Natalie Kleinman shares her experience of graduating from the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme.
I considered myself very lucky when I was accepted into the RNA New Writers Scheme in January 2013 at my first time of trying. The discipline of the end of August deadline made sure I finished on time and the knowledge my novel would be scrutinised by other writers seemed far more daunting than submitting to a publisher. I lost count of the number of edits – there were many – before I parcelled up my contemporary romance and sent it in with fingers crossed. Then came the wait but when my critique arrived I was astonished at the attention to detail given by my reader along with such comments as led me to believe I was close. There followed another edit and submission to Safkhet Publishing who came back very quickly with the offer of a contract. That’s when everything changed.
Now might be a good time to backtrack a little. I have been attending The Write Place Creative Writing School for two years. So busy was I writing that I had no idea about the greater picture until doors were opened to me, or at least presented so I could open them myself. With their knowledge of the market I have now had numerous short stories published, something I am sure wouldn’t have happened had I been ‘out there’ on my own. It was TWP who pointed me to the RNA and the entrance to another world. I recently attended the RNA Winter Party where I was greeted by a wall of sound from what seemed like hundreds of people all talking at once; daunting to say the least. I needn’t have worried. I was greeted, enfolded and made to feel I belonged. From 1st January 2014 I will be a full member of the RNA. It’s been quite a year.
So is that the end of the story? No, it’s merely the start. I have learned that writing a book, though huge in itself, is the forerunner to a number of activities which till now had only been words but recently added to my vocabulary. Facebook; Twitter; Blog; Social Networking. I have been comfortable with Facebook for some time now and have made some lovely friends. I am familiarising myself with Twitter. This is my first blog! Terrified? You bet, but I’m hoping to be at ease with it very soon. I will be visiting nearby bookshops, contacting the local paper, introducing myself to any organisations I can persuade to listen. All this seems a million miles away from my first love, writing, but is a necessary part of the whole procedure. If my heroine can leave her life behind to work on a cruise liner, well maybe I too can embark on my own journey into the unknown. I hope to see some of you there.