Author Nicola May

How I published my own chick-lit novel…

For years author Nicola May tried mainstream publishers and literary agents to get her chick-lit book published. But then she decided to go it alone and self publish Working it Out – and incredibly it’s turned out to be a huge success. Here, she tells Sell Your Story UK how she’s now sold over 1000 copies…

Author Nicola May
Author Nicola May

How I Worked it Out for Myself


It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and Sauvignon Blanc to get where I am today, and I won’t lie in saying that getting a book published in the traditional manner is easy because it’s not. It is really very hard.
In the first instance, most importantly, your story has to be compelling. Your own life story may seem interesting to you, but unless you are in the public eye, or have something different to tell, why would anyone be interested?
In my debut novel, Ruby has a plan – 12 jobs in 12 months until she finds the one of her dreams.
I actually started writing Working it Out four years ago. Once I was happy with it, I submitted to loads of publishing companies to no avail. I’m a great believer that every ‘No’ brings you closer to a ‘Yes’, so I took all the rejections on the chin and just kept going.

Nicola May's novel
Nicola's Novel

All the comments publishers gave me were positive, but publishing is a business and taking on a debut author is always a risk, however good they think the book is.
I received one comment from a large publisher saying they hoped it wasn’t a bit regret turning me down, I knew then the book was good enough. Encouraged by my copy editor, who edits for Milly Johnson, Jackie Collins and Emily Barr, to name but a few, I decided to publish myself.
Through sheer determination and working on my own PR, I have now sold over 1000 copies. I’ve done this via my own website,, WH Smith, The Book Depository and Waterstones online. I am also now on Waterstones stocking system (evidently a difficult feat for a self-published author) and I am signing at their stores almost every Saturday this year.
It wasn’t until I got my first signing at Windsor Waterstones and this subsequent quote from Waterstones’s Carol Dixon-Smith that I began jumping for joy.
Working It Out appears on the surface to be a straight forward romantic comedy, but it is awash with some very unusual, eccentric, and highly entertaining characters, and is filled to the brim with love in all its many and varying forms. People who’ve read it tell me it’s highly entertaining, surprising, hugely funny but very touching.
Most recently I have been interviewed by Anne Diamond on BBC Berkshire and on 19th October I am sharing the stage with fellow bestselling author Emlyn Rees at The Big Reading night at Maidenhead Library.
Also, on 22nd October I have going to be talking on a panel about men and chick lit at the Festival of Romance. I am delighted to be sharing the bill here with one of my favourite authors, Carole Matthews.
I am going to carry on marketing the book myself but am still on the lookout for a major publishing deal, so watch this space!

For more information about Nicola May and her books go to And if you purchase her book through this site, she will personalise your copy.

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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