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Inside Story: How I Became a Published Poet.

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Inside Story: How I Became a Published Poet.

I’m Harriet Cross and I’m lucky enough to have just signed my first publishing contract and am on my way to having a book published. When I first wrote my short children’s story I didn’t intend to send it off to a publishing company as I thought there would be little chance it would even make it past the receptionist. I actually came across Austin Macauley Publishers whilst looking for poetry competitions to enter. I read through the website to make sure they were a credible company as it’s important to be confident who you are sending your work to. They encouraged budding poets to submit their work and I thought that it looked like a pretty simple and easy thing to do. The submission process was indeed easy enough as I filled out a short online form and attached my story. The website did offer other ways to submit work; in the post for example. I received an email shortly after stating that it could take up to six weeks for my work to be looked at by the board of editors and after seven weeks I received another email congratulating me on my offer for publication!

I never expected to be 18 and to be having a book published but I just put myself and my work out there and now I can say that soon I’ll be a published author. My advice to any one on a similar journey would be to believe in yourself, don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves but instead seek them out and don’t stop writing. Good luck!

Here are some examples of Harriet’s work:

Igloo look, you will find 

We’re burning from the inside out.

You should kick and cry and bleed and shout

because the ice wont melt without some heat,

so take your sword, get off your seat.

Private revolts can make big change

so when refusing to smile, don’t think it’s strange.

There’s a sister or two not three but more,

who are shooting stars, ready to thaw.

Sculptures of ice, transparent in pain,

say that we’re crazy, call us insane

but we know you can hear and in time we will break

the glass ceilings and bell jars you continue to make.

Red for a Reason

The bricks in that square are red for a reason.

As you break the backs of each cobble with your patent leather shoe

crowds of cuffed people chink their chains together

in support or fear, whichever brings less pain.

You carry the posters of ghosts and pretend that they’d be proud,

as if they wouldn’t die all over again to know that

you’re pinning history up against a wall and making it repeat itself.

Fresh blood begins to ooze through its crusted scabs

and stains the land you murdered for.

Pillowcase man

White doughy arms

and a marshmallow smile,

I’ll pretend that you’re real,

at least for a while.

Sweeten my dreams

with puppies and love.

Fragrance my hopes

with young collard doves.

Comfort my soul,

whilst my thoughts drift away.

I shouldn’t forgive you

but I know you can’t stay.

One last squeeze,

then you’ll leave for the night …

typical man,

bringing temporary delight.

And here’s a poem for a children’s book:

Nina Loves to sing


Nina loves to sing

She sings with all her might

She rocks and bops and twists and shouts

From dawn till late at night

Her taste is very wide

From Bebes to Elvis P

From country tunes to swinging jazz

She sings aloud with glee

Nina sings quite loud

So loud the house will shake

Her radio plays at full blast

Whilst Michael lies awake

Michael loves the calm

Loud noises make him itch

He goes all red and huffs and puffs

His moustache starts to twitch

Michael loves his books

They make no noise at all

But when Nina starts her chanting

They fall right off his wall

“That’s it; I’ve had enough!”

Michael yells angrily

He stomps next door very hot and bothered

And Nina says “sorry.”

Now there’s no more songs

Blasting through the walls

No more punk or uptown funk

Silence fills the halls

Nina just feels horrid

For making Michael mad

She didn’t know how loud she was

But the calm just makes her sad

Michael feels much worse

Now the noise has gone away

He feels alone with all his books

And hopes her songs will play

Nina finds a note

That’s slid under her door

Inside it says “can we talk?”

From Mick at number 4

Nina has the note

She holds it in her hand

She walks next door confused and sad

And then she hears the band

“What is all of this,

This can’t be all for me?”

“Welcome to your first performance

Now jump on stage quickly.”

What about the noise

And the mess I always make?

What about the books I wreck

When your house begins to shake?

Nina, I was wrong

I know how good you are

Although you can be very loud

You are a superstar

Yes I am a grouch

Yes I mutter and I moan

But the truth is that your singing

Makes me feel less alone

The concert is a smash

Even neighbours join the fun

Michael smiles and Nina laughs

They know their feud is done

The pair now have a plan

That benefits them both

These two are prime examples

Of friendship and of growth

Nina loves to sing

From ten to half past three

And sometimes Michael sings along

When his books don’t keep him busy

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