How I Got Published by Terri Nixon

How I Got Published by Terri Nixon

Welcome to How I Got Published by Terri Nixon, another in the occasional series of guest posts by authors who reveal their journey to getting published.  When I read it through, Terri’s story of finding good news in her junk mail folder struck a chord. I had a similar experience, but that’s another story…

Over to Terri:

How I Got Published by Terri Nixon

Like almost every other writer I’ve met or known, I’ve been jotting things down and making stuff up more or less since I was able to write. (I still have a poem I wrote at the age of 7, in the straggly handwriting that hasn’t improved one bit since then.)

In the early 00s I had my first short stories published with an indie publisher called BeWrite, and before that I’d written what was, until recently my ‘trunk novel.’ This has since been revised and updated, and came out in 2021 as ‘Crossfire.’

BUT – the path to my first actual publication of a novel was strewn with false starts, accidents, and other assorted rubbish. I’d always planned to write a kind of memoir based on my maternal grandmother’s experiences as a cook in a big house, in the years between the wars, but it was one of those, ‘yeah, one day,’ kind of things.

Then, in 2007 I was diagnosed with cancer, and when I came out of that I realised I’d better get on with things. By that time all I had were the stories Grandma had left – some of which were absolute corkers – and all I could try to do was to bring them together in some fictional version of her life. But somewhere along the way, the story took off in a completely different direction and I’d even changed the era to pre-mid WW1. (Mary is still in the book as a secondary character, under her maiden name, Deegan, where she is the steadfast friend of my main character.)

I’d shipped the manuscript around to some agents and publishers, getting a couple of requests for ‘fulls’ but never quite hitting the right desk at the right time. What was even more annoying was that, at this time (2012) Julian Fellowes was starting to talk about his brand new series Downton Abbey…set in a big house pre-WW1. Even the family’s name was similar, mine being Creswell, his being Crawley. It had the same sweet but politically-aware daughter of the house, the same Scottish housekeeper, and my character was interchangeable with Daisy, Downton’s hapless kitchen maid. I just about gave up at that point.

Then, when I was shutting down my laptop for the day I noticed a pop-up somewhere, advertising a novel competition with a category for historicals. It was closing that day, in about an hour, in fact, so I just thought, ‘why not?’ and entered what was then called Saturday’s Child.

After the comp had closed I did that stupid thing where you check your submission again, and realised I’d sent the wrong version of the synopsis. I had nothing to lose, so I emailed them to ask if it was okay to substitute the correct one, and they let me.

I then promptly forgot all about it, until one day a few months later I was emptying out my over-stuffed junk mail folder during a quiet time at work, and found several emails from the organiser of the competition. I ran out of the office right there and then to call her, and she told me I’d won, and that they’d been trying to get hold of me for quite some time; I gathered that they’d been about to give up on me, just as I’d given up on my story. (Note: I now check my junk mail folder daily!)

First prize was e-book publication of the winning novel. The editor understood I was a total novice, and she guided and advised me through re-writes until we were both delighted with the result, and Maid of Oaklands Manor was finally published in 2013 as a digital first book. It later came out in paperback, and since then Piatkus (an imprint of Little, Brown) has offered me three further 3-book deals and been every bit as supportive as with the very first novel they took from me.

I’m hugely lucky to be a hybrid author; trad, indie and self-publishing, and plan to continue doing all three until someone tells me they don’t want my stuff anymore. As long as it’s not the self-publishing arm that says that, I’ll be happy!








As well as historicals, Terri writes the Clifford-Mackenzie crime fiction series as R.D. Nixon, published by Hobeck Books.

Crossfire is the first book in the series:

To what depths would you sink to protect your own?

Hogmanay 1987: 

A prank robbery has fatal consequences.

Five Years Later:

Highlands town Abergarry is shaken by the seemingly gratuitous murder of a local man. The case is unsolved.


Present Day:

Ten-year-old Jamie, while on holiday in Abergarry with his mum Charis, overhears a conversation. To him, it is all part of a game. But this is no game and the consequences are far more serious than Jamie ever imagined.

Old wounds are about to be reopened.

Struggling PI team Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie find themselves involved by a chance meeting. How deep into those wounds will they have to delve to unravel the mystery?


I hope you enjoyed How I Got Published by Terri Nixon. Here are links to previous authors who have written their Publication Journey stories for the blog:

Jackie Baldwin

Penny Batchelor

Amanda Brittany

Alice Castle

Anne Coates

Helen Cooper

Chris Curran

Judi Daykin

Harry Fisher

Antony Dunford

Lin Le Versha

S.E. Lynes

A.B. Morgan

Maureen Myant

Jonathan Peace

Brian Price

Sue Shepherd

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Under the name Rae Sargeant, she writes the Gleveham Killers Suspense series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend. Her titles as Rachel Sargeant, with HarperCollins, are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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