#SYPchat: Estelle Maskame: “Don’t overthink it – just put pen to paper and write whatever idea you have.”

Our January event How To Get Published looks to do what it says on the tin: give you insight into the process of getting your work published. Accordingly, our #SYPchat events are doing the same! Estelle Maskame started self-publishing her work on Wattpad, and though she’s only 18, her Did I Mention I Love You? trilogy has been picked up and published by Edinburgh’s Black & White publishing, and sold into several territories. You asked your questions in droves, and here are the results!

estelleSo, how did Estelle get into writing? “Back in primary school, ‘storywriting’ was a weekly thing. It was my favourite subject and it turned into a hobby! I always loved writing but I didn’t start seeing it as a potential career option until I was 13!”

She then moved to Wattpad, publishing her own work; this is where she started building her readership. “There’s SO many people on Wattpad, so there’s many readers to be gained! They definitely have a lot of cool features to enhance the writing/reading experience and it’s extremely interactive!” As for how she got people to read her story once published there, she was “asking friends to read it, [using] word of mouth, following people in my target audience, being active!”

Estelle also has a large and dedicated following on Twitter – so what are her tips for growing a fanbase? “Be active and keep fans involved,” she says. “I’ve always treated my readers as friends so we’ve got a great connection!”

The next step, as it were, was that her books were picked up by Black & White publishing: “For me I was extremely lucky. I wasn’t planning to get published but I was given the opportunity and I took it!”
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To start with, how has she found working with an editor after being self-published? “It’s so different, but also so amazing to have fresh eyes noticing things I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. They definitely keep me on track and help me to improve the quality of my writing!” Does this change how she feels about when she puts work out there? “I wasn’t that worried when I first posted my work online, because I didn’t think anyone would read it. Over time, as I’ve gained more and more readers, I feel like there’s more pressure to get things right! It’s scary, because I never want to disappoint them, but it’s also incredible having so many people share my love for my characters!”

How else has Black & White helped change and grow the DIMILY series? “They’ve helped me make it a whole lot better than it originally was and have brought it to different territories around the world! They’ve made me feel a lot more confident in my writing too. They’re the best!” As for those who translate her books, “I personally don’t work with them but they all do an amazing job!”

Her YA trilogy has proven a success, and her next step is “a standalone YA contemporary”, but will she always write in this genre? “At the moment, I’m definitely comfortable writing YA, mostly because I’m a young adult myself! But maybe the older I get, the more I’ll branch out into other genres! I’ve always fancied having a go at a YA thriller because thrillers are definitely rare in YA!”

As for her advice to fellow writers on confidence and writing, it’s simple: “There’s no right way to write, but in order to improve you definitely need to read a lot, write a lot. As long as you’re happy with your work, then don’t fear what others will think. Don’t be afraid to get your work out there by all means possible. Utilise social media for promotion!

“Don’t overthink it – just put pen to paper and write whatever idea you have!

Some quickfire questions: her favourite books of all time are All the Bright Places and Eleanor & Park, for 2016 she’s most excited to read How Hard Can Love Be by Holly Bourne, she likes to read John Green and Rainbow Rowell, would love to visit both Los Angeles and New York, and would recommend Say Her Name and Cruel Summer by Juno Dawson, for someone who likes thrillers.

Estelle’s route into getting published is a unique one and as we hope to show in our January event, there’s no one way into the publishing world. This was a great #SYPchat, and very informative look into her journey to being a published author!

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