There used to be one way only to become a successful author: first get an agent, then land a publishing deal. That was it. Now, there are numerous routes – which can make it both easier and harder to know what to do. In a short series, authors share their fascinating personal journey to publication with me. Today it’s bestseller Lizzie Chantree…
Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
FULL OF THE SUNSHINE & LAUGHTER MISSING FROM MY LIFE
Lizzie says: ‘Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today Barbara.
My journey as a writer began when my youngest daughter became unwell at the age of two. After a year I decided I needed a way to keep myself awake at night, so that I could hear her if she needed me. I grabbed copious amounts of coffee, a bowl of sweets, and set myself up a little desk which looked out over the rooftops and into the fields beyond.
I wrote my first book, Babe Driven, over the next year. I packed it full of the sunshine and laughter that was missing from my life at that time. It helped me to cope with the worry and keep my mind busy, while I listened to the baby monitor. I sent the very rough manuscript to a handful of publishers, all of whom said it wasn’t the right genre for them. I then carefully placed the book in a cupboard for five years.
A SUCCESSFUL SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR
As my daughter’s health improved slightly, I read an article about a successful self-published author and was inspired by the story. I decided to find my book and have it professionally edited. I published it online and without any publicity was surprised when many people began to read it. This book was, and still is, often on the best sellers lists on Amazon. After a year and a further two books published, I decided to approach three publishers with my first book. One offered me a contract straight away and the second expressed an interest a few days later and I had to tell them I had already been offered a contract. After much deliberation, I decided to turn the offer down. I didn’t have the confidence to work with a publisher at that time in my life and I thought it might bring me more stress.
As my daughter grew, her health improved even more. I wrote a new book and approached some publishers. One responded with a contract offer very quickly and we set up a meeting. After the meeting, I knew I would sign the contract, as I felt in a much better place emotionally and was excited to move forward with my new career. I now work with some amazing authors, editors and designers, as well as my publishers, and although things are constantly busy after my first virtual and physical book launches and a new book out in July, I am so happy with my choices.
My daughter proudly tells everyone that she was the catalyst for my career, and she’s right. I am currently writing the sequel to Ninja School Mum, which has been on the best sellers lists on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I also run a networking hour for creatives called #CreativeBizHour on Twitter every Monday night, 8-9pm GMT, which has been trending every week for the last two years, with over 1.7 million timeline views in one hour and about 22 thousand RT’s each week. I work as a creative mentor with a Facebook group for authors and other creatives called Lizzie’s Book Group, where I share any marketing ideas I have and other members give tips and support to the group. Anyone can join! I really can’t wait to get up every day and get on with writing my latest book. I really enjoy travelling around the countryside for inspiration and if there is a coffee shop with a sea view, a slice of cake and a cup of frothy coffee on offer, then you will probably find me sitting with my little green books and scribbling down character traits by the window.
*** What an inspiring post! I so admire the way you’ve combined caring for your daughter with juggling both self- and traditional publishing. Thank you so much, Lizzie, for sharing your publishing journey. Barbara xx ***
Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.
Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.
Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?
When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.
To find out more about Ninja School Mum, click here