Writing Wednesdays: How I got published

I didn't have the most conventional publishing journey, and in this post I share how I went from posting online to being a published YA author.

I know a lot of you will already be familiar with my writing journey – how I went from Wattpad to published author. But for those of you who don’t know, let me tell you the tale…

Once upon a time, there was a mousy sort of girl who hid away in her bedroom with a laptop, like all. The. Time. (Spoiler alert: I’m the mousy girl.)

Honestly, my parents assumed I was on Facebook or something when I was on my laptop. Or I’d call up a document/Internet page so it looked like I was doing homework. Or, I’d just slam my laptop shut. They didn’t really question it too much because they trusted I wasn’t doing anything ~wrong~.

I wrote a lot in secret. I’d write a lot at night. And I only started sharing my writing when I found out about Wattpad.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wattpad, it’s a story-sharing platform, free, where you can share and post writing.

You might also like this post on the pros and cons of publishing online.

It took me a while to work up the courage to post anything on Wattpad. But, I did. And in April 2010, I started posting The Kissing Booth on Wattpad. It got an okay response, so I carried on posting it.

It got an amazing response, in the end. Gradual, and exponential. I couldn’t believe when I was getting thousands of reads, let alone the millions I ended up with.

So The Kissing Booth was published on Wattpad from 2010 for a while. It’s popularity on the site got it noticed by an editor at Random House (now Penguin Random House).

Her name was Lauren. She messaged me privately on Wattpad to explain where she worked and to say they were interested in publishing my book. She gave me an email address to get in touch.

Side note: this was a totally unconventional way of getting published. It hardly ever happens. See this Writing Wednesday post on how traditional publishing works if you’re interested to know more.

And honestly? It was purely by chance I saw that message.

I’m not even kidding – with school being so busy (I was 17, doing A-Levels at this time) I didn’t read all of the messages and comments I was getting on Wattpad. I just happened to click on this one, and I paid attention because it didn’t start ‘OMG’, so I figured it had to be serious.

Anyway, I digress: after totally freaking out, I sent Lauren an email. We had a couple of phone calls, and the next week, my dad and I went to visit them in London, where they gave me a ton of free books and a three-book contract.

I didn’t have a literary agent at this time, and I was also under the impression at the time that the agent was only really a middle man whose purpose in life was to get you the book deal and take some money. 

(This is just so not true. Check out this Writing Wednesdays post on what literary agents actually do here.)

I didn’t really need a literary agent, particularly, either. My dad had worked with contracts before, and it all seemed reasonable. Plus, it was a great (no: THE BEST EVER) opportunity.

And, you know, they’d already given me a load of free books to take home.

After a little back-and-forth, and checking that I wouldn’t be on any deadlines with the publishers because I was still in school, we signed (I was a minor at the time, so my dad had to sign too) and that was that.


Usually, it takes eighteen months between signing a contract and the book being published.

The Kissing Booth came out as an ebook six weeks later.

And, to give you a little summary of what’s happened since then: The Kissing Booth was then published as a paperback in April 2013, followed by Rolling Dice in 2013 and Out of Tune in 2014. In the summer of 2014, I decided to get a literary agent, and signed with Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson. Shortly after that, I was commissioned to write a short story for the Quick Reads program, and my short story for that, Cwtch Me If You Can, was published in March 2015.

Now, I’m writing more stuff, and focusing on my blog and social media over the summer before starting my final year of uni (I’m studying for a BSc in Physics).

You can find out more about all of my published books and Wattpad stories here, and find my books on Amazon here.

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