The birth of Notes from the Slushpile in 2004 marks the moment when I became serious about getting published.
I decided to go about learning the business of children's publishing in the same way I used to research and write articles when I was a full time journalist. I attended talks, networking opportunities, conferences - and I wrote out reports on them. At first, my reports were dry and dusty ... but I noticed that the more I allowed my personality to creep into my blog posts, the higher my stats went.
At its peak in 2008-2009, Notes from the Slushpile clocked up 2,500 visits daily!
In May 2010, technical changes to Blogger forced the blog to move from its notesfromtheslushpile.co.uk address to the current blogspot address.
It was a huge blow to the blog because the move broke all links to Notes from the Slushpile, internet wide. I had to start again.
PLUS I had finally got a book deal (that's six years of blogging, nine years of trying to get published). Alas, the Blogger move meant I lost my audience exactly at the point when I should have been maxing out the publicity for my debut novel Tall Story.
I had one additional problem: until I had a novel, I was happy writing for an audience of fellow writers. Suddenly, I had readers. They wanted to know why I was writing this blog they had no interest in.
So I launched a new blog for the readers of Tall Story - CandyGourlay.blogspot.com.
But what to do with Notes from the Slushpile? After all these years, I couldn't just junk it ... even though I wasn't on the slush anymore.
My solution: turn Notes from the Slushpile into a magazine.
There must be a lot of writers out there who can blog about their journeys, sharing tips with other wannabe authors, and who could use Notes from the Slushpile's six year rep to build their own audiences. After all, one of the questions commissioning editors (apparently) have begun asking potential authors is: "Have you got a platform?"
To start the process, I recruited the very prolific and competent Teri Terry to become co-blogger, with the objective of building a blogging team over time. We have now been joined by Maureen Lynas, Addy Farmer and Jo Wyton. We try to blog on Mondays and Thursdays unless we're too busy or lazy or both. When the article is pressed for time we will blog on other days too!
Notes from the Slushpile is now open to contributions. All the better to share the agony - and the ecstasy - of trying to get published.
If you are a children's author - aspiring or not - with an idea for a blog post, a way with words, lots of humour, and wisdom ... pitch it to teri.terry AT ymail.com or Candy on mumatwork AT blueyonder.co.uk ... or any of the others if you can message them on Facebook. Do check out our stylebook for tips on how to max your chances!