But while Catherine found success with her book The Golden Acorn, it was not an easy route to follow.
Writing and Editing the Story
Like many prospective authors, Catherine found that getting the initial story down on paper was not too difficult, but when it came to editing things started to get a little more difficult.
“Writing’s the easy bit but editing is the hard bit,” she said. “The Golden Acorn started at 85,000 words and came down to 67,000 words by the time it was finished. When you first start and you write a book that’s when it just begins.”
She said one important aspect which helped her to improve her writing and complete the book was having a good team of proofreaders around her. She said: “You’ve got to understand what people are saying to you and act on it when you want to improve your writing. I sent it to readers and one of them sent me a 19 page document and it made it a better book.”
The Difficulties of Finding a Publisher
As with many new authors, Catherine then had to find a publisher for her book – a process she described as “the most difficult thing on earth”.
“When I’d had the book reviewed the second time I sent it to every agent and publisher I could find and none of them were taking anyone on,” she said.
“And then my husband and I decided that we would become Pengridion Books and to publish it ourselves. It was done en masse. That was the way we did it and I was told it was very hard for a self-published author to sell more than 100 books, because a lot of those go out to family and friends.
“This was probably in August 2009, and I sold 500 copies before Christmas. Then I set myself the target of 1,500 by the following summer, so in the year I managed to sell 1,500, which I understand is incredibly good for a self-published author.”
Following her success with the self-published version of the book, Catherine decided to enter the Brit Writers’ Awards 2010 for unpublished writers, and scooped the top honours in the children’s and the overall best book categories.
She said: “Comments I’ve received have been phenomenal. We get stopped in Morrisons and mothers told me that I’ve got their child reading. I go into schools to talk about writing, and we’ve been running a competition with the second book in the series and a little girl in Norway won. “It’s brilliant. It’s wonderful. When a mum, dad, nan or grandad comes and says we really enjoyed the book that’s what I wanted because I wanted something that people could really enjoy. I wanted a book that anyone could pick up and enjoy.”