How I Got Published

SR AgaLesiewiczBy Aga Lesiewicz, author and Retreat leader for our
Creative Writing and Pilates Retreat.

Before I got published I was a promo producer, making trailers for television. I loved my job: it was fast, creative and varied. And then, the unexpected happened. Agonising pain in my knee literally knocked me off my feet. A torn meniscus, I was told, which could be fixed by a minimally invasive procedure called knee arthroscopy. I was sure I’d be up and running a couple of weeks after surgery. But that was not the case. Another surgery followed… and then another one. My knee simply refused to heal. Unable to walk, I had to face the terrifying reality: I couldn’t do my job.


The idea of writing a novel pulled me out of painkiller-induced apathy. I’d written hundreds of scripts for TV promos and trailers, but never tried my hand at a longer form. Promos are very short, usually thirty seconds long, which roughly translates itself into six lines of script, or about eighty words. But within those thirty seconds you have to tell a story, capture the viewers’ interest so they’ll watch the film. It teaches you how to write succinctly, how to pack in a lot of drama into six lines of script. Obviously eighty words is a long way away from eighty thousand words, which is the average length of a novel. You need much more time and commitment to write a novel. I’ve read somewhere that a short story is like an affair, a one-night-stand, and a novel is like a marriage. Being stuck on the sofa with my leg up, I felt quite ‘married’ to the idea of writing a longer form. 


SR Fiction
SR Script
SR laptop

Six months later, by the time I started hobbling about with a walking stick, I had the first draft of my novel. It coincided with Christmas and among the presents I received were the latest editions of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Getting Published. Both books offered invaluable advice. I formed a plan: I’d send a synopsis and the first thirty pages of my novel to twelve agents who represent the writers I admire most. And if all twelve reject my manuscript, I would try to write another book.

And then another unexpected thing happened: the agency who was at the very top of my list got back to me and, having read the whole manuscript, said they wanted to take me on. I was over the moon. After a couple of months of intense work with their editor, the book was ready to be released ‘into the wild’. Soon after a major publishing house acquired world rights to Rebound.

I had become a published writer.



Writing a novel whilst dealing with an injury gave Aga quite an insight into how important it is to take care of your body. In order to have a sustainable career as a writer, or working in any field that sees you sitting for long periods of time, you need to be able to take care of your core muscles, and have a strong and limber back. Pairing up with Georgie Chester for the retreat to offer the balance of physical well being with writing has become the perfect synergy. Come and join us on our next retreat!!

SR you can do it