Don’t do as I so nearly did

Heather, engrossed in my Pocket Novel, totally unaware of the camera

Yes, you’ve seen this photo before.

Heather is mentioned in my blog today because last week she saved me from doing something stupid. That something stupid involved A Dangerous Heart, my People’s Friend Pocket Novel which was published in March. I’ve used again the photo of the two of them together that I already have, rather than thrusting the novella into her hand and snapping her from a different angle. I hope you’ll forgive me for that.

At the meeting of the Oxford Writers’ Group last week, Heather mentioned that she’d been about to delete her spam emails when she’d thought she’d better check them first. She did, and what do you know – she found an offer of work from a publisher!! We were thrilled for her and said so, and then we continued with the meeting, and I thought no more about what she’d said.

At the weekend, faced with the choice of throwing my infuriatingly slow laptop against the wall or clearing from the laptop some of the things I didn’t need, I decided upon the latter course of action and started on my spam emails, of which there were about 300. I thought I’d save time, delete them all in one go and move on.

All of a sudden, as my finger hovered above the delete button, I heard Heather’s words in my mind – looking back, it was rather like a heavenly chorus sent to save me from myself. Heeding the message of her words, I decided to take the time to check all of the spam before deleting it. And what did I find …

… I found an offer from Ulverscroft to buy the world large print rights of A Dangerous Heart. It had arrived four weeks earlier, and I hadn’t seen it. Had it not been for Heather, I might never have seen it.

Happily, the offer wasn’t past the sell-by date, and I’m now waiting for the contract to arrive for a large print edition, which will be published under the name of Liz Harris, not Elizabeth, as it had been as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel.

So the moral is, NEVER DELETE ANYTHING without making absolutely certain that you know what you’re deleting.

I don’t think there’s any point in my asking if any of you have come close to making such a mistake, as I’m sure you’re all far more sensible than I!!

Or have you?



  • Congratulations!!!! And since a few years ago when I found an important school email in spam I don’t just click all and delete…but I hate scrolling through them!

    • Liz:

      It’s scary how easily you can miss something.

      And many thanks for the congratulations, Liz. I can’t wait to see it in the library!!

  • Phew! I’m glad you picked it up in time. I’ve nearly done that myself.

    Off to check my spam forthwith. 🙂

    Congratulations! I’ll be looking out for it in the library.

    • Liz:

      I keep thinking, what if I hadn’t gone to that OWG group. I probably would have phoned the publisher and (very politely, I hope) chastised them for not writing to me, and thus blacklisted myself my for all time. It doesn’t bear thinking about!

  • Linora Lawrence:

    A mini series of minor miracles! It must be something in the water in Oxford! Congratulations on the new contract – what a ‘near miss’ – you could so easily have insulted your publishers! Guardian angel as work indeed! It just shows how helpful it can be to share information.

    • Liz:

      You’re so right about the importance of sharing things, Linora. That’s one of the strong points about writers – they are so generous with each other in the way that they share their knowledge.

  • Jan Brigden:

    Wow! That is a story and a half, Liz. Don’t mess with the spam, eh?! Thank goodness for Heather’s words. I shall be extra careful to double check anything I receive without hitting delete too hastily. Many many congratulations on your news. Exciting times, Liz 🙂 x x

    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Jan, and thank you for the congratulations. Had I pressed delete, wine o’clock would have come very early that day!

  • Oh Liz, thank goodness you checked! That will explain why I haven’t heard from any agents…(only joking!). Congratulations on your good news.X

  • A near miss!
    An excellent point. Liz.

    You’ve just reminded me to go through my spam. There could be something lurking in the inbox…

    • Liz:

      I think there are going to be quite a few people who are scurrying through their spam boxes this evening. I hope that you – and they – are well reewarded for the effort. And I’ll have my cut, please!

  • Carol McGrath:

    A good warning. I am thinking of how quickly I delete and a particular costume pageant that I rescued just in time

  • susan Bergen:

    There ought to be a name for emails that have been incorrectly spammed. Spam fritters has already been taken unfortunately. Congratulations on the new contract, however. All’s well and all that…

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for your comment, Susan, and for the congratulations. I now delete my spam daily, having checked them first. Just imagine, a message telling me that I’d won the Euromillions might one day be spammed!

  • Im off to bed now, with the Monty Python Spam Song going round my head. Lovely spam. Wonderful spam 🙂
    Many congratulations, Liz.
    You can have eggs, baco, chips and spam….
    Laura x

  • I’m afraid I never give Ulverscroft time to contact me – as soon as I’ve got one of my pocket novels in my hot little hand, I pop it in an envelope to them and ask them if they want the Large Print rights. I too, am now off to check my Spam!

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for your comments, Laura and Cara.

      Laura – you didn’t mention fried spam. Happy memories of that with an egg on top of it.

      Cara – I hope you found the same good news as I!

  • Oh wow Liz, I’m in a cold sweat just thinking about how close you came to not knowing about this offer! Huge congratulations on your large print deal (phew!)

    Janice xx

    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Janice, It was, indeed, a scary moment. This week, too, their emails have gone into spam. I’ve learnt my lesson now, though!

      I hope your talk went well on the 16th.

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