Publishing through Amazon with the help of a literary agent

A huge congratulations to agency author Kathryn Croft whose mass-market psychological suspense debut,  BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, has just been published on Amazon with the White Glove programme.

In this dark psychological thriller, Olivia Taylor believes she has suffered the worst life can throw at her after the break-up of her marriage.  Full of hope, she starts a new life with her nine-year-old daughter, Ellie, only to find the worst is yet to come.  Meeting Michael Crossman is the beginning of an unspeakable nightmare for Olivia as her world begins to slowly unravel…. 

Behind Closed Doors by Kathryn Croft

Kathryn explains her journey and offers advice to writers:

‘It’s been a long anxiety-ridden and rejection-filled journey to get to this point, but I got here for the following reasons:

1.         I sat at my computer and barely moved until I had written 100,000 words.

2.        I was lucky enough to find a fantastic agent who believed in my novel from the very beginning.

3.        I dreamed a dream and never let it go because I am stubborn!

Whatever your goal is, believe in it, and yourself, and you will make it happen.  I’m not saying it will be easy, and there will be times you want to pack it all in, but the people who achieve their goals are the ones who persevere.  I believe it’s as simple as that!

Let’s hope I can remember my own advice as I continue my journey and try to persuade readers to add my novel to their Amazon baskets!  And maybe then I will call myself an author without feeling like I’m talking about someone else…’

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS has already had 5* review coverage and a fabulous first few weeks of sales! It’s available in paperback and as an ebook on Kindle.

The Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency is excited to explore new digital publishing opportunities for our authors. With the editorial support, cover design and promotional support that we provide, authors can be launched in new and innovative ways. The White Glove platform allows agents to put their authors forward for exclusive book promotions. 


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Exciting Film news for the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency

Working Title options If You're Not the One by Jemma Forte

Jemma Forte’s latest novel IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE has been optioned by Working Title Films.   Frequently compared to ‘SLIDING DOORS’, Jemma’s new novel is for anyone who has ever wondered what life would be like if they’d made different decisions.  Working Title love the concept as it fills their gap for a modern romantic comedy that feels fresh and relevant.

Harlequin / MIRA Books will publish the book in the UK in February 2014.

IF YOU'RE NOT THE ONE by Jemma Forte

Emma Garcia’s debut novel NEVER GOOGLE HEARTBREAK (Hodder) has been optioned by producer Adam Rolston who is currently producing A STREET CAT NAMED BOB (Hodder).

Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

Cally Taylor’s romantic comedy HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (Orion) has been optioned by Brighton-based company Jump Start Productions.  Their latest film, CITY OF DREAMERS, has won 7 international film awards.

Home For Christmas by Cally Taylor

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HAPPY CHRISTMAS from the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency

Danni Bradford

by Danni Bradford

Danni Bradford

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1 day ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.

Writing tips from Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Marcia Moody


Carolyn Jess-Cooke

How to write while caring for young children

I should start with some context: I am a writer. I write novels and poetry, and occasionally I get published. Sometimes people give me awards, too, and I think about going out and celebrating, but then I remember that I have a 1 year old, a 3 year old, a 5 year old, and a 7 year old, and so I make do with inviting my brood to make chocolate cake which invariably gets plastered all over our cream sofa. The question I get asked most is also the question I most want to ask other women who write and also happen to have small people in their care: HOW DO YOU DO IT? Here are a few of my ideas.

One. Get used to writing anywhere, anytime, regardless of what is happening around you.

Two. Unless you suspend all paperwork from the ceiling, you will open your copy-edits one morning to find a beautiful scene of daisies and fairies drawn over many of the pages in yellow and pink felt-tip.

Three. Your daughter will do exactly what you used to do and rise every morning from the age of 7 years old to write. She will ask you when your publisher is going to publish her book, and pinch all your notebooks. And your laptop.

Four. You will find a strange link between doing the dishes and resolving plot issues.

Five. Ironing, too, will somehow become the means by which your characters are coaxed into being.

Six. You will accomplish far more in a single hour than you ever thought possible. What the child-free -you believed took weeks or months to write now takes you – pah! – a day.

Seven. You are more patient with your characters. You find the tendencies you had in the past – to force your characters to acquiesce to the plot you had in mind – fall away. You listen to them. You think about the way they were as toddlers, as young children, what made them who they are.

Eight. You are a ruthless reader. You don’t have time to read as much as you’d like, so if that book hasn’t seized you by the throat by page 10 – pfft. This in turn makes you much more critical of your own work – and mostly in a good way.

Nine. The best of it? You are too busy to have writer’s block. You will always experience periods of doubt, which cripples you and makes writing almost impossible. But for the most part, the words you find yourself saying to your little ones begin to sink in for you too: just a little bit more. Inch it forward. You can do it. Keep going. Don’t stop. I believe in you.

Ten. Don’t stress about the writing. It’s only writing. There are children to be loved and cared for. That’s the big stuff.

The Boy who could see Demons

THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS by Carolyn-Jess Cook, published by Piatkus, is out now.


Marcia Moody

Three steps to making it as a writer

When it comes to wise men, French hens and new episodes of Sherlock, three is indeed the magic number. Perhaps less well-known though, is this trio of tips about making it as a writer…

One. The most intimidating thing in the world is a blank screen, but you can start out by choosing to write on something a bit less scary. Carry a notebook with you so when you have a flash of inspiration you can jot down thoughts about characters or ideas. Napkins and old envelopes work too – but not the back of the hand of the stranger sat next to you.

Two. Take a writing course. Talent and knowledge is a powerful combination, so if you already have the flair for writing, then guidance on structure, self-editing and pitching can make you damn-near irresistible.

Three. Just live your life. A poem I wrote when I was 14 makes me cringe – not just because it includes the line, ‘Rain streaked from your eyes, as tears fell from above us’ – but because I had no idea what I was talking about. It’s important to have lived a little (or a lot) in order for what you’re writing about to connect with the reader. You don’t have to be surfing on tigers or playing Russian roulette with ill-prepared blowfish – it’s more about listening to people, experiencing emotions and noticing what’s going on around you, because what you’re living now could be what you’re writing about this time next year.

Harry by Marcia Moody

Marcia Moody‘s latest book HARRY, an unofficial biography of Prince Harry, is out in March 2014. Her biography of KATE is out now.

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2 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


Janet MacLeod Trotter

Christmas in Kathmandu

The most extraordinary Christmas I ever experienced was in Kathmandu in 1976! As an eighteen-year-old, I had gone overland from London on an antiquated bus that ended up in Nepal after three months on the road. The trip was over but I stayed together with fellow travelers to celebrate. My diary of the time captures my teenage excitement:

When woke, Di gave me and Heidi a little Xmas stocking filled with nuts, sweets, bics and tangerines!  Got up leisurely and had breakfast with Sally and Anders, Heidi and Di at about 11.30!  Sally and Fran gave me a little bead choker and card.  Had porridge at KC’s [a famous back-packers’ café] – all a bit chaotic from the night before – some suffering!

Nipped down to corner shop and bought vodka, spicy nuts and sweets for Di and Heidi and peanut butter for Sally and Fran.  Back to hotel for cocktails in Chris and Nikki’s room again!  Went on till about 3.30!  Great atmosphere – chatted with guy off Contikee – trip where bus rolled  … [the eating and drinking went on all day]

Went for evening stroll with Di round streets – lovely dusk with moon and evening star and mist settling on hills around.  Passed a little band playing drums and pipes and bells – lovely rhythmic beating in the half dark.  Streets busy still (passed shop stacked with coloured glass bangles) …

[then there was a fully blown turkey meal cooked by two of our bus mates and cake at KC’s]

Eventually all lights in other part [of the overlanders’ hotel] went off and waiters went to sleep on floor – so we finally broke up and crept upstairs to bed with pieces of cake!”

MISSING IN BAMIYAN by Janet MacLeod TrotterOver thirty years later the experiences of that overland journey and Christmas in Kathmandu inspired a crime novel.  Just launched on Kindle, MISSING IN BAMIYAN by Janet MacLeod Trotter, is about two people who disappear on the route to India in 1976 – a suicide pact is suspected. But a generation later, the missing woman’s niece sets out to try to discover what really happened.

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3 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.

L.A. Jones

L.A. Jones

I have a confession to make. I sit and talk to people who don’t exist.

And no, I don’t have a mental problem (probably.)

I’m a writer.

If you’re one too then you probably do the same, because often the characters in our books are the closest thing to a social interaction that we get in our daily work lives!

Which is why my number one Christmas tip for other writers, if you haven’t already, is to join a local writing group. I’ve just come from Exeter SCBWI’S annual Christmas meet-up. (A good excuse for a bunch of book-obsessed people to eat, drink and talk writing without watching multiple eyes glazing over.)

And it got me thinking. Christmas is about being able to enjoy the festivities with people that you care about, to relax, to have fun, but also to look back on the year you’ve had, whether it be a good or a bad one, and decide what you can do to make the next year even better.

(Here’s where I talk about new year’s resolutions!) Making the decision to get involved with my local writing group was mine four years ago, and it’s the best thing I could have done for my writing. We meet every month, sometimes more, for word-count competitions and general chit-chat. We vent to each other when we hit a brick wall in our novels, we celebrate each other’s successes, and we help one another prepare manuscripts for submission. Through this group, I’ve met countless other writers who are just as enthused about books and writing as I am, and I’ve also become a member of two critique groups. The support I’ve received from these has been absolutely invaluable. Writing, whether published or unpublished, can be an emotional rollercoaster, and it helps to have friends that truly understand the process, to accompany you on your journey. Not only this, but being part of a critique group has seriously improved my writing and editing skills. The saying, ‘you can’t see the wood through the trees’ has never been more true, as often I can see that there’s something not working in my novel, but I can’t pinpoint what it is. Usually, it’s something so simple, that a critique partner will spot it immediately.

So if you’re not already a member of a writing group, make this your new year’s resolution for 2014. I promise you won’t regret it.

Happy Christmas!

RISE OF THE SHADOWMARES by L.A. Jones, the sequel to her award-winning debut THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY, is out now.

The Rise of the Shadowmares by L.A. Jones

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4 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


Holly Martin

Do you believe?

I love the idea of Santa Claus.  As a child, the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve was often too much to bear, knowing that this great jolly fellow was travelling across the world giving presents to every little girl and boy.  Soon he would be in my house, leaving presents under my tree. It was the stuff of fairy tales; magic, flying reindeer and a sleigh big enough for millions of presents and as children we lapped it up.

I love the lengths parents will go to purely to keep this magic alive for their children. We didn’t have an open chimney when I was younger.  We had some electric fire but that was OK because Santa had a magic key.  We didn’t write letters to Santa, we simply told Mum and Dad what we wanted and they phoned Santa up and placed the order, a little like Argos I imagine.

My Goddaughter writes her letter to Santa every year and throws it up the chimney.  The first year that Megan was old enough to do this, the letter went up the chimney and came back down a few seconds later only to catch fire on the roaring flames.  Megan stared at her letter in dismay as it crumpled in the heat, but her Mum quickly hugged her and told her that the smoke would take the words to Santa.  Of course she accepted it because as a child you trust your parents completely.

But should the belief in magic fade just because we are now older and supposedly wiser?  No absolutely not.  That’s why I love books, because amongst their pages is the ability to transport people to magical worlds with fantastical creatures, to introduce people to rugged heroes and brave heroines, where the impossible is possible and the ordinary is lifted to the extraordinary.  We go on journeys to exotic locations, we make friends and we fall in love with characters more real and tangible than a mythical fat man in a red suit.

THE SENTINEL by Holly MartinHolly Martin‘s YA fantasy novel THE SENTINEL is out now. Her adult romance THE GUESTBOOK will be published on Valentine’s Day next year.

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