A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

The Path to Publication by Mo O’Hara

Cue music for ‘Long and Winding Road’ by the Beatles.


So that’s it pretty much it.  The road to publication is often a long and winding one.  But everyone’s long and winding road is different so all I can do is tell you a little bit about mine.

Recently I ran a half marathon.  Anyone that knows me will know that this was not normal for me.  The last race that I ran (in 5th grade) I came in 199th out of 200 kids.  Still, I made the goal and I set out to do it.

It was only after the race that  I started to think how similar my approaches were to both my goal of running the half marathon  and my goal of getting published.

Firstly, I realised that I am influenced by people ( maybe more than I should be).  So as soon as I signed up for the race I told people about it.  With my writing, as soon as I knew that I wanted to write for kids and be serious about it, I told people.  I took a writing course and told people on the course. I joined SCBWI and told people there.  I started going to a crit group and told people there.  If people knew it was harder for me to back out of it.

Then I started training. I researched about working out, nutrition and cross training.  In my writing I researched about writing for kids. I took courses. I attended masterclasses. I went to talks.  I learned about what I wanted to do.

I found a group of runners with the same goals as me and I ran with them. It’s what got me out of the house on those cold wet mornings when the sofa called to me and it kept me going when I was beyond tired.  My crit group and my SCBWI friends were my writing support that spurred me on to write that next chapter, send out that next letter or go to that event and pluck up the courage to talk to that editor or agent.  They kept me going.

Finally, I ran the race.  After all the training and preparing I showed up and I ran it.  With the writing it wasn’t quite as straightforward but after many many abandoned manuscripts, two agents, six books with a book packager and more rewrites on my first book than I can count I was published.

It was a long and winding road but I honestly think if I skipped any part of it I wouldn’t have been prepared for it all when it happened.

Now I have a couple of medals and some worn out trainers to prove to myself that I’m a runner and I have my books, with my name on the spine, on a bookshelf to prove I’m an author.


I don’t know what lies ahead of me on the rest of my path but I know I have my trainers laced up and I’m ready to run the next leg of my journey.


About Mo – 

Originally from America, Mo now lives in London with her husband, kids and two mischievous cats. Mo now has six books out in ‘My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish’ series for 7+, published by Macmillan in the UK and Feiwel and Friends in the US. The latest in the series is ‘Jurassic Carp’ which came out in July 2015. Her new picture book with Macmillan comes out in August 2016! It’s a funny, warm take on melded families called ‘More People To Love Me.’ She also wrote six books in the Ladybird series “Puddle the Naughtiest Puppy.” Mo worked as an actress and as a storyteller, touring theatres and schools all across the UK and Ireland. As well as her stories for children Mo has also written for radio and theatre and has performed her own comedy material in London and Edinburgh.


2 comments on “The Path to Publication by Mo O’Hara

  1. Kathryn Evans
    February 1, 2017

    This sounds SO FAMILIAR! xx

  2. Katie Marie
    February 4, 2017

    I can really relate to this. Glad to hear your ready and waiting for the next milestone 🙂

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 1, 2017 by .

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