When Yellow Rose Publishing Ltd released Abigail’s Rainbow they already believed it was going to be a Best Seller. Abigail’s Rainbow is about Nicola’s journey through grief after her daughter Abigail died in a car accident in 2007. At the time of Abigail’s passing there was a lot of media interest covering the accident and again at the time of the court hearing.
The reason Nicola wrote her story was to share with others that the pain and suffering felt while grieving was normal, that they were not alone in their grief.
Nicola set up a Facebook Group “Abigail’s Rainbow” to raise awareness of her story while she was still writing. Within a matter of hours she had reached 1,000 members in the group, two days later over 2,000. This raised the eyebrows of The Scottish Sun, Scotland’s biggest selling newspaper. They were interested in running a feature on her story, Nicola took the opportunity to use this to try and find an agent and publisher.
This progressed to Nicola using a Media Consultancy company to approach magazines too. In July 2012 she had an exclusive contract with Take a Break in the UK. It was several months before they released their article that was spread over two pages of the magazine. This was fantastic advertising and they paid for the story rather than Nicola for the advertising!
The Writers and Artists Year Book was Nicola’s bible, she read everything about agents and publishers; scrutinised all their requirements both in the book and online – research was the key. Some publishers won’t even read your first three chapters, synopsis and covering letter if you don’t follow the format of their requirements to receive it. Do your homework!
Nicola received many rejection letters, all expected. But each time they arrived by email or post she believed she was one step closer to that “Yes” she was searching for. Many of the letters were personal and identified with her story so at least she knew they had read her manuscript! The majority of their rejection letters stated that her story didn’t fit what they were looking for or didn’t believe it would be a best seller, but they all wished her success.
Then one day the email came, an agent was interested. The excitement and hype in the house was incredible. A few emails went back and forth, then three days later came the usual “no,” but this time it came with an explanation of why along with statistics of how many books needed to be sold to make it viable for a publisher to take her book on. Nicola comes from a business background, this kind of response was a breakthrough and she decided there really was no point in approaching anyone else.Several hundred pounds had been spent in her quest for that deal breaker, along with many hours of research, all to no avail. But this agent was different; he suggested she published it herself using what skills she already had.
Nicola replied to his email wondering what skills he thought she might have, she didn’t see herself as a writer. She had shared her inner most pain, thoughts, feelings and emotions with her laptop that soon became a book. No literary skills or experience. So, she sent a cheeky email asking if she could take him out for lunch to “pick his brains.” To her surprise he agreed.
A week later she emailed him her manuscript and paid him to edit Abigail’s Rainbow. A few days after that, she ran a competition in her Facebook Group asking for ideas for the name of her publishing company. In return they would win a copy of her book. From the many entries within a few hours Nicola chose “Yellow Rose Publishing.” A lady from Caithness, Scotland had suggested it because there was a single yellow rose blooming in her garden that made her smile every time she saw it. This gave Nicola goose bumps, it felt right and so that was the winner. Yellow roses were the original colour for love, not red as they are now. This Nicola felt showed her love for her daughters.
By the time Take a Break ran the story Abigail’s Rainbow had already been released. So again this proved to be good for advertising at no cost.
December 2012 Nicola decided to go one step further and asked the media consultancy company to approach TV shows offering an interview. They said they doubted it would be worthwhile. But Nicola persisted and asked them to try anyway. The answer was already “No” without trying so what harm would a few phone calls do.
Nicola feared TV but knew that to make the world aware of her story she had to face the media. A few weeks later she received an email… ITV This Morning, a UK national TV show was interested and scheduled her in for the end of January 2013.
A few days before the New Year Nicola received a call from BBC Radio 5 Live, they wondered if she would be interested in being interviewed for their show. The following evening they sent a chauffeur to collect her and take her to their London studio to pre record the interview. Nicola was so pleased she had been interviewed on Rock FM, Cyprus where she lived at the time as she had begun to overcome her nervousness.
The following morning Nicola received an email from Norway, a gentleman had listened to her interview online and wanted to share his feelings and how her interview gave him hope. There have been messages sent privately to Nicola in the thousands from around the world, wishing her well, asking for support but most of all people sharing their stories, the pain they were feeling but found hope from listening to her interviews and reading Abigail’s Rainbow.
31st January came and Nicola now found herself in “make up” getting ready for her TV interview on national television. The nerves were kicking in. A few celebrities walking around and all Nicola could think to herself was “Please do not swear!”
The response was phenomenal, she was inundated with messages in her Facebook group, so many that at 1am she still hadn’t been able to catch up with all the wonderful heartfelt messages and from those sharing their stories through grief.
1st February, 6am Nicola woke still buzzing from the day before. She checked online and saw hundreds of messages still to catch up on. Someone had mentioned that she could become a best seller. Nicola laughed to herself and then went on Amazon to see where her ranking was. She had already moved from several hundred thousand in the rankings to 15,665 the day before her TV appearance. The morning after… Top 100 Best Seller ranking 56 in paperback and 62 in Kindle. Nicola could hardly believe what she could see. The tears and emotions overwhelmed her. She always believed her story was needed in the world and this was the proof and made it all worthwhile. There were times when Nicola wanted to give up writing. The pain and emotions that she was living were like torture at times. But her drive was always to help one person in the world, to let them know that what they were suffering was ok, they were normal. But through writing Nicola didn’t only help so many thousands of others, she also helped herself. Through writing she found forgiveness and this far outweighs any Best Seller ranking.
Nicola’s advice to all you budding writers is if you believe in yourself and believe in your story then never give up.