Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Hunting for the literary agent

Tomorrow, I’ll be sending out my first three chapters of my murder mystery novel to a number of UK agents who I think might, no must, be interested. The day after I’ll sit back and begin to fret no doubt whether I composed a good introductory letter, compiled a brilliant succinct synopsis and, of course, did I cross all the i’s and dot the t’s in my sample manuscript? Then I’ll begin to wonder if I selected the appropriate agents to consider my work and if I did, will they like it. Next will come, when shall I hear I’ve been rejected?

The first chapters had been reviewed by the Writers’ Workshop last year. Since then, I have turned a lot of the novel on its head, written the MC in the first person and viewed the rail crash through the eyes of a survivor.

Rail crash, what rail crash?

Ah, should I have told you that?

Well OK, the novel involves the worst rail disaster to have happened in England, when 112 died and 340 were injured, and that’s all I’m giving away at this time. The chances of getting it published are about 1:1000. The chances of getting it published for the 60th anniversary of the crash by the traditional route, are even smaller. Time will tell, and you’ll be the second to know about it if it happens, if you sign up to my blog – see below. Of course it will happen – think positive, man.

Those first critical chapters have been tweaked countless times by me before going out to my beta-readers. Amazed at what they picked up on, I incorporated changes, added more detail, took some out, adjusted some characters – poor Lorna’s eye-colour went from black to brown and have ended up blue –  and I corrected punctuation and tense. Then I tweaked it another 50 times! WW call it ‘polishing’.

So, it should be word perfect and make absolutely addictive reading, for everyone and their dog. As I said earlier, time will tell.

Edwin Tipple

with thanks to Writer’s Workshop on letter & synopsis guidance. For more information about that, see

and you can sign up for my blog here at to see how it all works out. Go on, I promise not to blog rubbish.



Author in the making

February 2012

You’ve no doubt had someone say to you, ‘you should write a book.’ Several people said that to me over the last ten years. Flattered, well yes! The only problem was what to write about? I hated English classes at school – hated school generally to be honest. I’d probably forgotten more than I ever knew about grammar, tense and punctuation. I could do verbs, nouns and adjectives I thought, but a participle? That only provided an degree of mirth; my dad’s name being Percy Tipple. I rarely read anything other than car maintenance manuals, or electronics magazines or articles connected with work.

So what happened? Why do I want to write now? For starters, I’ve read lots of books over the last twenty years and enjoyed them. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I knew which authors left me cold and those who worked for me, eager to read their latest. Visit to see my favourite authors.

When I retired three years ago, we spent a lot of time in Thailand, especially over the winters. I began to write short articles about living here mainly for the benefit of those back home: perhaps to reassure them that we were alright living in Asia. Those early scrawlings were loaded with errors; all the things I’d forgotten about. But I enjoyed doing them.

In January I self-published them – without the errors – as a short e-book on Smashwords and Amazon, under the title of My Thai Eye, a wry look at things Thai. And they’re selling, not in vast numbers – I didn’t expect they would – but selling. I  did this for a number of reasons;

  • It would raise some money for Thai flood relief: I have chosen a book library Plan for Kids a childrens’ charity. Seemed fitting as so many were destroyed,
  • It would help to get my name ‘out there’,
  • I would gain experience at placing my own work in e-book stores and to learn how it all worked.

But My Thai Eye is done with now, apart from the marketing, such as this – which I think I’ll enjoy – and checking from time to time to see how sales are going – which I might not. As part of my marketing, I designed & built my own website – and the cover for My Thai Eye – so gradually I’m learning quite a lot about more about publishing. I haven’t done this alone and want to thank all of the Clouders at The Writers’ Workshop – the best on-line community for new writers – and their editors who nicely but firmly pointed me in the right direction. Plus David Gaughran – you should visit his site Let’s Get Digital if you want to e-pub, where he passes on his experiences.

So, what now? What to write about next? Two years ago I had no idea. Then one balmy evening, I had that eureka moment. I knew what my first novel would be about. And I’ll tell you all about it over the coming months.

Edwin Tipple

February 2555 in Thailand

2012 elsewhere