Posts Tagged Ruby Fiction
Posted by Sally Jenkins in Lifestyle, Resources, Writing on March 28, 2023
The editing of Little Museum of Hope is now complete. It is winging its way off to be proof read. Hurrah!
Sarah, my Ruby Fiction editor, was full of wise advice and suggestions to improve the overall story arc and pace. She also has eagle eyes that spotted several inconsistencies in the manuscript, such as ages of characters which didn’t tie in with the music I’d mentioned, plus I had someone being 22 in 1981 and 50 in the present day. And I spotted an engagement ring change from sapphire to diamond half way through a chapter. This has taught me that going forward I need to be rigorous in keeping a detailed timeline and lots of notes for each protagonist. Every day is a school day, as they say!
I’ve also been learning about Instagram. You can now find me on there as @sallyjenkinsuk. I don’t have many posts to my name yet but will get more familiar with the platform eventually. If you’re an ‘Insta’ person please drop by and say ‘Hello’.
Since I last posted I’ve also had a big ‘0’ birthday which involved family, gin, a weekend away in Chester with two schoolfriends both hitting the same age (obviously) and prosecco. This leads me to: Never think you are too old to write a novel or to be published: through all the ups and downs of my writing career I’ve never specifically been asked my date of birth or how old I am. But, if you meet me in the flesh, my face might give the game away!
Finally, I spotted a great blog post from Kobo Writing Life on writing a fast first draft. I like to get the first draft completed as fast as possible so that I know the whole story and can then go back and flesh out/delete/change as required. But writing 60 – 90,000 words is never quick. One piece of advice in the blog is to write the whole novel in bullet points in order to get the complete structure down on paper while it’s in your head and without getting bogged down in description, dialogue and all the other minutiae. I am very tempted to try this next time I start a new project.
What do you think, will it work?
Little Museum of Hope – Cover Reveal!
Posted by Sally Jenkins in Promotion, Successes on February 22, 2023
I can hardly believe that Little Museum of Hope now has an actual cover (isn’t it beautiful?) and a pre-order link. This book has been a decade in the making and now it’s becoming a reality!
Around 10 years ago I read a newspaper article about The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. Its website describes the sole purpose of this museum as ‘treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. It is a museum about you, about us, about the ways we love and lose.’ This sparked my imagination and I decided to write a series of linked short stories based on a fictional version of this museum.
For a short time, I dabbled in self-publishing these stories on Kindle. The first was ‘Maxine’s Story’ about a teenager who has an unplanned pregnancy. The story went through various rewrites and became one of the six stories shortlisted for The 2016 Just Write Creative Writing Competition organized by Writing Magazine and John Murray Press. The prize was a rooftop reception at the London offices of the publisher Hachette. As well as the other shortlisted authors, there were several industry professionals present at the reception and a conversation I had with a representative of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy made me realise that these stories, about individual donors to the museum, could be woven together as a novel.
Creating a novel from short stories was more difficult than I expected because it needed an additional storyline or two which could run through the whole of the novel, thus binding it together. There were several stumbling blocks along the way but I stuck with it because I was convinced that the concept was strong. In 2017 the novel gained an agent’s attention in a Twitter pitching competition and I was given feedback on the whole manuscript. I edited the novel following this advice but the agent decided not to take it further.
In 2018 I was signed by a different agent on the strength of the novel. Together we did more editing but it failed to sell to any of the large publishers. Last year I decided to independently submit to smaller publishers and I was delighted when the ‘tasting panel’ at Ruby Fiction enjoyed Little Museum of Hope – I had finally found a publisher for the book.
Over the past few weeks there have been structural edits to hone the story for the readership of Ruby Fiction – mainly to add in some additional ‘bright spots’, in order to provide light relief from the emotional stories which the donors bring to the museum. There will be more work to come before the publication date of 25th April 2023. But today I’m sitting back and enjoying the satisfaction of seeing something that’s been brewing for ten years take its first faltering steps in the big wide world – and I’m really glad I didn’t give up at the first hurdle!
Little Museum of Hope is now available to preorder and will then be automatically delivered to you on 25th April. Fingers crossed that you think it’s worth the ten year gestation period!
A Book Contract!
Posted by Sally Jenkins in Successes on November 8, 2022
Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve had an up and down journey over the past few years in my quest to see my commercial women’s fiction novels published. You can read about some of it here and here.
Now, finally, some good news: I have signed a 3-book contract with Ruby Fiction and the first book (provisionally titled The Museum of Hope, but that might change) will be out sometime next year. Ruby Fiction is the sister imprint of Choc Lit, which publishes stories with romance at the heart. Ruby Fiction publishes women’s fiction such as thrillers, saga, mystery, chick lit, historical, fantasy, etc.
Ruby Fiction and Choc Lit are different from most publishers because all submitted manuscripts are reviewed, in the first instance, by their Tasting Panel who are genuine readers. I was overjoyed when I was told that The Museum of Hope had done well with the panel and the readers felt it was a unique story.
I have been made very welcome by my fellow Ruby & Choc Lit authors within their private Facebook Group and am now looking forward to working with Ruby’s editors and sharing the finished books with you!
And a reminder: if you’re looking for Christmas stocking fillers or secret-santa presents, my latest short story collection, Hit or Miss, is now available in paperback, on Kindle and on Kobo.
Challenge yourself! Which of these short stories were competition or magazine hits and which failed to land on the right editor’s desk at the right time?