blogging · giveaway

1000 followers – a special thank you present from me

Today I reached a milestone for this blog – 1000 followers!  I’m so pleased to have reached such a wide audience.  I’ve also been loving hearing the recent success stories some of you have been having with your manuscripts – some mentioned on this blog already, others to come over the next few months.  We all know what a difficult and frustrating journey it can be, and to hear that publishers are still keen to accept new authors is heartwarming indeed.

1000 followers giveawayTo celebrate I’d like to offer you a present.  We all know how hard it is to get a second opinion on your work.  Scrub that – an honest and useful second opinion.  Family are lovely but will always say it’s ‘good’, even if you give them a pencil and ask them to scrub out whole chapters.  Some writers swear by having a ‘beta reader’ – someone to go through an early draft and give them a useful critique before they start submitting.  I have recently started doing this with two other playwrights for the short plays I’m working on and I feel it has improved my work hugely, as well as decreasing the sense of writing ‘in a vacuum’.  You can find willing beta readers in writers’ groups, online forums, social media groups, or sites where you post work up for others to critique and repay them the favour, such as Authonomy.

Or – as a thank you for being such a lovely follower – you can simply post a comment below and I will pick one out of a hat for a free writer-to-writer critique.  (A nice, encouraging one, not a tearing-you-to-shreds one, delivered in confidence by email, not published on the blog.)

It could be for a work in progress, something you are preparing for submission, or something you are already sending out but would like some feedback on from a fellow author.  All I ask is that it’s under 50,000 words.  For very short works like picture books I’d be happy to look at three.

Feel free to talk about your manuscript in your comment, or if you want to play your cards close to your chest then that’s fine as well, just make a remark so I know you’re in the draw.  After a month I will print out this page, cut the comments into strips, put them in a hat and ask one of my children to pull one out, then the winner can email me their work.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your manuscript!


52 thoughts on “1000 followers – a special thank you present from me

  1. Congratulations! Am not surprised you have such a large following. I always enjoy reading your blogs. I am working on two books at the moment. I love to write and have also have written a number of children’s stories. I would also love to get my poetry published. You can see some of them on my poetry blog, “My Life in Poems” :
    Thanks for this opportunity and all good wishes for the future.

  2. Congratulations! I’m one of your newer followers but I’m glad I found your site. The article you wrote listing publishers of children’s books was extremely helpful and I’ve used it to submit to a couple of agents. That’s a generous offer you’ve made. I’m currently writing children’s stories, aimed at 6-8 year olds, and would love to have someone other than my very encouraging family and friends to give me a bit of feedback. Best of luck to everyone in the draw.

  3. Lou… I really think that you are amazing. I’ve followed blog that has inspired me, aided me, and always, always made me feel that I was a part of something much more than just a blog post… more like dear, dear old friends that have gone through journeys long ago and journeys yet to come… Thank you for allowing me to walk beside you on yours. I’ve written an upper-middle grade fantasy book entitled “The Spell of the Black Magic Key.” It is ~42,000 words and I really feel that’s is finished but I don’t know. Since its fantasy perhaps I might have to build my worlds up more… I also suspect that some readers think that it could also be a YA novel and though I don’t state the ages of my characters, in my head their 14 – 16 age group. Anyway, I had the nerve to enter it in the Chicken House Contest… you know the agent who discovered J.K. Rowlings… Needless to say I didn’t win. I’ve been so devastated since and can’t get myself to start the sequel, “Spell of the Black Magic Key… Revenge of the Rats. I don’t really let many people read my work, actually no one has. I try my best to query agents and enter it in contests but I’ve had no luck. I would love you to read it. It’s my granddaughter’s favorite book and she’s eight. It’s about a spell of a black magic key that has the power to release the evil ones from below the earth to wreak havoc on the world. It’s in the voice of a young boy who is the one that must take up his father’s oath and save the world from the powers of darkness. By the way, I love your name. My name is Dominic and I’m a girl… your name is Lou and you are too… The best to you always my dear friend… Sincerely Dominic

  4. Hi Lou. I have written a novel for children aged 12 yrs plus. It’s about an 11 year old boy who is kidnapped because his mother saw a man who murdered a neighbour and the man wants to silence the woman. Full of action and includes, a stray dog, a school bully, Grand-ma, Mum and a gorgeous under cover cop. A second novel about my boy hero is half written. I would be honoured if you would critique it.
    Janet Jarrett

  5. Hello Lou & congrats again on the publishing deal. I’m a 61 year old grandfather looking for representation on a picture book titled “I saw a fox, I really did!” I also did the drawings for this book. I have been submitting this one for over a year now. If I would be one of the lucky ones for a critique, I can send it to you in a PDF file if you wish. Again, always good to hear positive stories like yours. I enjoy following the events as they unfold for you. I can be reached by e-mail at
    Kevin Thrun

  6. Hello Lou,

    Congrats on your milestone, and well deserved. I’ve always found this to be a truly encouraging blog,as a writer you know the travails we all go through. Your blog is always a treat to open. All I’ve got right now is a one page synop for a YA book, if you want to give it a gander, or a one man play (sixty pages) I’ve just finished. so take your pick. And if I’m not picked, I’ve never say nice fings about you ever, ever again, so there! And wiv nobs on! (Smiles)

    Again, very well done



  7. Hello Lou;
    I have been sporadically sending out my children’s stories for a long time. Have had lovely feed back but no takers yet. I finally self published Gwendolyn’s Nose and printed off 100 copies. Got great reviews but no takers. I have a dozen or so other stories but cannot afford the cost of an illustrator to keep self publishing. Love reading to the grandchildren if nothing else.

    Once more CONGRATS!!! On both your book and your milestone.


  8. How very generous of you, Lou.
    I am my own harshest critic, and a compulsive editor, but after rewriting the first few chapters of my children’s novel umpteen times I’ve got to the stage where I can’t see the story for the words. A fresh pair of eyes to take a quick look at it would be wonderful!

  9. Thank you ,Lou. A few years ago I wrote a chapter book for my grandchildren, aged 6 and 9. My daughter is now illustrating it with exactly the kind of pictures i dreamed of! I would love to have your feedback.

  10. Hello Lou. That sounds like a great offer. I’ve just finished my first story on paper (plenty more in my head) and it would be so exciting to get your feedback. It’s a first chapter book aimed at young readers – just less than 8,000 words!!
    It was brilliant to find your blog and website, they’ve been so helpful – especially with synopsis writing – argghhh!
    It’s great to see a writer really starting to make it; it makes it all seem like a possibility.

    Cheery bye,


  11. Congrats on your publishing deal and your 1000 followers… I have learned so much from your blogs and I’m-so thankful to you! I know how grabbing your audiences attention from the beginning of a story and keeping it is important and would truly love and appreciate your feedback on my first completed coming of age/YA novel! It’s for the young and the young at heart. Action packed, suspense, magical and romance with giants and changers.

  12. Pick me, pick me! Ha, ha. I’ve written a children’s book 36,000 words. 17 Chapters. It’s loosely based on me and my twin sister aged 9 years-old. It contains a lot of the hilarious things we used to get up to. I’ve been plugging away at the agents but with no luck. I feel an agent would be better for me as I really do not have a clue about the literary industry. This would be a fantastic opportunity.
    I am currently writing book 2 as I believe the twins have lots more adventures to come.
    Thanks Lou. Count me in. Good luck everyone.

  13. Congratulations! I enjoy reading your blog, and I am impressed how personal you always come across to your readers. I have written a picture book – The Green Hat In Paris and would love the opportunity for you to read it.

  14. Congratulations on your recent publishing deal and getting 1000 followers, what a great year for you. I love following your blog.
    I have a middle grade novel I would like critiqued based on the true find of a hoard of gold. My main character is a 11 year old girl who’s heroine is Boudicca!

  15. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well deserved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am a retiree and one of your new followers. I always find your information extremely helpful.
    I would like the opportunity to send you my one and only story. I would love for you to meet Peter; and see what a brave little bear he is.
    Thank you for your generosity.

  16. Hi Lou, I have been following you for a few years now. I am so glad you are getting your Picture book published. You have given so much help to others.
    I write Picture Books and would love you to critique mine. X

  17. I wouldn’t mind a critique. I wrote “Three Hungry Fish and I illustrated it, too. But I don’t like the illustrations very much. Any critiques for amatuer illustrators? Thanks.

  18. Love your blog, Lou!! My manuscript is a children’s book set up as a memoir. It focuses on my favorite “special place” I loved as a child. Would love to hear your opinion!

  19. Hi Lou,
    Congratulations on your recent publishing deal and for reach 1000! Your blog has helped inspire me to keep on writing, but I must say, I am struggling a bit at the moment. I think I may be working on my best piece of work to date and maybe this could be the one. If it is- I’m sure on of your children will pick out my ticket!

  20. Many Congratulations on your 1000th follower Lou and looking forward tos eeing your picture book. Picture books from me if I’m lucky with the ticket!

  21. Hi and thank you for this opportunity.
    When my God children were young and I traveled to the United States to see them (They are American) I would spend time out on the ranch walking them and telling them stories about a little chap who lived in the grounds of their ranch. He shared his home with an amazing Big Bull Toad. All the animals were their friends and they encountered many many adventures together. I put pen to paper and drafted many of these adventures. The girls loved them and fell in love with all the characters, all the stories are in rhyme.
    I really thought these would suit an age group of 4 to 14 but to my surprise teenagers and adults enjoy them too.
    I have copyrighted all my material but have struggled to get a professional opinion. I’m reluctant to submit without knowing if they are worthy. I suppose on average the word count is around 600. I have considered self publishing and have also approached several illustrators who quite frankly churn out drafts without fully reading the brief.
    Any positive or negative feed back would be a God send.
    thank you and here’s hoping

    Mac Campbell

  22. Crossing my fingers that it’s my picture books that you critique..
    And a massive congratulations to you should you read this x

  23. Oh please, please, please let it be me you pick out of the hat….
    I have written a children’s book called Chicken Pickle which is aimed at 8 – 12 year olds. My family love it but as you say they are too nice to say anything else. I have had no luck so far with my submissions to agents or publishers and I need a critique to motivate me to keep going or make the changes needed to get where I want to be. x

  24. Congratulations and how generous of you to reach out yet again to your readers. I have picture books or a short chapter book which I would love to be reviewed by you. Cheers, Lucy

  25. I am writing a picture book about the Crimson Tummies, a tale about Baby C.T. and his Mummy who live at the bottom of the Goodness Gracious River. The title is: Why Is the Sky Green? .

  26. Hi…thank you for asking…I have two YA picture books …but not sure why no one wants to embrace the projects…One manuscript is a ghost story titled Ghosts Are Inside

    I am not sure if the content makes is step some boundaries but the young reader would never know how the kids became ghosts unless they were a 10th grade level reader.

  27. Congratulations on your 1000 followers – that is brilliant. I’m not surprised, as though I only starting following relatively recently, I have found that you have some really useful tips and resources. And how generous of you to offer a writer to writer critique. I’ve a couple of children’s books I’d love to get some feedback on! Well done again.

  28. Lou you are truly remearkable and you deserve every bit of success you achieve. That is such a beautiful gesture! Regards, Francine

  29. Hello Lou,
    This is a thoughtful offer and well done on your burgeoning following ! Interested to learn you are working on radio plays. I’ve had about half a dozen produced on local radio Great fun. Also written several short stories. But, my true love is Andy Aardvark and his mate Walter Warthog outwitting Jemima the jaguar in darkest Africa. It’s ready to go so I need a crit !


  30. You are truly sweet to do this. My story started as one children’s picture book about a little talking crow. I followed the story as a dutiful chronicler should and lo and behold it morphed into something bent on trying to help the entire human condition. Since I didn’t get more than a nibble from a publisher or agent, in order to do MJ (the female fowl heroine) justice, I have rewritten it as a screenplay. It starts out in the manner of Finding Nemo meets Jaws, but it ends up like the Dalai Lama might image his Good-bye Tour to be like – all told in a similar manner to The Princes Bride. Cheers and Thanks for all you are doing for writers everywhere.

  31. Dear Lou, what a fantastic opportunity – thank you. I have been sitting on my Rubbish Collection of short stories / picture books for as long as I can remember and only now daring to waiver my hand over the send button as we speak. It’s so true, friends and family love them but critique from someone in the real world would be truly exceptional. I hope those little fingers are drawn to my comment.

  32. Hi Lou, yest please, I’d love to have my name in the hat! Congratulations on 1000 followers. Your blog is an inspiration!

  33. A deserved milestone. A website that literally bulges with aid and helpful info for those of us who flail. Congrats…well earned.
    I have a series of short story picture books which has morphed over the years. I would be happy if you could take a look at three. But how do l send them? As a jpeg low res?

  34. Congratulations Lou, on your 1000 followers and well deserved. What a fantastic offer, thank you. I have a children’s book for 6 year olds which could definitely do with professional critique. I would love to have my name in the hat, so here’s hoping. xx

  35. How fantastic to have reached such a milestone! I too would love the chance of a critique – I have finished one book for 5-9 year olds and have 7 in the “ideas” book so I’m crossing fingers to be plucked out of the hat – thank you

  36. Well done, Lou, any followers are impressive, but 1000 is great! My story is aimed at 10 to 12 year olds and I like to think I have found a new twist on Ancient Egypt, but I’I’d love you to be the judge of that!

  37. Well done to you. I would love for you to read my stories. I am a primary school teacher. I have written a series of picture books about a family of mice, in the style of limericks. Each story deals with important issues that I know children are faced with, eg. death, bullying, self esteem, etc. I would love your input.

  38. Some critique would be very welcome, therefore I would like to join the competition. Thank-you!! 🙂

  39. Thank you to everyone who posted – I have loved hearing about your books! There are exactly 50 entries. I am now printing out this page and cutting it up for the prize draw and the winner will be announced shortly… Good luck!

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