It’s every novelist’s dream.
You’re in a bookshop. Perhaps you’re looking for a slab of holiday reading, something to keep you entertained while the kids are dive bombing the toddlers in the training pool and your partner is filling his boots at the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.
It has to be something chunky enough to last you the holiday, not so heavy it takes you over the hand luggage limit and you have to leave behind your favourite sequined flip-flops.
The shop has the kind of hush libraries had before they became multi-media centres – you know, when they actually lent books. The air is heavy with the scent of blueberry muffins and artisan hot chocolate (because nowhere that sells books survives these digital days without a cafe tucked behind the cookery section).
Your eye is caught by the table displays, grids of glossy paperbacks shimmering like jewels washed up on golden sands. Your eye drifts over the prism of colours. You know which section is crime fiction without reading the blurb (lots of black, white and orange, sinister silhouettes/dank alleyways, lopsided close-ups of broken dolls/disembodied body parts) and which is the ‘chick-lit’ (pastel green/pink/blue, stylised drawings of cup cakes/stiletto heels and handbags).
Then you spot something familiar. Your heart leaps to your mouth, your pulse rolls a conga beat in your ears. Reaching out, your hand closes around a book, one that you know better than the pattern of moles on your partner’s back. One that was more painful to give birth to than your own melon headed twins.
Not a book you own, a book your wrote. It’s there, on the bestsellers table beside men called Clive and Lee and James and women called Nora and Danielle and J.K.
Your baby rubbing shoulders with giants …
Okay, so I’m guessing if you follow my blog and have the time to read this post this has not happened to you. If you were Clive (Cussler), Lee (Child) or James (Patterson) you wouldn’t waste your time reading my ramblings, you’d be off adding to your millions by writing another book or getting someone else to write it (I’m looking at you, James!).
And if you were Nora (Roberts), Danielle (Steel) or J.K (if you don’t know I’m NOT going to tell you) I’d hope you would have got in touch and given me a helping hand by now, sister.
So assuming you’re not James et al but might like to be on that bestseller table in the future, here’s your chance.
The British newspaper The Daily Mail have joined with Penguin Random House to launch a debut novel competition.
The full terms and conditions (of which there are many) are here, but the main thing many of you will need to know is that they accept any adult genre except sagas, sci-fi or fantasy. And as many of you I know write fantasy/YA and my nearest completed novel is Urban Fantasy, that rules us out. Bummer.
For those of you who do write in a qualifying genre, the closing date is Friday 13th July.
I’m guessing the prize of a £20,000 advance, publication and the services of a top literary agents will attract stiff competition, so polish that manuscript until it glistens my intrepid friends.
Good luck and fair sailing and if you’re successful and your name is shining from that bestseller table in a few year’s time, just remember who put you onto the competition in the first place. I’ll be here waiting.
Could you write a bestseller? Or is your genre much maligned and over looked by huge swathes of the book buying public? Do you even WANT to be the next J.K or is that anathema to you?
Be interesting to hear your thoughts.