Rosie Hewlett | Award-Winning Author

Rubery Book Award Winner: Medusa Myth Retold


"Before 2020, I had never let anyone read my work. However, after writing Medusa, I felt so passionately about giving her a voice and reclaiming her story, that I knew I wanted to share the book with others. When I sent Medusa to SilverWood, Helen responded with very positive feedback, and I could tell she had read it and was interested in publishing it. I was initially very nervous about releasing my book out into the world, but the response has been amazing and SilverWood held my hand throughout the publishing process. The designer also did an amazing job for my book cover."
Rosie Hewlett | Award-Winning Author

Author profile

After studying classical literature and civilisation at the University of Birmingham, Rosie Hewlett pursued her love of films and books by working in the film industry. Through internships and summer work placements, she gained experience on the production side and in film marketing. She now works full time for one of the largest creative production agencies in London, creating trailers and TV adverts for productions. Writing was always her creative outlet and, until she finished this book, it remained a private hobby. She says, "Until 2020, I had never let anyone read my work. But when I finished the book about Medusa, I wanted to get it out there and share the story with the world. My friends and family read the early draft and encouraged me to go for it. Although Medusa remained mostly silent in history, the stories surrounding her ancient character relate to some very current issues: the me-too movement and women finding their voice. It started out as a short story and ended up becoming a full book." The novel, Medusa, was published in April 2021 by SilverWood Books.

Designing the perfect book cover

Before self-publishing Rosie did contact some agents, but was advised that the book was a bit too niche, in spite of the resurgence of Greek myth retellings. When searching for a publisher, the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook led Rosie to SilverWood. "I was impressed with the quality of the books once I saw those published by SilverWood. The covers look very professional and they feel like proper books. When responding to my enquiry, Helen came back with some interesting feedback about my book and I could tell she was genuinely interested in publishing it. Although I was completely new to publishing and asked endless questions, my publishing assistant Enya was there throughout to hold my hand."

The cover design was a collaborative process between Rosie and the team; she provided moodboards and some pictures to supplement the ideas she gave with the cover design questionnaire. "No matter what we say, we all judge a book by its cover and the SilverWood designer did an amazing job on mine. I’ve had lots of lovely positive comments about it and my readers love to share photos of the book on Instagram. It looks really professional."

Marketing success for Medusa

Since launching her Instagram account to promote the book, Rosie has over a thousand followers. She also uses Twitter and finds some bookshops are tagging her and the book. She says, "With self-publishing, you don’t have a PR team behind you, so you need to utilise social media to reach and connect with readers. Fortunately, I have found a real sense of community from being on Instagram and I love seeing readers sharing their photos of Medusa. I started out by sending review copies in exchange for honest reviews, but after word-of-mouth got around, people began to read and review the book organically, sharing their photos and thoughts - which is wonderful to see!" In fact, Medusa has been spotted on a display table with other mythology books at Waterstones in Cambridge and it’s also been on display at Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles. She feels that the positive reviews have helped with the word of mouth about the book. "So many readers have said they really connected with the character Medusa and felt moved by her story. Given COVID restrictions I have not done many events yet. However, I did recently have a stall at the Women’s Equality Party Feminist Festival (which was all done virtually). I have also had the pleasure of taking part in a number of interviews, with book bloggers, a lovely youtuber who focuses on the ancient world (Moaninc) and a magazine that promotes women’s voices in pop culture and politics (Harpy Magazine)."

Rosie recommends that authors do put themselves forward for competitions and awards. "After publishing Medusa, I did a lot of research into the most prestigious book awards for indie writers and the Rubery Award always came near the top of every list, so I knew it was definitely one worth entering - and I’m so glad that I did, because Medusa won Book of the Year overall across all categories." In Rosie’s interview after winning the RBA, she says, "I wanted to give Medusa a chance to set the record straight. In terms of the original Greek myth, there’s always an element of people adding bits to the story, but I embellished the main story lines to add my own interpretation and develop her origin story. It was important to me that Medusa’s voice talked to a modern audience and she connected personally with modern issues for women." The RBA organisers wrote some great feedback about the book, saying, "It’s hard to imagine how we could ever view Medusa sympathetically, and yet here Rosie Hewlett manages to do just that with a voice that speaks to the modern world with surprising relevance. The legend is presented with enormous skill, offering us vivid flashes of understanding about ancient Greece - with some interesting original touches - lightened by touches of humour and a strong narrative drive." Rosie also achieved a silver medal in the Reader’s Favourite mythology category.

After working with SilverWood to publish her book, Rosie sums up, "I’d highly recommend SilverWood, depending on what suits the author; they offer a hybrid publishing experience which is really professional, friendly and supportive."

Work with SilverWood

Find out how SilverWood can help you publish your book by scheduling a free Discovery Call with one of our expert publishing assistants. Rosie worked with Publishing Assistant Enya Holland, and you can see Enya’s online diary here.

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins