Your Roadmap to Publication

Hello there and welcome to my little freebie – your roadmap to publication.

It’s small but hopefully helpful. I want to give you clarity on the steps you need to take to get your book written and published. I also want you to feel the excitement and spark that will help you keep going when it gets difficult.

So you want to be a writer?

Or maybe you already are?

If you want to write, chances are you’ve started writing a book or a blog, or written some poems, or articles for a magazine.

Most authors have the itch to write for a long time before they do. Maybe this is a childhood dream and you don’t know if you can make it happen, or maybe it’s something you’d love to do that feels just out of reach.

I can tell you that you can do it, and you should do it. Itches only go away if we scratch them, after all.

Genre sure or genre hopper?

I hop all over the place, and it’s not ideal! If you want to write for the pure fun of it, then write whatever takes you fancy on whatever given day, but the best advice if you want to make a career out of writing is to pick a lane and stick in it. I know you get outliers like Nora Roberts or J.K Rowling, but at the start, everything is easier if you pick a genre and stick to it. Learn from my mistakes!

Which genre then?

The one you love to read is usually the answer, but it’s really the one that you won’t get fed up with. I have written children’s books, fantasy, romance, and now I’m trying thrillers. Like I said – learn from my mistakes. It’s so much easier to brand yourself as an author if you write in one genre consistently. That’s not to say you can’t break the rules. That’s what they’re there for, after all.

What about non-fiction?

If you want to write a non-fiction book that you think could be traditionally published, you need to research the publisher and what they’re looking for. Most publishers would want a pitch for non-fiction, but they’re not likely to want to publish anything from anyone who doesn’t have a platform. Non-fiction published by traditional publishers tends to be by someone who already has a name for themselves – think of all the Bake Off stars who write cookbooks, or reality stars who write their memoirs.

Not that it should stop you – if you’ve got something to say, now is the time to say it! Authors can reach their readers like never before.

If you run a business or you’re a coach and feel like a book would be a great addition to your business, then self publishing and print on demand publishing is your friend.

You can write what you like, print it off and sell it or give it to your customers.

How long is a piece of string?

How long should your novel be? This helps you decide how much time it’s going to take you to write it.

You can google word counts until the cows come home, but how many words does it take to tell your story? That’s what we want to focus on.

Caveat – if you want to be traditionally published, then you need to take more notice of word count. Novellas are usually classed as 40, 000 words or fewer. Novels tend to be 75, 000 plus for publishers. If you want to query an agent and a publisher, head to their websites and research.

Self publishers can decide on their own word count – but remember, editor’s costs will be higher if your book is longer. So much to think about!


The one thing we can’t get more of it, but do you actually know how much of it you need?

This tip came from the author, Sarra Cannon, but when you think about it, it’s a no brainer.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and write. Can you write 300 words or 500 words? My 20 minute word count ranges from 600 to 850 now, depending how easily the words are flowing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a slow write, but it helps you to figure out how much writing time you need.

If you’re aiming for an 80, 000 word novel and you write 500 words in 20 minutes, then you can write 1500 words in an hour, which means you need just under 54 hours to write your book.

Easy, right?

Making time

This is so personal that nobody can figure it out but you. Can you spare an hour every morning, or every evening? Can you write for three hours on a Sunday morning? Can you write on the train? All the words add up, but you have to make space for them.

Nobody ever wrote a book by accident!

Fighting self doubt

At some point during your writing and publication journey self doubt will rear its ugly head. Maybe more than once.

And when it does, be ready to say, not today!

Confidence can be hard won and fleeting, but your determination has to be constant. You can do this. You will do this. We can apply ourselves to anything – remember learning to walk, or maybe learning to drive? It was hard at first but then you got it.

Writing a book that you want to put out into the world to be read – and judged – might be the scariest thing you ever do, but if we don’t face our fears and test ourselves, where’s the fun in that?

Pantsing or plotting?

The age old question that haunts all authors. There is no one way to write a novel, like there is no one way to skin a cat – apparently. I’ve never tried.

Pantsers (fly by the seat of your pants) fly by the seat of the pants. You’ll have a vague idea or your story, the beginning, the end, some little twists and turns you want to throw in, but you let the story lead.

Plotters, plot! They write down each scene, each chapter, each beat.

Again, this is too personal for anybody to figure out but you.

I’m a pantser and I like it.

But if you google story plot, you’ll find plenty of help and advice – three act structure, story beats, there are loads of ways to plot a novel and you’ll find the one that’s right for you. Or jiggle an existing framework around to suit yourself.

But there is no right or wrong way to do it. Do what works!

And then what?

After writing a book comes the fun of publishing it. There are three options.

Self publish

If you self publish, you meet the costs and find and hire your own editor, your own cover designer, your own formatter if required. Then you upload the entire thing to the various online publishers.


A hybrid publisher will have in-house editors, cover designers, formatters. They save you the job of sourcing all the different things and, of course, you pay them for those services. As long as you can’t get those services yourself for cheaper – then it’s a one-stop shop for all your publishing needs.


There are two options here. Plenty of digital only or digital first companies – like Bookouture, Avon, Joffe books – accept ‘unsolicited’ submissions. These are submissions directly from the author to the publisher — something that we couldn’t; do for a long time.

The other option if you’re looking for a traditional publisher is to query agents. It’s pure misery, but it has to be done! This takes work — lots of research. Each publishing house will require a different approach. A query letter, a synopsis, and the required number of chapters are usually a must for all publishers, but they will have specific instructions and it would be daft not to follow them.

Beware vanity publishers

Other authors will always tell you that money flows to the author and not to the publisher, but this isn’t strictly true (as long as you aren’t paying a hybrid publisher more than you could get it for yourself. Remember, you’re paying them to do the work for you, so they have to make money too, but we’re not talking thousands and thousands more than it should cost you to source the help yourself)

You should check Writer Beware before you sign anything or send anybody money. There are publishers who charge exorbitant amounts for not much work. Please check that you aren’t signing away your rights for the pleasure of giving someone tens of thousands of pounds!

That’s it in a nutshell. The long and short of writing and publishing a book.

There is more information available online on all the topics I have covered, but for those of you who would prefer a little handholding (metaphorical, not literal) and cheerleading – definitely literal, that is where I come in.

I’m an author and have over 15 books published. I make money from my books. I have messages from readers about my books. I even had a mum name her newborn daughter after one of my characters.

I know how hard it is to write a book and publish it. I know the pitfalls, and I know how to steer someone through the maze of writing and publishing.

I have two services that I offer, both available after an initial consultation.

Initial consultation: £75

1. fledgling package - £360 in total / £60 a week

6 weeks

This is for new authors, who need the maximum handholding and support.

Weekly face to face meeting – an hour each, followed by email with action points.

Whatsapp / messenger support between meetings to guide, nudge, encourage.

Continuing support after the 6 weeks at £50 an hour

2. flourishing package - £360 in total / £60 a month

6 months

This is for authors who are further ahead in their careers and don’t need as much guidance.

Monthly face to face meeting – an hour each, followed by email with action points.

Whatsapp / messenger support between meetings to guide, nudge, encourage.

Continuing support after the 6 months at £50 an hour

Email: [email protected] to book your consultation or your package