HAVE you always dreamed of becoming a published author? Trowbridge writer Elizabeth Keysian is urging others who, like her, have been writing but failing to find a publisher to make 2021 the year they finally see their works in print.

"I'd been trying to find a publisher for my historical romances for 17 years or so," says romance writer Elizabeth Keysian. "I'd already put some of my stories out there to be read for free on the Wattpad site. Then I lost my job, and knew I had to step things up a notch."

She started entering writing contests, but the one in which she struck lucky was held on Twitter, known as #PitMad. "You have to condense your story into just one Tweet, and say something eye-catching. It takes a lot of practice to distil all your hard work into less than 280 characters."

Agents, publishers and editors scour all the tweets with the #PitMad hashtag on a certain day, and ask writers they're interested in to submit a manuscript. "I was lucky," says Keysian. "A publisher in the US liked three of my Twitter pitches, and I ended up publishing five books with them, three of which became international bestsellers."

After striking out on her own for a while, she signed up with Dragonblade Publishing, and is in the middle of publishing a romance series set in Tudor era England. The next instalment, Lord of Mistrust, is due out at the end of December. "I was seduced by Dragonblade's lovely covers," she says, "but I haven't finished with the indie scene just yet. I love the flexibility of self-publishing, so I'm happy to remain a hybrid author for now."

her top tip for those looking to follow in her footsteps? "If you enter a writing contest, make sure you have your manuscript proofread, polished and ready to go - editors and agents hate to be kept waiting!"

If any budding authors out there want to give the #PitMad contest a try, all the details can be found at pitchwars.org. More info about Elizabeth and her books at elizabethkeysian.com.