Rachel is the author of both self-published and traditionally published titles; read TWH’s review of her most recent HarperCollins’ novel, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street.
TWH: Hi, Rachel. Thank you for answering our questions. Now that the dust has settled a little, what was/is the best thing that’s happened since you won the Flirty Fiction competition, apart from actually holding the finished book in your hands?
The reception it’s received. I’ve had lots of lovely reviews, and readers getting in touch to tell me how much they loved the story. Always very humbling – and great to chat books with people, which I can do all day long.
TWH: What advice would you give to other authors entering similar writing competitions?
Read the competition thoroughly; don’t be caught out because you’ve pitched the wrong story. Take your time to double and triple check before you submit. The best idea in the world can be dismissed simply because of a wrong sized font or margin error.
TWH: You’ve self-published as well as being a published author from HarperCollins’ stable – what did you find to be the benefits of each method to market?
The benefits of traditional publishing are massive, in terms of finding your readership and cultivating it. They do all the editing and cover artwork in-house, so you get a highly professional finish, and your book could be in actual bookshops as well. You get a lot of support from a good editor, too, which is nice, as writing is very lonely at times.
Self publishing means that you have full control over your book, but everything does fall to you: covers, editing, marketing…and this can take away precious writing time. Self publishing means that you can work at your own pace, though, and publish quickly.
TWH: Because you’ve already achieved so much, how have your dreams changed? What do you reach for nowadays?
My dreams have changed as I have fulfilled them! I always wanted to be a teacher and author, and I have done this alongside raising my family. The things I strive for are the next step, the next rung in the ladder. My priorities now are to make my next book the best it can be, raise my family well and hopefully travel. I feel like the stress has been released, but I still work hard every day. It’s my nature, I think, to stay busy!
TWH: The publishing industry has changed so much in the last ten years…how do you predict the next ten years will develop?
I think it will continue to thrive and diversify. Ebooks were hailed as the end; I remember declaring I would never buy a kindle! I think that we owe it to future readers to continue to recognise diversity, with more characters from all races and abilities. There has been some good characters written with conditions like Asperger’s, and this is a brilliant step forward. Also, libraries have been affected by cuts. Parents, in particular, need to get their children to these places, use them, and introduce the next generation of readers to community reading. Otherwise, libraries simply won’t be there, and that would be devastating for everyone.
TWH: Lastly, what’s your best writing tip?
Read, read, and read some more. Read something you would never pick up normally – something you don’t fancy, something you think might be hard going. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and see what works. I read daily, and I will never ever stop devouring books.
Rachel Dove lives in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and is a wife and mother. She previously worked in law, then in the area of early years and special educational needs before qualifying to teach adults these subjects. Having always wanted to be an author, Rachel has written horror shorts in the past, but romantic fiction remains her real love. She now writes full-time between writing, reading, and raising her children.