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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Discovering the Diamond a Must for All New Writers

Discovering the Diamond is a must for all new authors as Pauline Barclay found out when chatting with best selling author, Helen Hollick.

P: Discovering The Diamond sounds like an adventure novel set in a wilderness where wealth is amassed from mining diamonds, but this book is about a very different adventure and yet still can have the same glittering results, so what is the book about?

H: Well, it is my first (and probably only) foray into writing non-fiction. Discovering the Diamond is primarily for new and novice writers, but it is also aimed at  those who have written a self-published novel (or two, or three,) but are wondering why they are not receiving glowing reviews, or who want to polish their work to a higher standard but are not sure what bits of it need to be attended to. I have been a published author for twenty years now and have made quite a few mistakes along the way – especially when I first ventured into going ‘Indie’ (self-published) here in the UK. That was a sharp learning curve I can tell you - with quite a few pot-holes, pits, and traps to be negotiated! I’ve learnt from experience (often bitter experience) but I am passionate about helping others to achieve their dream, so Discovering the Diamond is one way that I can help people to do so.

P: What prompted you to write Discovering the Diamond?

H: My editor, Jo Field,  and I often receive e-mails from ‘wanna-be’ writers   asking for advice on writing technique. Jo and I found that we were answering the same questions over and over, so decided to format a few simple notes which could save us writing the same replies.

That first A4 sheet soon doubled, then quadrupled as people came back with additional questions, until we found that we had a small booklet on our hands.

Then someone responded with a thank you, saying: “I knew there was something not right about my book, but I didn’t know what it was. Having read your helpful notes I now realise I have too much ‘author’s voice’ and I ‘head hop’. Thank you so much for showing me how to clear the mud from my rough jewel and turn it into a polished diamond!”

It was then that it became obvious that there were keen writers out there who would appreciate a few basic tips.

Using the expertise of my UK assisted publisher, SilverWood Books, Discovering the Diamond was transferred to an e-book format, but e-mails and comments convinced us to produce it in paperback form – it seemed our modest little tome was becoming quite popular!

P: Who is the book aimed at?

H: Primarily new or novice writers who have not had a book mainstream published. Writers who already are self-published or who are thinking of self-publishing a novel, might find DtD useful. Avid readers might also find the technique of how writers produce a book to be of interest as well.  Writers’ Groups might benefit from a read-through. It is not aimed at writers who already know how to produce a book correctly, or who know the required techniques. I like to think  Discovering the Diamond is similar to a car drivers’ Highway Code – you need to read and understand the “rules”  before taking a driving test, but experienced drivers should already know them.!

P: Can the book replace using an editor?

H: Definitely not! An editor is essential. No writer can spot their own errors. Did yu kno tht mny peple can stll undrstnd a sentnce evn whn mst of the vowls ar mssng?
I rest my case.

What Discovering the Diamond is useful for, however, is helping writers polish their work to the best of their ability before sending it to an editor.

DISCOVERING THE DIAMOND by Helen Hollick & Jo Field : tips for new writers on how to produce a diamond of a book

P: What three pieces of advice would you offer to a new author?

H: Don’t ask your family or best friend to give an opinion of your novel. You will not receive an honest answer. Or if you do it could be the end of a friendship!
Do send your novel to a good editor for a professional polish.
Do enjoy your writing!
*laugh* can I make it four? Do buy a copy of Discovering the Diamond and leave a comment on Amazon after you’ve read it!

Helen’s Links

Direct link to book page on website:
main Blog:
& Twitter:   :   @HelenHollick

You can find out more about Pauline Barclay by visiting our Author, Books, Trailers & Review Pages


  1. Thank you Pauline - you are such a lovely lady to be so supportive of so many varied and interesting authors!

  2. What a FAB title! It sounds like a must read. Well done, Helen! :)