A pat on the back

Dear Readers (92 of you, nearly up to 100 woo hoo!)

I thought I’d just send a quick writing update before my next Tokyo blog.

I have been working with a writing coach for the last three years since March 2020. Jacqui Lofthouse has a large writing consultancy and when I applied to her company, she decided to take on my project for herself. Like a coach in sports, she is there on the sidelines for me, to coach me and give me some accountability. But, like athletes it’s still down to them to get the work done. A writing coach, coaches and doesn’t teach.

Imagine if someone can’t swim and they want to learn how to swim. They go to the local leisure centre and learn how to keep afloat, kick their legs at the back and make a wide motion with their arms. If you knew how to swim but wanted to get faster and race, then you would have a coach tuning the finer points of your techniques. I have my own writing style and Jacqui has streamlined that. Side note: My grammar is still terrible.

I’ve applied to around 20 literary agents in the last couple of years. About 6 applications were off my own accord, which resulted in no replies at all, no feedback, and not even a no. I expect my work was put straight into the slush pile. With Jacqui we have applied to about 15 agents. Last year we had about 6 no’s, but some really useful feedback and some very near hits. The extra gold stamp of my book arriving on a desk as a recommendation from The Writing Consultancy bumped my words into the hands of agents.

In November 2022 we applied to a further 10 agents and so far have had 2 no’s. Not a huge return but maybe the Christmas period got in the way.

This week, I met Jacqui in Richmond, London on Tuesday in an ice cream parlour. We had 2 hours together, thrashing out more work and reviewing my last 4 chapters that I’d just submitted to her. The book is currently at 61,000 words and 29 chapters. I highly doubt anymore chapters will be added and we are just tweaking bits and bobs throughout the book now. I used to struggle to write 2000 word essays at university, and now I’ve written a 61,000 word book. Never give up on your dreams kids.

Our first meeting in March 2020 was in the British Library in Kings Cross, which became my favourite place to write, ever! Since then, we had to do all of our meetings on Zoom. So, this last meeting we made the conscious effort to meet in person in London and at a lovely location. After the trains got cancelled late Monday evening I had no other option but to drive. On a swollen knee may I add.

I woke up Tuesday morning to hear the radio reading out the amount of car accidents that had happened due to icy roads that morning and to only travel in necessary. Great start!

I drove the 3 hour journey to Richmond, Tuesday morning and waited for Jacqui whilst tucking in to some fresh Sushi. Jacqui gave me some great feedback about my final chapters and I totally saw her points for the words I’d created. We also spoke about self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Jacqui believes I should really give it one more shot with the traditional publishing route which includes getting a literary agent followed by a publishing company, and proper books on proper book shelves.

We have decided to produce a new submission pack for agents. Our previous efforts included a book synopsis, an agent letter and 10,000 words from the book. We will now include more information about the author (THAT’S ME!), news and media articles that have focussed on my journey, some key note speeches I’ve made, previous books that are similar to my genre and a full list of my network and how it can be leveraged. Lots of work to do but a good task to get through for my own purposes too.

So I titled, this biog ‘A Pat on the back’… Becauseeeee I drove 6 hours in one day to have a 2 hour coaching session. I’ve played sport all my life and I’ve never travelled 6 hours in a day to have a coaching session. So it’s a little pat on my back as I’m hoping the universe is listening to the dedication I am putting in to make this book great. Also, I’ve given myself the pat of the back, so you don’t have too. Seriously, I don’t take compliments well and they also make me take my foot off the gas sometimes. Delayed gratification. Tell me I can’t do it. That works more. haha. Ok, but be kind.

So, if you made it this far… We are giving it one more shot to the traditional publishing route, but in the background we will still work towards a self-publishing deadline for mid-March.

Thanks for your support as always, and if you would like to recommend my page to anyone that might subscribe and get me to 100 followers that would be terrific.

I also post videos about my writing on my Instagram HERE so please follow me. You can also find me on Tiktok and Twitter @AfMarseh

Have a blessed day.

Af Marseh

Below is a photo of me at the British Library in March 2020

British Library, March 2020 my favourite place to write ever


  1. Perseverance gets rewards. Nothing worth having comes easily in life. The road to our dreams is fraught with pitfalls and brick walls, but determination is the cannon that wipes all that out.

  2. #Yougotthisaf – (That’s All!)

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