Gillian Carrick

About the author

Gillian Carrick is a former House of Commons researcher and feature writer for House magazine. She has worked on programmes on BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and Radio 5. Gillian has also written for many UK newspapers and magazines, including the Daily Mail and Daily Express, as well as the UAE-based Gulf News.

Her works include Hidden SuffolkThe Essential Guide to Arthritis; My Dog has Arthritis but lives life to the full; My Cat has Arthritis but lives life to the full; and My Dog has epilepsy but lives life to the full. Gillian’s latest book, Catfishing, marks her first foray into illustrated fiction and is due for release in early 2024.


Guest Writers: Gillian Carrick

Nov 8, 2023 | Guest Writers | 0 comments

As the old adage goes, there’s a book in everyone. But creative inactivity – otherwise known as procrastination, or writers’ block – stops many an inspiring writer getting beyond the first paragraph. Even famous authors admit there are times when they’d rather do the hoovering, or put out the bins, than tap away at their laptop.

My work in progress…

While I’ve been guilty of a bit of time-wasting myself, I’ve now adopted a new writing schedule. Most mornings, I head off to my local hotel; order an oat latte and get typing away. If I’ve produced a page of reasonably-absorbing copy by lunchtime, then the dog gets a long walk later. Everyone’s happy.

My new book, Catfishing, unashamedly targets feline fans: one opinionated cat with a light-hearted take on how his human/staff can win at the modern dating game. For this to work, he directs said human to release their inner cat, and adopt a ‘fake it, ‘til you make it’ approach (known on dating sites as ‘catfishing’).

This potential bestseller (hopefully not just in my dreams), hasn’t been fine-tuned yet, but I’m now at the stage of thinking ahead to how I’ll promote it. I learned early on in my writing history, that I couldn’t just sit back and hope my books miraculously market themselves.

An early lesson in doing my bit…

After working in BBC radio, I wrote newspaper features, before becoming an author. I was based in Suffolk at the time and was signed up by a publisher to write a guide on the hidden delights of this lovely county. The publisher took care of distribution, but I had to do my bit in promoting it.

I managed to convince the regional papers to support me; I did a signing at my local bookshop; utilised my radio connections to get coverage on the local stations, and had a launch party in the run-up to Christmas in the hope a copy might be deemed a good stocking-filler: the gentle ruse worked. The experience taught me that authors have to get out there, and put in a lot of effort in marketing their book. Sometimes, writing can be the easy bit…

I was then commissioned to write a series of animal-health guides, based on the premise that whatever the health challenges dogs and cats face, particularly when they’re older, they can still live life to the max.

As I’ve got a soft-spot for our four-legged friends, writing the series wasn’t exactly a hardship; although sourcing all the photos for the books was super time consuming. But cute pics of fluffy cats and doe-eyed dogs, arguably helped sales.

Do you need a publisher?

Being adopted by a publisher has its advantages: you might be offered an advance (albeit a small one) for starters. And it’s in their interests to help on the marketing front.

But if you can’t secure a publisher after a number of attempts, going down the self-publishing route (if it’s good enough for Charles Dickens; Beatrix Potter and EL James, it’s ok for us mere mortals), might just work out well. Your book could catch the eye of a publisher or agent who’s sweeping the internet for new talent; likes what you’ve written, and offers you a book deal.

The obvious routes for digital and print self-publishing, are Kindle Direct Publishing ( And if you’re a new author, or new to KDP, Jumpstart ( has helpful videos, and insider tips.

There are a number of publishing companies offering ‘do-it-yourself-doesn’t mean do it alone’ help. It won’t be cheap, but formatting your book; editing and helping with marketing, is part of the package.

The Writers & Artists Yearbook ( has information on these publishing consultants, as well as contact details of publishers and agents, if you’re still keen on going down that route. If you don’t want to buy a copy, you can read it for free at most reference libraries.

Short stories, competitions and more…..

Writing a short story could be a good warm-up act for any novel or memoir you might write in the future, and helps get your name out there. Most magazines, and some newspapers, have regular short story slots.
Prima magazine pays £100 per story in their monthly competition.

Writing Magazine ( also runs writing contests, and will feature your book free on their website. It’s also worth buttering-up book editors, and following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get the lie of the literary land.

Social media

A presence on social media is pretty imperative these days, and while you don’t have to be an influencer with 1m followers, it’s a good way of promoting your writing brand. I’ve been looking into BookTok (part of TikTok), which is the latest technology to embrace book marketing.

Novelists and non-fiction writers are posting videos about their books to build a following; and publishers and agents are seeing BookTok’s potential too: Harper Collins has set up a direct link to buy their books. If you’re tempted to sign up, the first step is to create a new TikTok account.

I’m planning a BookTok video for Catfishing. I just need to find a stunning, dictatorial cat to be the star. It shouldn’t be too hard…

Get your voice out there…

I was lucky enough to be a guest on the Goldster Book Club podcast ( recently; chatting with the presenter about my books, and my work with animals. It’s worth contacting podcasters in your field to see if you can be one of their guests, rather than having your own podcast: the markets getting rather crowded.

A paw note

Doris Lessing believed that all you need as an author is a typewriter, and a cat. As a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, she was clearly onto something. I haven’t come across anything she’s said about how to be successful at marketing. Be determined perhaps?

As any author knows, the path to publication can sometimes seem like one long catwalk, and the marketing side rather daunting. But have faith in what you’ve written, and promote it with total conviction. If you’re struggling on the marketing front, consider getting expert help. It could be the best investment you make. Good luck!


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