Guiding (Corner)stones along the path to publication!
by Cherry Radford, Cornerstones alumna
Looking at my smiling face on Urbane Publications’ website, I’m sparing a thought for unpublished writers who’d like to stick pins in me. A pitchfork, even. But it might help you to know that my muddy path to publication had some guiding stones along the way – and they were from Cornerstones.
It all started well: I did a writing course with Open College of the Arts, and wrote Men Dancing in six months. I was an author! Until a literary adviser said, well done, but nobody wants to read about a male ballet dancer; write a different novel. Devastated, I incorporated her more helpful points and sent it off to Cornerstones; if they agreed, I was going to drop it.
They didn’t. They thought the idea had, well… legs. There was lots of encouragement, but also plenty of painful but helpful criticism. The next draft attracted interest from two agents. Interest – over half a year – but no contracts, so I lost patience and accepted a ‘conventional’ contract with an indie in Brighton.
Even though I had a publisher, I still came back to Cornerstones for a report on Flamenco Baby, and was once again enlightened and energised by it. I had so much fun with this book – promoting it on radio in Madrid, seeing it sold at the Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival – that I tolerated the publisher’s requests for financial contributions, and the delayed royalties… until they went bust. I transferred to a self-publishing company – who also went bust.
Two years later I went back to Cornerstones with novel three, still hoping to be one of their publishing successes. Another marvellously helpful report, and once again I was referred for possible presentation to agents – but turned down! I still had further changes to make, but finally got that email from the wonderful Urbane Publications!
My advice: Keep tramping that path, keep learning – using those (Corner)stones along the way – and one day you’ll see your face smiling back at you on a publisher’s website!
Cherry Radford’s The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (Urbane Publications) was published on 5th April, 2018.