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Write to be Published

A no-nonsense guide to everything you need to know about writing to be published. Universally praised by agents, publishers, tutors and writers. Aimed at adults.

The Crabbit Old Bat whips you into shape and helps you make a publisher say “YES!”

I am unappealingly proud of being the first Google result for the phrase Crabbit Old Bat. As you will know if you follow my original blog, Help! I Need a Publisher!, I do not suffer fools, let alone gladly. Publishers say Yes only when they believe they can find readers for your book; your job is to make sure you’ve written something that readers will buy; my job is to show you how not to mess up.

More details and reviews further down this page.

You might also like the ebooks Write a Great Synopsis and Dear Agent.

Available from all good shops and suppliers.

Write To Be Published aims to give you the tools and understanding you need.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to understand why publishers and agents so often say no, and thus have a better chance of making them say yes.
  • If you want to discover any problems in your book and avoid them in future.
  • If you are ready for hard work and prepared to have your eyes opened.
  • If you simply want to write the best possible book, one which will attract readers.
  • If you want to know the best ways to submit your work once you’ve made it wonderful.
  • If you can cope with my crabbitness, irreverence and impatience.

How to buy

This book is currently out of print. 

Main reviews

Write to be Published has had some wonderful feedback and is recommended by many publishers as the book all aspiring writers need to help them be published. Some examples follow and you’ll find more on Amazon.

Editor of The New Writer, Merric Davidson: “It’s here. At last! The book of the blog – and very probably the book of the century (so far) for all aspiring writers out there… This really is the real deal; the one book you should have by your side as you’re plotting and planning your career as a published writer. It is, without doubt, one of the most generous how to books you will come across and it’s written in a most approachable, informative style by the self-styled Crabbit Old Bat (check the blog!)….Invaluable advice, delivered with honesty and no little humour.”

Author, blogger and publisher, Scott Pack: “I receive a lot of emails from authors asking for guidance on how to take the next steps to publication. In future I will just point them in the direction of this book.”

A wonderful response from Joanne Harris: “I’ve always generally mistrusted self-help books, especially those offering advice to would-be writers, a gullible lot at best, who should probably be saving their money. Nicola Morgan’s book is one of a very few exceptions. It offers excellent, practical, informed and unpatronizing advice to the published and the unpublished alike; exposes common fallacies; pokes fun at sacred cows; deflates pretensions; offers encouragement where deserved; admits to occasional “crabbitness”, but tells things as they really are in a world where success is increasingly hard to achieve. This is the tutor I wish I’d had when I was starting out: brisk, funny, just a little bit schoolmistressy, but an eminently sensible schoolmistress who knows her subject, doesn’t suffer fools and is not afraid to hand out detentions where necessary. In short, Nicola Morgan is made of crabbit – but she is also made of awesome.”

Mark Le Fanu, retiring General Secretary of the Society of Authors: “A punchy and practical guide to the elusive business of writing a book that will appeal to publishers.”

Mary Hoffman: “Don’t leave the country without a passport and don’t submit your first manuscript without reading this book.”

Adele Geras: “I’ve followed Nicola’s blog since its beginning and because that’s full of good sense and what’s more, sense conveyed in a funny and likeable way, I for one can’t wait to read the book.”

Popular blogger, Bookwitch: “… she writes the way I want to…She writes great children’s novels, but it’s Nicola’s non-fiction – and her shoes – that I’m willing to kill for… There is not a thing missing. Nicola deals with it all in her – how shall I put it? – calling-a-spade-a-spade style.”

David Belbin, Course Leader, Nottingham Trent University Creative Writing MA: “This book should be on the reading list of every creative writing course in the country.”

Karen Ball says, “This is a must-have book for aspiring writers. I’d say it’s a must-have book for authors who already know their trade but want the opportunity to take stock. For me, it’s inspiring that someone can set up a blog, share key advice for free, and then see that blog become a book. It says a lot about publishing in the 21st century. … Nicola may have achieved that one thing that busy editors, struggling bookshops and expensive writing courses may have failed in. She could be changing lives.”

Feedback on Twitter

So informative without a patronising tone which is in so many writing books. / Great book by for anyone serious about writing / just read chapter on submissions. Brilliant, very, very funny and unexpectedly moving! / one to read – and keep reading – a #writingbible for anyone who is serious about writing / I’m loving #writetobepublished / whips your work into shape with humour, honesty, grumpiness and CHOCOLATE. ” That last part totally sold me. / Everyone buy it now. nicolamorgan knows her stuff / It’s a great book. I’ve just dipped in and already I’ve realised there are a few mishaps in my own manuscript. Thank you. /Rare to find so much wit and wisdom in one book. /It is brilliant. But you’ll be spitting (as I was) that you didn’t read it some years back / awesome. My mum treated me to a copy and I’ve only been putting it down to eat and tweet! Thanks! / It was terrific. Helpful, to the point, funny and well organized. I felt almost as if I had sat down and spent some time with you / Just finished the brilliant Write to be Published. Full of honest advice without the need for toffees, teabags or glitter.

Anne Rooney: “If you’re serious about getting your book to the point where it’s publishable – and you’re prepared to hear and heed some harsh truths – Nicola Morgan’s book is a must. If you’re a wimp, or think editors and agents are just blind to your talents, save your money for tissues to see you through the years of rejection letters. Or for train tickets to go the book launches of friends who DID buy Nicola’s book.” Anne Rooney

Cassandra Marshall, blog reader, writer: “WRITE TO BE PUBLISHED is the perfect primer for new writers and a handy reference book for the pros. It strikes the right balance so that both old pros and new idiots can both benefit.”

Helen Kara: “‘Write To Be Published’ is clear, succinct, and covers an enormous amount of ground.”

Catt Turner: “It feels like just yesterday I found out Nicola was going to be writing Write To Be Published, but it’s been a long wait too. I’ve been eager about it from very early on. Although I consider my domain to be flash fiction and poetry, sometimes a short story, I still feel that I have learnt so much from Help! I Need A Publisher and that I can learn from Write To be Published too. But, the thing with Write To Be Published is it will be an actual book, a something in my hand and on my bookshelf to grab hastily. I expect it’s going to be a book with everything in the one place but organised, that belongs on any desk or bookshelf. And it will be a book that one can constantly learn from, and shouldn’t be without.”

Clare Donaldson: “Hugely practical and easily digestible. Like a bar of chocolate.”

Suzanne Jones: “I must apologise in advance as my feedback will be completely useless – I couldn’t find anything at all wrong with it.”

Sophie Playle’s blog: “I’ve read a lot of books about writing, but what makes this one unique is Nicola’s voice. She’s on your side as a writer, but she gives you the cold hard truth. Nothing is sugar-coated. There’s no Zen philosophy about writing. This is a book about the realities of traditional publishing. But rather than putting the reader off, the book has a fighting spirit. It demonstrates how to give yourself and your writing the best chance it can have in such a cut-throat industry.”

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