After getting my first junior novel published nearly two years ago, I felt certain that all would be plain sailing from then on. I had my foot in the door, as they say. It was a rude awakening when I discovered that wasn’t necessarily so – at least, not for fiction. Thankfully my non-fiction work was still going strong, and was indeed more interesting and rewarding than ever.

But still. I’d created a proposal for a five-book fiction series and was sure it was only a matter of time before it found a good home. It was awful when the rejections started coming. I re-read my work again and again, trying to see where I’d gone wrong. I tweaked it here and there. But I still liked it and couldn’t see why it was being rejected. Could I have misjudged the market so badly?

I would have given up if it wasn’t for some feedback I received via the Faber Academy. My work was read by the wonderful Sophie Hamley, who assured me it was merely a matter of finding the right publisher. Someone who liked quirky. She encouraged me to not limit myself to the Australian market, but to approach overseas publishers. I’d never tried that before, and thought it would be too difficult.

sweet cherryActually, it was far easier than I expected. Many publishers in the UK and US refuse to consider unsolicited manuscripts (even more so than here), but there are still some that do. The first  I approached asked me whether I was prepared to turn my five-book proposal into a ten-book proposal. Prepared – yes. Delighted – even more so!

It took a while for the pieces to fall into place, but I’ve just signed a contract with that publisher. Horray! I’m so glad they’re prepared to work with a writer who lives half way around the world. They’ve even agreed to generous deadlines, enabling me to keep writing my non-fiction material. Their name is Sweet Cherry, a British independent publishing house specialising in children’s fiction. I checked out their list before I approached them, and felt an affinity with the types of books they publish. This is really important. It shows our styles are a good match, and that’s something authors should always keep in mind.

So thank goodness for sweet cherries! I much prefer them to sour grapes 🙂


14 thoughts on “Perseverance pays off … here’s proof!

  1. You are so inspirational Stella. Congratulations and well done in branching out into the fiction world.

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you Elizabeth! It means a lot to me coming from such a talented writer 🙂

  2. This is wonderful! Congratulations!

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you 🙂

  3. Vasudha says:


    1. Stella says:

      Thank you – and thanks for your encouragement all the way through the process!

  4. Emma Louise Van Trump says:

    If you need an illustrator…..
    Let me know pls dear.
    Well done. Xx

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you – but the publisher selects the illustrator! Have you illustrated books before? You can send a publisher your portfolio 🙂

  5. Matching your writing and story style with what the publisher already has done is an important key element to success. (Applies equally truthfully for screenwriters approaching the right producer or production company.) And as for overseas publishers even more ‘unsolicited unfriendly’ than local ones – definitely. In London no major or mid-rank publisher wants unsolicited material these days (as I discovered last year).
    Steven Fernandez

    1. Stella says:

      Hi Steven, it’s good to hear from you! Yes, the big London houses don’t want unsolicited material – so I picked a small one in Leicester 🙂

  6. greenspace01 says:

    Well done! Lovely to hear such good news.
    I’ve only just seen the list of all your publications, on your website – what a great range of topics, and for quite varied audiences – very impressive. Congrats on the awards, too.

    1. Stella says:

      Thank you Deborah! It’s good to hear from you. I love being able to write about so many different things – it never gets boring. Hope your writing is going well too!

  7. S.A.Menary says:

    Brilliant Stella and well done from all of us at Faber Writing Academy 🙂

    1. Stella says:

      Thanks Sarah. The encouragement I received from everyone at Faber was marvellous, and stopped me from giving up. I really appreciate it!

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