Writing a middle grade manuscript

by | Sep 5, 2016

Writing a book - Nikki Young Writes

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I have exciting news from Nikki Young Writes and I’ve been bursting to share it.

My first book is going to be published soon!

Many of you who follow this blog will know I spent a lot of last year working on my young adult manuscript. I finished a second draft and decided that it wasn’t quite right, so needing to have a re-think, I put it to one side for a while.

Like any job, learning your craft as a writer requires on the job training. My YA story has been a bit like that for me and I have a love-hate relationship with it. What happened though, was that whilst giving myself some time off from that project, I went back and finished a middle grade story I’d started previously.

I introduced you to this story in a post I wrote back in April. Right after I finished the story and had done as much editing as I could, I saw a post on the Kent Nanowrimo Facebook group from an author who said her editor was going freelance and did anyone want her number. The editor came highly recommended from this well-respected and successful author, so I contacted her for the details.

Having spent time working on the manuscript with my editor, I now feel it’s ready to be published.

Like any aspiring author, I’ve gone back and forth with wondering what to do next. Do I send to agents? Do I go direct to a publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts? Do I self-publish?

The answer was clearer to me this year than it has been at any other point of my writing career. Self publishing is the way to go for me.

Do you want to know why?

There are a number of reasons actually. Turning forty is one of them. Call it a mid-life crisis or whatever you like, I’m not even sure myself, but I do know it’s made me feel that I’m not getting any younger. I also know that I have more of a sense of my own mortality than I ever had before.

I don’t think I feel this way just because I turned forty. I also think it is down to events this year – the increase threat from terrorist attacks, the shooting of MP Jo Cox in a village near my home town – so many lives lost for nothing. And I’m sorry if that makes me appear morbid, but it’s been an unsettling year and it’s made me realise life is for living and you have to go out and do the things you want to do whilst you’re on this earth.

Here is my dream: to be a published author. Do I want to fulfil my dream? You bet I do. Do I want to wait around whilst my story sits on various slush piles? No I don’t.

I’m going to make this dream a reality and that’s why I chose to self-publish.

It wasn’t the story I’d imagined would be my first to publication, but everything just seemed to fall in to place with it, which is why I’ve had the confidence to go it alone. It’s a good story – a mystery, with a fun side, but also a little bit of darkness. Plus, it’s a tale of overcoming a difficulty and I can’t wait to get it out into the big wide world. I must admit, I’m also a little bit terrified too, but you have to face your fears don’t you?

Keep in touch and I’ll let you know how it’s all progressing. In the meantime, here’s the blurb:

“Have you ever had something lucky?
A pair of trainers that helped you run faster, a pen that made you have the best ideas, a hat that every time you wore it, you won at chess?
Well I have my lucky underpants.
At least I did until they went missing.
Right when I needed them most.”

When Harry and James form a secret agency for the summer, their first task is to investigate the disappearance of Harry’s lucky underpants and to prevent nosey neighbour, Stacey, from interfering in their business. Fun and spy tricks soon turn more serious though, when a mysterious couple move in to the old house on their street. Harry and James join forces with Stacey and together they uncover the mystery of what is going on at number 35, with some surprising consequences. But will Harry find his lucky underpants?


Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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  1. Jo Winwood

    Hooray! Such lovely news to spur us all on. And on a Monday morning too! I wish you the best of luck wth your book and the manuscript that needs some love too.

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks Jo. It is a bit glum today isn’t it?!

  2. Rebecca Ann Smith

    Love the sound of this book. I can imagine it appealing to lots of young readers. Good luck with it.

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks. Hopefully (fingers crossed and all that!)

  3. Marija Smits

    You sound very positive and enthusiastic about your decision to self-publish, Nikki, which is great! The book sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂
    Funnily enough, I’m thinking about publishing a book in the not-too-distant future too, but I’m thinking of going the opposite way – finding a traditional (or indie) publisher. And strangely, I feel much more patient about it all than I used to do. That’s probably because I’ve got several submissions out there which I’ve been waiting to hear back about for months and months. But somehow time seems to pass so much more quickly than when I was younger that those months spent waiting don’t seem too bad! [Yes, I’m a bit strange like that… 😉 ]

    • Nicola Young

      I am now I’ve made the decision. Once I know what I’m going to do, there’s no turning back for me.

  4. Carie

    Oh how wonderfully exciting! It’s a great big leap of faith and That’s awesome:)

  5. maddy@writingbubble

    This is brilliant news! So exciting! Love the blurb – will buy the book (of course) as it sounds just up my older two boys’ street (and I want to read it myself!).Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks Maddy. It feels good to make a decision and get on with things, if that makes sense.

  6. suz

    Congratulations on deciding to join the Indies. The blurb sounds great fun. Will look forward to more details of the publication date.

  7. turningupindevon

    That’s really awesome, congratulations. I totally understand what you mean about wanting to crack on and get your manuscript published. My children are 7 and 9 years old if you need any children’s reviews! (DM me on twitter if so). All the best, and I’ll look out for your updates.

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks. I would love that. Will let you know.

  8. sophieblovett

    How exciting! It is such a dilemma knowing which way to go with it all, but you have some good solid reasons for your choice – and lots of enthusiasm which is the main thing ? I love your blurb too! Sounds like a really fab story. Good luck!!! Xx

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks. Enthusiasm required by the bucket load I expect!

  9. Jude

    How exciting. I can totally relate to your decision to self publish. I am turning 40 this year and it really ignites a sense of urgency doesn’t it? Go for it! #whatimwriting

    • Nicola Young

      It does but this year’s events have brought a lot of things into context, not just that I’m old!

  10. Tracey Bowden

    Brilliant! I love that you have decided to self publish with this book its sounds so fun! I hope I make it to that point soon too #whatimwriting

    • Nicola Young

      Great. Look forward to hearing your progress too.

  11. Reneé Davis Author

    Brilliant decision Nicola, really looking forward to hearing when the book will be on sale. LOVED the blurb too 🙂

  12. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Oh well done Nicola, on taking this big decision. I am all about chasing those dreams and actually making them happen. The blurb, sounds great, just what my girls would love to read. How exciting! xx



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