Category Archives: Award

Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency digital bestsellers

SOULMATES by Holly BourneWinter Wonderland by Belinda Jones  Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt 

Belinda Jones has had great digital success with her latest novel WINTER WONDERLAND (Hodder), and has been selected for Kindle’s Romance daily deal today.  Download this wonderful Christmas story for a reduced price of 99p only.

Winter Wonderland Kindle daily deal

Congratulations to Holly Bourne whose YA debut SOULMATES (Usborne) has been selected for the Best Teen Fiction Category in iBooks Best of 2013!

Showcasing picks chosen by the iTunes Editorial team, this feature celebrates the year’s best novels, short stories, nonfiction, and more.

Best of 2013 children's fiction SOULMATES

Mel Sherratt’s revamped edition of TAUNTING THE DEAD (Amazon / Thomas & Mercer) went straight into the top 10 Amazon Kindle charts again: No.1 in Police procedurals, No.1 Crime, No.1 International mysteries and No.1 British detective.

Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt


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20 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.


Karen Ross

So this time last year, my chance of getting a book deal seemed only a little less likely than the prospect of waking up on Christmas Day to discover Ryan Gosling gift-wrapped at the end of my bed.

December 25th came and went. The closest I got to Mr Gosling was a DVD of Crazy, Stupid, Love.  And as for that book deal . . .

. . . But I DID have a book:  written, revised and parked on the hard drive of my computer.  I thought it was quite good, although the publishing industry seemed mysteriously to disagree.  I heard many sob stories about ‘publishing in turmoil’.  I was warned, ‘All the really good literary agents get three hundred queries a week – and take on about four clients a year.’  I was advised,  ‘Self-publish and hope to make a splash’.

But then I discovered there’s another way for a writer to get noticed. 

Actually, the whole thing was an accident.  I was playing around on Twitter instead of, er, working, and I happened to see a Tweet about a writing competition.  What appealed to me about this particular contest was that the deadline was the following day – and there was a prize of £1,000.

Before anyone could say, ‘You’re supposed to be writing a thousand words today’,  (if only my dog could talk, perhaps I would become the prolific writer I aspire to become) I observed myself responding to the deadline.

First three chapters:  PRINT

Synopsis:  PRINT

Application Form:  PRINT


And that was how I came to enter the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2013.

You’ll be thinking I won the Competition, right?


I made it as far as the shortlist – a lot further than I had ever hoped for – and after the prize-giving dinner, I discovered someone had gone home wearing my coat. . . which contained my house keys. . . which led to a Night To Remember. . . which is a whole different story. . .

. . . And that was the end of that.

Except it turned out to be just the beginning.  Within the space of six weeks, I had acquired an agent and a book deal.  Put simply, the Competition increased my visibility within the publishing industry and jump-started the writing career I’d been chasing for longer than I’d spent believing in Father Christmas.

Your turn next?

 There are dozens of competitions for writers.  I just had a quick Google and discovered there’s currently a £50,000 publishing deal on offer, open to anyone who has never been published or self-published.

Of course, I thoroughly recommend the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2014.  Or if you’re up for a spot of razzle-dazzle, take a look at Bookstar 2014 – ‘the world’s first talent show for writers’ – where finalists will get to stand on stage, and read the opening of their book to a panel of judges.

Talking of which, here’s my top writing tip:  Always read your work out loud.  I find that every time I stumble, or fluff a line, it’s because I’ve written a clumsy sentence.

How will next year turn out?  If you’d like to find out what happens to me and my book,  I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter @ComedyKaren.  I’d love to hear from you – especially if I’ve inspired you to get competitive in 2014.

Karen Ross was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2013. Her debut novel MOTHER OF THE YEAR will be published by Ebury Press in February 2014. 

Mother of the Year by Karen Ross

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Filed under advice, agent, author, Award, Competition, publication, Self-publishing, women's fiction

Northern Writers’ Award Winner: Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Winner: Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Author of THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, has won a Northern Writers’ Award for the second time.  The Agency is ecstatic with her success, especially as this year the award was opened up to the whole of the north of England.

Carolyn won the same award in 2008 for her début poetry collection INROADS.  This year, she won the award for her second collection, and says she felt honoured to be among such great winners.  It is telling that two of them were her former students.

The Bookseller reports the award ceremony in depth.

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