How I Got My Romance Novel Published, by Julie Shackman

Christmas 2013 was approaching fast. Tinsel and lights were everywhere but my festive cheer had taken another blow. I had just received yet another rejection for my debut contemporary romance novel “Rock My World”. I had received positive comments but ultimately, it was another “Not for us thanks.” I’d been firing it out to agents and publishers for months and although I had received some great feedback, there was no offer of representation or publication.

I remember trailing round the local supermarket the next morning, trying not to frighten small children with my glum expression. The faint strains of “Ding Dong Merrily On High” were crackling through the PA system yet I wasn’t feeling that merry.


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Column by Julie Shackman, who trained as a journalist but writing romance
has always been a dream of hers. When her head isn’t in a book or drafting one,
she writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. ROCK MY WORLD
(Not So Noble Books, Feb. 2014) is her first contemporary romance novel (with
a paranormal twist!). Find for the book on Kindle here, or here for Kindle UK.
Julie is married, and has two sons. She lives in Scotland. Find her on Twitter.



As I bought my newspaper, I spotted the glossy cover of a writing magazine on the next shelf. I dropped it into my trolley and decided to have a read of it when I got home. As I leafed through it later, I came across an article about the London digital publishers Not So Noble Books (NSNB) who were considering new writers, particularly in the romance, crime and thriller genres.

I heaved a sigh. Should I submit to them? Well, what did I have to lose? I tweaked my submission and followed the guidelines of a synopsis and the first three chapters. I duly e-mailed it all off and promptly pushed it to the back of my mind. Several days later, a response popped up from NSNB, saying they had read my first three chapters, enjoyed it and would like to read the full ms.

(The skinny on why to sign with a new/newer literary agent.)


I was pleased but tried to temper my enthusiasm. I had been in this situation before and the last thing I wanted to do, was tempt fate. I immediately e-mailed my full MS back to NSNB and tried to forget about it – again. I filled the intervening time with more reading, writing and trying to prepare for the festive season. It was now the beginning of December 2013 and the thoughts of Christmas shopping were preoccupying me – probably a good thing.

About three weeks had elapsed now since NSNB had asked for my full ms. It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was busy dealing with the kids and the post- apocalyptic chaos that accompanies my two sons on arriving home from school. I had managed to haul myself away from the PC for a while and ambled back into the room.


I noticed there was a new e-mail in my in-box and as I drew closer, read that it was from NSNB. I clicked on it, expecting to read the normal, polite refusal. Instead, I read the words “…..would like to offer you a publishing contract” and I remember hyperventilating. Then I gabbled a lot of nonsense at my eldest son and asked him to read the e-mail to ensure I hadn’t just imagined it!

(How do you use online social-media websites to sell books and many money?)

I spent the following half an hour re-reading the e-mail over every ten seconds. Fast forward another 24 hours or so and NSNB had sent me my contract, which I signed with a massive and relieved grin on my face.

I know it’s easy to look back and be wise after the event but I’m so glad I didn’t give up. There were numerous occasions when I felt like doing just that. But reading other writers success stories is such a boost.

I read once that “Published authors are unpublished authors who never gave up” and this helped me to keep going. I hope you keep writing, too – and Good Luck!

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