was a big disappointment in that only one of those books included dinosaurs. I’ll do better next month.

Fortunately for you, patient reader, I have chosen just 14 to review here, and the reviews are short. Let’s face it; nobody reads them anyway.

The Odyssey, Homer – 5/5 lots of blood and sex, sometimes together.


Continue reading “August Roundup: What have I been reading?”

Posted in Writing advice that may or may not be completely wrong

How to Spot a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ Publisher

Writers are warned to beware of “bad” publishers. But how are we supposed to know if a publisher is good or bad?

It’s taken me a long time to learn how to spot the good from bad, so I thought I’d share. Note that my research is focused on publishers of novels rather than poetry, screenplays, etc, which might be very different.

Before we get into that, we need to define what is meant by “good” and “bad.” For purposes of this post:

A good publisher will sell your work to a good number of readers.

What counts as “a good number” will depend on your genre and the form of writing, among much else, so let’s say that means “many orders of magnitude more than you could sell on your own.”

Bad publishers fall into two categories:

Some bad publishers are scammers, who will extract money from you and not sell your book.

Some bad publishers have good intentions but won’t be able to sell your book any better than you could on your own.

Good publishers sell your books in good quantities to readers.

So, how do you tell if a publisher is good or bad?

Continue reading “How to Spot a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ Publisher”