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Louise Kennedy |Student with The Writers Bureau – become a published writer

Stories of a seafaring cat

When I first started the course I was very excited to be starting out on my writing career. I’d just finished my degree with the Open University and suddenly had the time to do what I truly love which is to write. My main ambition at the time was to get an article published in a magazine and write a novel.

The Writer’s Bureau has given me the confidence to follow my dreams. I started the course fresh from university and quickly devoured the course materials when they arrived. I started a daily blog to chronicle our adventures living aboard a boat from a fresh and creative viewpoint… our cat’s! I wanted to be creative daily and work on improving my writing ability. I actually only completed one assignment before things really took off with the blog and I was offered a book deal with Bloomsbury. My tutor, Michelle Higgs, was lovely, encouraging and offered me great constructive criticism on my first assignment. Now that the book has been published and most of the initial promotion has calmed down I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into the course and completing the rest of the assignments.

When I was contacted by a senior editor from Adlard Coles, a subsidiary of Bloomsbury (and the largest nautical publisher in the world), saying she loved my blog and wondered if I would be interested in publishing a book along the same lines, I was literally jumping for joy. It sounds very clichéd but it really was a dream come true. We still had some hurdles to get through as the book had to be approved by the sales team. Once it was accepted and I was officially offered a contract I contacted my tutor at WB asking for advice. She advised me to join the Society of Authors as they offer a service where they look through your contract. This was an amazing help for someone who had never had anything published before. They helped me tweak the contract in my favour and soon I was sitting down to write the manuscript of my very first book, Bailey Boat Cat – Adventures of a Feline Afloat! I’m afraid my contract does not allow me to discuss the details but I’ve made a modest income from the book and hope that it will continue to do well in the New Year.

The book follows Bailey’s adventures on the boat. It was published in the UK in April of this year and shortly afterwards in Australia. It was then published in America and Canada in September. I was actually in Australia on holiday and was invited into the Bloomsbury office to chat to the team that would be publicising my book down under. It was the most surreal experience and actually one of my favourite moments of my first trip to Australia! The team in America have been amazing and I was so lucky that Bloomsbury hired a freelance publicist for Bailey Boat Cat. So Bailey and the book have been featured in lots of magazines and online articles. You can read more about where Bailey’s been featured at www.baileyboatcat.com in the ‘my book’ and ‘in the news’ sections.

My future goals as a writer are the same as when I started the course since I was unexpectedly offered a book deal from my blog that I never imagined would become such a huge hit. I’m very close to finishing my first novel and it would be a dream come true if I manage to get it published. I’m starting to seriously look for an agent now and I’d also really like to write articles about our cruising lifestyle, travelling and life living aboard a boat. I’m also very keen to now steadily work through the rest of the course and hopefully get more constructive criticism on how to improve my writing.