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.
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 …
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