Berkhamsted author Polly’s garden fable is already a real winner

Berkhamsted author Polly Walker
Berkhamsted author Polly Walker

Four garden creepy-crawlies are helping to blaze a new trail for budding authors – and the Berkhamsted teacher who created them couldn’t be more delighted.

Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech are the central characters in a book by mother-of-two Polly Walker which is being hailed as the first success for new publishing concept Britain’s Next Bestseller, which is also based in the town.

The web-based publishing portal allows authors to submit manuscripts which can then be given a target for the number of orders they need to achieve in order to seal a deal for the book to be printed.

Natalie Wills of BNBS said: “Britain’s Next Bestseller is shaking up the publishing industry by giving authors a new, fairer way to land a publishing. Writers pitch their manuscripts and readers choose who gets published.”

Polly’s £7.99 story was the first to reach its target, securing 250 pre-ordered sales, so now her story is heading for the printers.

In the book, Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech are firm friends sharing the ups and downs of life but they are deeply troubled by the way they look.

Miss Stick Insect helps the creatures achieve what they think will be a marvellous make over but they soon realise their new-found beauty has come with some catastrophic consequences.

The quartet learn that being beautiful has not made their lives complete and they are faced with a difficult choice.

Polly, who has two young daughters, is a qualified primary school teacher who has wide experience of working with pupils who have special educational needs.

She said: ‘I’m really excited about my book being published and my story being read to children to explore and discuss matters relating to their self-worth, self-esteem and identity.

“As a new author it’s fantastic to be part of an innovative publishing campaign that is empowering authors and readers.’

“This route from manuscript to publishing deal is a dynamic and attainable one which allows the author to take ownership of the process.

“Empowering the reader to take such a decisive role is also a hugely positive step.”

Although other publishers were interested in her work, the BNBS ‘crowdfunding’ model has allowed her to make much faster progress towards her dream.

To find out more about BNBS, visit