A few days ago I was contacted by Tom Vowler, a writer living in Devon (like me). Tom has published a number of short stories and articles — indeed, he is also a freelance writer — and has written a novel called Child-B, the first two chapters of which you can find on his website. (Tom has gone ‘old school’ with his website, by the way, so if you come to his site via Google you might be confronted with just his biography; to get the version with the menu ‘frame’ on the left, either use the link I posted above or snip the URL text down to http://www.tomvowler.com.)
Anyway, to recap, Tom is a would-be novelist with an excerpt of his work on the web. BFD, right? Well, maybe. But hold on. Readers in the United Kingdom will be aware that the Richard and Judy Book Club has done for UK publishing what Oprah Winfrey has done for its American counterpart. That is, a book is (i) selected for on-air discussion, (ii) said book then receives massive sales boost, (iii) author then gets a McLaren F1 and, a week later, writer’s block.
Tom’s book has not actually been published, so it cannot be selected for the book club treatment. However, Richard and Judy recently ran a competition to find the best opening chapter of a novel by an unpublished author. Guess what? Tom’s chapter came in the top ten. This isn’t some obscure competition run by a low-circulation magazine that costs you a fiver to enter, either. The total number of entries for this competition exceeded 43, 000.
Interested? Read more.