the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

How to win a publishing contract

on October 19, 2022

For anyone on Twitter, you may have come across online pitching events that encourage writers to compose a tweet using 280 characters to get their story under the eyes of literary agents and publishers. If the tweet is ‘liked’ there’s an opportunity to submit a query letter, synopsis of the work and the first three chapters for consideration. It’s a good way to bypass the slush pile and I’ve attracted some interest by honing my elevator pitch to the size of a tweet. In previous twitter pitches I’ve used the following to describe my latest novel (the words in capitals suggest comparable titles):


Menopausal journalist rediscovers her mojo by developing a true crime podcast about a missing West Country teenager in 1979. The dual timeline reveals the girl’s story of infatuation and exploitation with an unforgettable twist. 

Earlier this year, I saw another twitter pitch advertised by Bloodhound Books, a leading independent publisher based in Cambridge.

This time I had to compose a slightly longer pitch:

The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell (79,500 words) is a gripping dual timeline mystery, perfect for fans of The Widow by Fiona Barton, Sadie by Courtney Summers and novels by Kathleen McGurl. 

It’s 2014 when redundant journalist Stephanie Brett (54) looks for a change of direction and chooses true crime podcasting. Locally, there’s only one case worth pursuing – the abduction of Carolyn Russell (16) from 1979. The shambolic police investigation came to nothing but rumours circulate in the West Country town. Early episodes draw a large audience and when an unexpected source comes forward, vitriolic accusations against a teacher gain momentum. 

A few days later, I was delighted to receive an invitation to submit the full manuscript. As this was during the summer and I was busy having a marvellous time, I sent off the email and attachments without thinking much more. Come October, I received a reply. Low and behold, I was the winner of a publishing contract! I’m now delighted to share the news that my novel will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer 2023. Here’s the announcement that was released on social media this week.

Phew! It took a little time, but I got there!

10 responses to “How to win a publishing contract

  1. Jim Bates says:

    Wow!! That’s FANTASTIC NEWS, Gail!!! Congratulations 🙂

  2. susancarey says:

    Congratulations, Gail! I love your pitch. We really need more fiction about women in their fifties and sixties, well just all the ages above child-bearing years!

  3. Sue says:

    Many congratulations Gail, so well deserved.

  4. Congratulations, Gail. That’s brilliant ☺️

  5. Fabulous pitch, Gail! It’s marvelous to send something off in the world, move on, and discover such great results!

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