Posted by: Debrah Martin | December 4, 2014

Writing backwards

iStock_000005417014Medium Juste head in handsWhy does a writer need to work backwards?

Funny question?

Not really. It occurred to me as I was editing one of my books that was first released about a year and a half ago. Sadly the publisher went bust in May and so Chained Melody has languished in published, but out of print, Neverland for the last 6 months. Having now finished the last in my Patchwork trilogy and merely waiting for it to be shredded by my editor and beta readers I turned to the next project – number two in my YA series, writing as sassy motor-mouth teenager, Lily Stuart. But Chained Melody kept coming back to haunt me. First I received a message out of the blue on Goodreads from a fan of the book saying how much they’d enjoyed it and that they couldn’t wait to read my next one. Since publishing it I’ve employed a pen name (or 3) so I told them what had come next and turned back to the YA book. Then an acquaintance mentioned she wanted to read Chained Melody… Really? I didn’t even know she knew about it! Ok. Time to revisit it.

question mark



Luckily I’d managed to retrieve all the files from the defunct publisher so I decided to do a quick re-read and then self-publish.

Whoa! Quick re-read? Not so fast!


I wrote the book in 2011-12, and it was released in January 2013. It was my first full novel – on a slightly offbeat topic – and badly/wrongly marketed by a (very expensive, and not very good) publicist, who will remain nameless. At the time, it taught me many things – how to write a full length novel, the importance of proofing well, the necessity for good reviews and that I knew nothing at all about marketing or getting the book beyond being in print. Since then I’ve learnt a good deal more: the value the right editor/ proof-reader – not just any, and the importance of finding the right niche and the right market. Also, and very importantly, the necessity of developing a thicker skin and being determined and well-informed – whatever; not everyone plays fair, or wants to. Some simply have an axe to grind and others have their own agenda. And of course I’ve found some amazing marketing tools now too – Books Go Social being one of them. I’ll follow this blog with a list of some of the others I’ve found particularly helpful.

So those were all the lessons I learnt, then? Wrong. As I started to re-read Chained Melody, I found that, whilst I was still pleased with the plot and the characters – and the message I wanted to send out with it was still much the same – my writing style had matured immeasurably over the intervening three years. I’d been continuing to learn simply by writing more. The ultimate lesson I learnt from the book then? To go back, review and rewrite – as many times as you need to; and this applies to all your books because in another three years’ time I may come back to something I’ve written now and see how it could be refined as a result of more experience too. Of course, I’m delighted with how the Patchwork series and my foray into YA fiction is going – but who knows what new lessons I will learn that I can apply to them in the years to come. If only life were like that; go back, review, rewrite …


The final in the Patchwork series will be released in the Spring of 2015, as will Magpies, the next in the series writing as Lily Stuart, but in the meantime, you can find all my recent releases here:



Patchwork Man (Patchwork series book 1)




Patchwork People (Patchwork series book 2) patchwork-people-3D








Webs (YA fiction writing as Lily Stuart)




And as an exciting little bonus, Patchwork Man and Webs will be on offer at 99c/99p on 10th December, with Patchwork People FREE on the same day.     

Find out about all of my books on my websites: 


Or follow me on Twitter @Storytellerdeb

or find me on Facebook: Author


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