Publication Journey Story – Guest Post – Anne Coates

Publication Journey Story

Here is the third in a new series of guest posts where fellow writers tell me their publication journey story. Today I welcome Anne Coates, author of the Hannah Weybridge thriller series.

My Road to Publication by Anne Coates

Just before the pre-coronavirus I was giving a talk about Perdition’s Child, the fourth in my Hannah Weybridge crime thriller series published by Urbane, when I realised that this was, in fact, my thirteenth book.

My début was Dancers in the Wind, published in October 2016 but its conception was 1993, the year in which it is set. Back then I sent it to various agents, some replied with a standard rejection, others suggested changes but finally no one was interested in taking it further. I popped the manuscript into a drawer where it joined my first attempt at a novel and I more or less forgot about it.

At this time I was a freelance journalist and editor and had short stories published in a variety of women’s magazines including Bella and Candis. I had also written two non-fiction books commissioned by Wayland. I subsequently wrote Your Only Child for Bloomsbury, and then two books for students applying to and surviving university. By this time ebooks were beginning to be serious contenders in the publishing world and I was approached by Endeavour Press – now Lume Books – to write two parenting titles linked to the website I had founded, Parenting Without Tears. They also published a collection of my short stories, Cheque-Mate and Other Tales of the Unexpected and a short novella, A Tale of Two Sisters which included a couple of my longer short stories about family relationships.

My freelance career was going well and, among other jobs, I regularly abridged books for Reader’s Digest which gave me a real insight into what can be cut from a book and often make it a better read.

Then one afternoon I found myself at a loose end and saw the Dancers manuscript. I sat and read it and although I thought it needed rewriting and reworking, I was convinced it was still a good story. I worked on the hard copy, changing sequences, adding scenes and generally tightening up the copy. I was in editor mode. As I had changed computers several times since my last version, I had to key in the whole manuscript. I tried using Dragon dictate but I spent more time correcting mistakes to it was counter-productive.

Eventually I had a manuscript I was happy with. By now I was far more active on Twitter and went along to book events. Although a few agents I had met had asked to see it, no one offered. A US publisher wanted to publish but I wasn’t convinced they were right for me.

Then fate stepped in. I offered to review James Silvester’s début published by Urbane Publications and was sent a copy. When I looked at Urbane’s website there was a section where writers could pitch their work. I did. Matthew Smith asked to see the whole manuscript and then there was an agonising wait before a late night email. He had just finished reading Dancers and suggested a phone call the next day.

What I hadn’t expected when Urbane offered to publish was that Matthew saw it as a trilogy – what was to become the Hannah Weybridge series. At some point I had written the first three chapters of the then unnamed Death’s Silent Judgement and these had been transferred from computer to computer. I needed no second prompt.

Dancers in the Wind was published as I was finishing book two. Since then Songs of Innocence was published in 2018 and Perdition’s Child, this year in February. I am currently writing book five in the series – as well as a standalone psychological thriller – but who knows what will happen in these challenging times.

About Anne

Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Inspired by her mother who taught her to read before she went to school and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school in Harlow, Essex who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library – she feels still grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.
After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London where she has lived ever since. During her career, she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator. The birth of her daughter, Olivia, inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in in various women’s magazines including Bella and Candis.

After working on Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home, Anne went freelance and found herself interviewing all types of people from those working on gas rigs to prostitutes and some of their situations made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born…
The Hannah Weybridge series is published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018) plus the latest ‘Perdition’s Child’ (February 2020).

Anne Coates lives with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining and time with her family and friends.

Where to find Anne Coates:

Author Website:

FB Author Page:


Parenting Website – Twitter:

Thank you, Anne, for telling me your publication journey story. I’m looking forward to book five, and the standalone psychological thriller could be right up my reading street.

Anne’s latest book is Perdition’s Child.

For more posts in the Publication Journey series, click here and here.


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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