The Writers Bureau

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for some time to acknowledge the part that the Writers Bureau has played in my writing career as this is where I started out. I would therefore like to begin this post by saying a massive thank you to The Writers Bureau for all the invaluable skills that I learnt during the diploma course.

I studied with them between 1999 and 2002, and the skills and knowledge that I gained have been invaluable ever since. There are many people who say that writing is a skill that cannot be taught but I strongly disagree. During my studies I learnt writing techniques that have stood me in good stead not only as an author but also in my previous career as a copywriter.

In terms of fiction writing I learnt many writing rules and techniques including: viewpoint, creating atmosphere, building suspense, creating realistic characters, show don’t tell, writing good dialogue, outlines, pace, conflict etc. etc. There are many others but it was a long time ago and I can’t recall all of them offhand. I am sure they have stayed in my subconscious though so that I automatically utilise what I learnt on the course.

The Writers Bureau also suggests reading a wide range of well-written novels because it helps to improve your writing style. By doing so, you can see the approach that other authors take, and how they utilise their writing skills.

But the Writers Bureau diploma is much more than a creative writing course. It’s very comprehensive and also covers article writing, non-fiction books, biographies, writing for trade magazines, and journalism. On the fiction side of things, as well as novels, there are short stories, writing for radio, writing for the theatre and writing for TV.

What I loved about the course was that the tutors encourage you to submit your work to publications so that you can earn income from your writing while you are studying. In fact, the Writers Bureau guarantees that if you don’t earn the cost of the course back by the end of it, they will refund your fees.

The flip side of this is that I did become inundated with work at various points of the course. This is because, if you have an article accepted by a magazine, for example, then it makes good sense to follow it up with another article while your name is still fresh in the editor’s mind. That means that as well as studying for the Writers Bureau diploma you can also find yourself busy writing various magazine articles at the same time.

It can also become a little frustrating as the course introduces you to so many types of writing that you often only write the opening chapters and a synopsis before you have to push on with the next course module. Having said that, there is no time limit for finishing your diploma (from what I remember) and it means you have the makings of a large body of work, which you can return to in the future.

The Writers Bureau diploma is completed on a home study basis so students can study at their own pace. Each student is allocated a personal tutor who gives feedback on their work and makes suggestions regarding ways in which it can be improved. I found this personal touch very helpful.

It was while I was studying for my diploma with the Writers Bureau that I wrote the first three chapters of a book called Nightclubbing’, a chic lit novel about two twenty somethings with a colourful social life. That was a long time ago. At the time I sent it to various agents and publishers as suggested by the course tutors but wasn’t successful.

However, I did have some success with magazine articles so I put the novel to one side and pursued the magazine route for some time. Eventually, I stopped writing magazine articles and transitioned into a copywriter and proof-reader, setting up a writing services business. The diploma gave me the confidence to do that and to pursue opportunities for paid work.

I enjoyed my time as a copywriter and proof-reader but I discovered on the writing course that my forte and preference lay in writing novels and I always intended to return to that one day. As well as wanting to finish the novel, I wanted to finish a non-fiction book that I had also started during the course. Eventually I did so and, although I didn’t have much success on the non-fiction side of things, my first novel was well received.

By this time I had left the novel for several years and when I returned to it I changed it completely. What had started out as a chic lit novel entitled, Nightclubbing, became my first gritty crime novel entitled, Slur. I’ve since realised that gritty crime is definitely my genre of choice although I’d like to write at least one thriller in the future too.

Although I originally self-published Slur and the two follow up novels, A Gangster’s Grip and Danger by Association, I was lucky enough to be spotted by a publisher, Aria Fiction. The three books became The Riverhill Trilogy, which has been republished with Aria Fiction.

I have since written a further trilogy, The Manchester Trilogy, also available through Aria, and have just signed a contract with them for another three books. The first two books in The Manchester Trilogy, Born Bad and Blood Ties, have both become Amazon category bestsellers and reached the top 100 overall of Amazon UK eBooks with one of them reaching the top 50.

I am sure that without the Writers Bureau I would never have had the confidence to self-publish my first novel. They taught me many valuable skills, which I put to good use every time I write. I am now lucky to be earning a living doing something I love, and it all started when I studied for my writing diploma with The Writers’ Bureau.

——————

Advertisements

New Aria Contract

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a new three book contract with Aria at Head of Zeus. Again, it’s for a series of three books but I’ll probably extend the series to four books in the future. Although all of the books have a common background they will each tell a different story. Book one will introduce the characters and setting, and each subsequent book will focus on one of the characters’ own story.

I’m already making progress with the first book, which will be available next summer. In the meantime, Vendetta, book three in my Manchester trilogy is due to be published on 2nd October, and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon. If you haven’t yet bought your copy, here is the link: http://viewbook.at/VendettaMcr.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Ritherdon, Editorial Director at Aria. Sarah has worked closely with me virtually since I signed up with Aria for my previous contract. She is brilliantly supportive to work with and a great editor who is able to spot areas of my novels that can be improved and make useful suggestions. It was lovely to be able to put a face to the name.

During our meeting we discussed Aria’s plans for my writing career, as well as my ideas for future novels. Aria have some very exciting plans in terms of promoting my books and getting them into the hands of even more readers. In fact, as part of ongoing promotion, both Slur and Born Bad are currently on sale. Slur is available for 99p at the moment and Born bad at £1.87, giving readers a chance to try the first book in each of my trilogies at a bargain price. If you would like to take advantage of the sale price, here are the links:

Slur: http://getbook.at/Slur.

Born Bad: http://viewBook.at/BornBad.

I’m very excited to be working with Aria again, and will keep you updated regarding the publication of new books.

——————

 

Danger by Association Giveaway

Next month is the last of my giveaways for paperback copies of The Riverhill Trilogy. Big congratulations to those of you who have already won signed copies of Slur and A Gangster’s Grip.

If you didn’t win a copy, don’t worry, you can still be in with a chance of winning a signed, original copy of Danger by Association.

Readers will be notified by newsletter of how to enter the giveaway. To receive my newsletters you will need to sign up to my mailing list by following the link: Heather’s Readers. It’s quick and easy to sign up and means you will also be amongst the first readers to find out about new releases and special offers.

Bye for now and good luck.

——————–

A Gangster’s Grip Giveaway

This month saw the first of my giveaways for copies of The Riverhill Trilogy where lucky winners will be sent a signed, original copy of Slur. I had a good response and was really touched by some of the readers’ comments.

If you missed the giveaway, don’t worry, there’s still a chance to win one of the other two books in the trilogy, starting with A Gangster’s Grip in May.

Details of how to win a copy of A Gangster’s Grip will be sent via a newsletter to readers on my mailing list. It’s quick and easy to sign up to my mailing list by following the link: Heather’s Readers.  Plus, by signing up you’ll also be amongst the first readers to find out about new publications and special offers.

The final giveaway will be in June and this will be for copies of Danger by Association. I’ll post another blog nearer the time to remind you about the giveaway for Danger by Association  and readers will again be notified by newsletter how to enter.

———————

The Big Heather Burnside Book Giveaway

I am excited to announce that from July The Riverhill Trilogy will be republished by Aria Fiction. The books will have shiny new covers as well as being given the once over by one of Aria’s talented editors.

I still have a handful of original copies of Slur, A Gangster’s Grip and Danger by Association. These are the books that I published myself as an independent author under the imprint of D M Publishing, and are shown above. So, as a big thank you to my loyal readers I have decided to give away signed paperback copies of these books.

There is a limited number of each so I can’t let everyone have a copy – I wish I could. Therefore, I am going to offer the books to readers on my mailing list. If you aren’t already on my mailing list then it’s quick and easy to sign up by following the link: Heather’s Readers. But you’ll have to be quick as I’ll soon be sending out a newsletter letting you know how you can be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of one of these books.

 

I’ll be starting with Slur in April and readers will have to answer a simple question in order to enter the giveaway. I will then select my favourites from those sent in and announce the winners’ names in a future newsletter. In the run-up to the republishing of The Riverhill Trilogy in July, I’ll then be running a giveaway for A Gangster’s Grip in May followed by a giveaway for Danger by Association in June.

As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. So, if you haven’t done so already, sign up to my mailing list using the above link then wait for my newsletter to arrive in your mail box in early April.

——————-

Free Short Story Book

First of all, I apologise for being quiet lately both on the blog and on social media. The reason is because I’ve been working hard towards meeting my publishing deadline for my next book, which will be the first book in a new trilogy. More news will follow on that later but in the meantime I need to continue promoting my existing books.

As part of my book promotion, I’m pleased to announce that my short story, Crime, Conflict & Consequences is now permanently free on Amazon UK and Amazon.com. Here is the Amazon link: http://viewbook.at/Consequences. There is also a preview of the first chapter of Slur in the back of the book so if you haven’t yet read any of my books, here is a chance to sample my writing free of charge.

Crime v3

Crime, Conflict & Consequences is also free to download at Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, 24 Symbols, Thalia and Inktera. I don’t have a link for Apple but here are the links for the other stores.

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

24 Symbols

Thalia

Inktera

To give you a preview of Crime, Conflict & Consequences, here is the book blurb:

This entertaining collection of 10 assorted tales explores a variety of genres with stories of crime, love and family dilemmas. There are also a few twists and surprises along the way. The common thread running through each story is – consequences.

  • In HELD UP our heroine is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes a witness in an unusual bank robbery.
  • In ISLAND OF DREAMS Joe and Bev are looking forward to returning to the island they visited on honeymoon 34 years previously. Will it still be the same?
  • In WELCOME ABOARD find out how Helena copes with the job from hell.

These short stories are a great introduction to the work of Heather Burnside. Each one makes an enjoyable quick read with a satisfying conclusion.

————–

It’s only fair to warn you that my novels are quite different from the short stories. Whereas the short stories cover a variety of genres and writing styles, my other books are gritty crime novels. However, the excerpt from Slur, which is in the back of the short story book should give you an idea of what is to follow.

Bye for now and happy reading.

—————

I’ve Been Signed – Yay!

Some excellent news for a Friday afternoon. I’ve just signed a three book deal with a publisher. We’ve been in contact for several weeks during which I sent a detailed synopsis to the publishers for a new trilogy and they came back to say they were happy to run with it. The first book in the trilogy is ‘Bad Brother and I’ as previewed in the back of my latest book, ‘Danger by Association’. The title will change but it will be the same book.

Smiley FaceSmiley FaceSmiley FaceSmiley Face

Now, if you follow this blog you’re probably thinking that this is a major turnaround for me as I’ve always been a big supporter of independent publishing. I still am. In fact, I think that because I had already had a degree of success as an independent author that probably brought me to the attention of the publishers in the first place. I had given up on approaching publishers and agents and was happy to plod along doing my own thing. However, I was then approached by a publisher and their offer was very tempting.

Because I’ve started to earn an income from my books I was able to view their offer objectively instead of through rose-tinted spectacles, which I would have done a few years ago before independent publishing enabled authors to create their own successes. The publisher is Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus. It’s a relatively new publishing house, which combines a wealth of experience by staff who have held senior roles with the big 5 publishing houses, together with a forward thinking approach.

Needless to say, I’m extremely excited and will be doing a lot of celebrating this weekend before knuckling down and continuing to work on the first novel in my new trilogy next week. There are a lot of changes taking place in my life at the moment and I feel that I am entering a new and exciting phase in my life. I would like to send a big thank you to everybody who has helped and supported me along the way.

 

———————–