What's going on 5 years after I finished The Kissing Booth

July 21, 2016
It's been a crazy five years since I first posted The Kissing Booth on Wattpad back in 2010.

Only a few of you guys have been with me since the very beginning. So first, here’s a little timeline:

  • April 2011: I was fifteen, and began posting a novel I’d just started writing to Wattpad.com. That novel was called The Kissing Booth. I was in the middle of my GCSE exams at school.
  • June 2011: I’d submitted a short story to Bliss magazine (now out of publication) and they came back to me saying they’d publish my story in the next issue. My first foray into a more traditional form of publishing, and very exciting.
  • July 2011: Now sixteen, I finished posting the last chapter of The Kissing Booth on Wattpad in late July. I was overwhelmed by how viral it had gone: I was getting hundreds of comments on each chapter, and into the millions of hits. I also began posting the companion novella, The Beach House – which started out as chapters I’d cut out of The Kissing Booth because they’d made it drag.
  • August 2011: I was approached via Wattpad by Canadian company, Smokebomb Entertainment. They were launching a government-funded app, Totally Amp’d, and hired five Wattpad writers to write backstory novellas for the main characters. This was my first paid writing (also very exciting).

After I finished The Beach House, I started working on my second published novel, Rolling Dice, for NaNoWriMo (read more about NaNoWriMo here). I posted that on Wattpad, too, and then worked on a few other things.
Then, we get to…

  • October 2012: I was contacted by an editor at (Penguin) Random House via Wattpad, who wanted to publish my novel, The Kissing Booth. My dad and I met with them a couple of weeks later, and by December 2012, the ebook was published.

The paperback followed in April 2013, but press attention had already started, and I was in my final year of A-Levels and had applied for university. It was a crazy time. I was juggling studies and friends with writing and media attention and, you know, being published. In a word: surreal. In two: beyond surreal.

I started at Exeter University in September 2013 (now, I’m a BSc Physics graduate from there – whoop!), with my second novel, Rolling Dice, having been published in the August. My third novel, Out of Tune, came out the next July (2014).

That was a crazy summer too. 

I’d been named by Time as one of their ’16 Most Influential Teens of 2013’, and I was nominated for Queen of Teen alongside John Green, Juno Dawson, and Cathy Cassidy. I even got to attend and speak at YALC, and got to go to Canada to visit Wattpad.

I also signed on with a literary agency that summer (I’m now represented by Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson).

My second year of uni was a little more settled, but I was commissioned to write a Quick Reads novel for Accent Press, called Cwtch Me If You Can. That was published in 2015.

And then came my third and final year of uni. I decided not to commit to any writing responsibilities: studies came first. (But I did still do a couple of things – a photoshoot for EasyJet, and a piece for the Royal Mail.)

It wasn’t a quiet year though – I spent hours for weeks on end sending out applications for graduate jobs, filling in their online tests, doing interviews… Followed by some actual assessment centres and final interviews earlier this year. Glad to say all the hard work paid off and I have a job sorted!

And now, here we are. 

Five years down the line from when I finished posting The Kissing Booth on Wattpad. Five years since I realised that maybe I wasn’t completely rubbish at this writing thing after all.
(Honestly, I had zero confidence until Wattpad. I have so much love for my readers there.)

You might also like this post, on how I got published.

At the moment, I’m working on a couple of projects, as you guys might be aware. 

I’m posting a story called Betting Boy on Wattpad (find out more here), editing one WIP, and writing another WIP. Plus, you know, enjoying my summer and FINALLY getting on the Orange Is The New Black bandwagon.

If you’d told me six years ago that by the age of 21, I’d have three novels and a novella published, I’d have thought you’d completely lost your mind. If you’d told me five years ago, when I was able to see some of the success of my first novel online, I might have been a little less sceptical – but it still seemed like a wild, crazy dream.

Crazy how much things can change in five years, huh?

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