Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

Sorry this post is late, I lost track of the weekend because it’s a bank holiday today!

As the writing is much as it was last week I decided to talk about other news in the writing world today.

First off – apparently, e-book sales are falling and physical book sales are rising in the UK as we suffer from too much time spent on too many devices.  I have to acknowledge I have not read a book online for months now – although as I only ever downloaded freebies I didn’t help the sales figures much anyway!

Secondly, we readers are more attractive to potential partners!  Recent research shows that if reading is listed as a hobby on a dating website, there are more responses. Reading is a joy in its own right, but it’s interesting to think about the social and psychology benefits of it.  I often wonder why some people adore reading and some don’t even think about picking up a book, so that is the next answer I want to find!

Lastly, a few words of wisdom from JK Rowling helped me out this week.  Just keep writing, guys. Finish the book/play/poem/whatever you are producing.  Keep going.  Get to the end.  You might not get picked up, but you have a much better chance if you have a finished product!

Happy writing,



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As I kind of said most of what’s been happening on Thursday, today’s post is a little shorter than normal!

This week has been all about submissions.  One thing I’m working on, and trying to improve each time, is the accompanying paperwork.

I’ve talked about the synopsis before but it’s also the covering letter, any additional short biographies and so on – all these need to be tailored.  Sometimes there are boxes on a screen to fill in, sometimes documents have to be uploaded, or emailed.  Some agents still only accept postal submissions.

For me, the key is to read the requirements at least twice before I start.  I also have to re-read everything I add at least twice at the end but that’s probably a nervous tic rather than a requirement!

Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t get caught out – when I first sent a submission out I got a response saying the agent was now focussing solely on historical fiction.  Once I contacted – the agent of a writer I thought was a great example of my tone and in the right genre – had decided to focus solely on non-fiction work.  Again, that wasn’t noted on the website or in The Writers and Artists Yearbook which had been my first port of call.

But putting those issues aside, we writers have one opportunity to catch the attention of our agent audience.  For me, that means if I don’t get a positive response I have to review how I am selling my work, and myself as a writer. I am not changing my story but I can change how I describe it, how I engage with the reader.  Even the most basic letter – a two paragraph description of myself and my story – has to be lively and capture attention.

I have to be honest and say that I’m still working on this.  But each attempt gets a little better and more natural, and that’s got to be good for the future.

Until I get picked up (or give up on being picked up) by an agent, part of my job as a writer is to keep improving, editing and revising my sales pitch, as I did the novel itself.

It will all be worth it when I get a positive response.

Happy writing,




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It’s 11pm, I haven’t really got anything specific in mind to talk about, so instead I will tell you about the last few days…

  • I’ve been working extra hours at my paid job – but not had much in the way of creativity in my unpaid one.
  • I got my first rejection email (it felt ok, and had some positive comments in it).
  • I’ve been researching more agents for next week’s submissions.
  • I sent off a submission with a typo in it, which has made me mad at myself.
  • I did a Pilates class yesterday which singularly failed to make me feel at peace with my place in the Universe, but did help improve my writer’s back!
  • I went to drama group and am now seeking out some scripts for our next performance. The only time I’ve ever wished I was a playwright, it’s an opportunity to find some new writers to read.

Sometimes, I feel I’m not achieving much and it’s true.  But sometimes, I feel I am not achieving much and I’ve done a lot – it’s just not all on a new piece of paper, and I can’t check the word count.

There are elements of a writing life which are distinctly administrative – printing, filing, e-mailing, typing letters. It’s all writing work, and it’s all part of the process, and it does me good to remind myself of that.

And some things are only tangentially linked. That’s ok too: part of writing is recognising where you can find ideas and inspiration…

If that’s from a Pilates mat in a hotel banquet hall, so be it!

Happy writing,

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Yep – it’s submission season once more.

I thought I’d aim for 3 a week but then my real brain came into use and reminded me that I would probably not do that, and would then feel a failure. The reality is that I have to have my husband sit with me and do submissions to read things through together in case I muck it up, which limits the number I can do in a week!

I have sent it out though. And oddly, it felt much less stressful than it did two years ago, when it caused me anxious days and sleepless nights waiting for a response which never came. Now, it’s a bonus if it’s picked up, but not the end of the world if it isn’t.

There’s a lot of great writers who never get published, and a lot of terrible dross that does: it’s probably as much luck as judgement getting anywhere in the literary world!

So now I’ve started, I feel good about that, and can expend some energy on new tasks. Watch this space on that one, I have an idea and I might plan it out a bit with you guys!

You may have noticed it is another very late night – I had drama group today so was out late – and I am trying to get more quality rest so I am leaving it there for tonight with an apology for two rubbish blogging days.

But I’ll be back tomorrow sharing my reading jaunts with you – watch out for a bit of a classic!

Happy writing,

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This post is unexpectedly late due to my husband getting ill, sorry about that, but he has been in need of a little tlc, and I’m going to keep this short for the same reason.

So a quick recap – last week was a positive one: editing was completed, agents were identified, appropriate synopses have been started.

I feel energised in my writing, and have a plan.

My plan involves agreeing with a friend that in 6 months, if no pick-up from agents, I will self-publish. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it is a plan, and it gives structure to my aimless amblings earlier in the year about what to do for the best.

It also means I can now get down to work on my next project – either a re-work of an earlier draft book or a follow-up to the one being sent out.  I have a brief timeline for the follow-up so could build on that but I kind of like the idea of revisiting something I’ve done, in my newly-positive editing mindset, and seeing whether it’s got potential to work. That is a decision for the next few days.

Yep, last week was a good week.  This week hasn’t got off to the best of starts but give it a few days and I should be back on track.

Watch this space!

Happy writing,



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I’ve been talking about my writing a lot recently – for a number of reasons and to a pretty mixed audience.  It surprises me how easy people think it is to be published; as though every writer has a raft of offers (if only).

I explain the options of traditional publishing vs self publishing and how literary agents are the first line of resistance when it comes to most traditional publishing, but still I get the ‘of course you’re published’ comments that make me feel a little like I’ve failed them.

Getting an agent isn’t automatic, isn’t that easy for most people, and doesn’t guarantee publication anyway!

It surprises me how many people don’t know what goes on for writers, really – questions and assumptions I’ve heard about my own ‘career’ can be really demotivating, and quite honestly I have rejection letters and emails for that, I don’t need it from people in general conversation!

On the more positive side, editing has gone really well this week, despite a few shaky days when I couldn’t fit writing work in because of other things going on.  In some respects I think the busy days helped me because I was so keen to make up some lost time that I’ve managed to do more in an editing session than I would normally expect.

I now have just 34 A4 pages left to go, and that is my task for tomorrow.  I hope it won’t take more than 3 hours but if it does, I’ll just have to hunker down for a long evening.  Luckily, as I am working a lot of extra hours from Tuesday onwards I should get out of work on time tomorrow!

I’m still enjoying revisiting the book; there have been a few changes to improve the flow but really, there’s not a lot of alteration.  I want to build on this little world I have created though, and explore where these characters go – so I am really keen to get going on the sequel.

Perhaps that’s the part I miss when talking about writing.  Publication is an ideal, because I want people to read what I’ve produced – but writing is the goal.  I don’t write because I want a lucrative career, or a twitter following, or the film rights, or to be able to wear designer dresses to fancy awards.  I write because I need to write.  When I don’t sit down and build a story, or poem, or moment on a piece of paper, I am missing out on joy.

The rest is just wrapping paper.  The writing is the gift.

Enjoy your gift,



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In preparation for my competition entry this week, I spent most of my time on my first novel.

Re-reading it has been really lovely. It has identified a few minor issues to tidy up, which is the task for next week, but I doubt that will take more than an hour or so.

Re-doing the synopsis has been much more time-consuming.

When I first prepared everything for agents, I followed all the guidelines to a tee, and the majority of those only allow for one page of text. Looking at that after a little time has passed showed me where I had missed a trick, in terms of building the story. I’m not sure I got it right for this competition, but it is something I will definitely be focussing on over then next couple of weeks.

All this has really got me excited about the book again, so after debating my next options for a while, I am going to try to agent route again. If it’s still unsuccessful I have the option to self-publish, and I will prepare for that too.

The book represents a transformation in my life – giving up my career to write, building an on-line presence, creating a writing community locally. I changed my world to make it happen, and I don’t want that to be wasted.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this month. For the rest of tonight, though, I am logging off as we are in for a storm and I think my power might be compromised!

Happy writing,

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It’s about 10.20pm and I’ve just got in from my writing group. It was a bit of an odd evening, but it was a good night.

It seems a long time ago when I decided that I should set up my own group to meet my own desires, and someone said something today that really made me proud.

They have published their book via Amazon and have sold a number of copies, both print and Kindle, and they said they wouldn’t have done it without the group. They may have written without us, but we were the catalyst for publishing this year, for just getting their work out into the world.

It’s amazing what a writing support group can achieve – people writing and performing poetry for the first time in their lives; people writing their first novels; people publishing their own works.

I really do think having a network of like-minded people can do a writer wonders – and if you can’t find what you want, build it yourself!

Happy writing,

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Yesterday I couldn’t write about writing.

Today, I’m going to share a conundrum with you.

Long time readers will know that my writing dream has been to find an agent, get picked up by a publisher and have my books, beautifully bound, on a bookshop shelf. Longtime readers will also know that this particular dream has not yet come true.

Enter my friend, who has offered to help me publish my novel as an e-book, via his company. I have the offer of cover art, a technologically intelligent adviser, and a way to publish through an actual company rather than by myself.

I have previously acknowledged that I prefer to write poetry to prose – I am immensely proud of my book, but I haven’t been able to successfully produce another yet and when I have the choice I choose poetry over a story. This may mean I only ever write one book, and it would be lovely for people to actually read it.

But do I accept my dream is subject to the reality of the writing world at this time, or do I hold on? Do I stick, or twist?

There are some self-published works that capture the attention of mainstream publishers, but they are the tiniest minority. If I go for it myself, I am saying that my book may never be in a bookshop, may never be picked up, its pages turned.

But if I don’t my book may stay as a document in a file forever, and there’s no point to that at all. Every day, we are shown how short life is by way of news stories and personal losses, and I wonder what I am waiting for.

This is the year of doing: I have tried new things, accepted new challenges and taken new opportunities. The question now is whether this opportunity is the right one to take.

A decision needs to be made, and I need to be brave and make a choice.  I’m not entirely sure I like that feeling.

But at least I have the chance to make a choice, and that in itself is something to celebrate.

Happy writing,

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This week I have written, and done other stuff, and it’s that point in the cycle when I get a sense of deja vu as I type.  It’s not interesting to keep saying the same thing and I’m sure it’s not interesting to keep reading it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about haiku.  Because – why not?!

I think that trying to write a haiku is great way to become comfortable with poetry.  There are loads of reasons for this, but here are a few key reasons:

1. They are short.  A haiku is only 3 lines long, 17 syllables – compare that to something famous like Funeral Blues, and it’s less than an eighth of a more ‘standard’ Western poetic style.  Compare it to something you might have read at school, like I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud and it’s less than a twelfth.  For an aspiring poet, this can relieve some of the pressure!

2. They have clear rules.  You can choose to ignore them, or play around with them, but the rules are there as a starting point.  For some writers it is hard to know how to go about writing poetry.  People don’t always know where to start, or what sounds right, or feels right, or what constitutes a poem.  I personally find it difficult to explain myself, except by expressing  it through a sense of feeling and rhythm so I completely understand their frustrations!

And once you have more confidence, you can break the rules – which is very satisfying!

3. They are fun.  Although traditionally there is a seasonal link to them, that doesn’t mean they have to be staid.  For example:

Pollen fills my nose.

I sneeze, louder than thunder:

Welcome to the spring!

(and thanks to my partner for the inspiration here; he wrote a rather cheeky haiku about how loudly I sneeze when we were on retreat as one of his first ever attempts at poetry!).

And ok, it’s not sophisticated, but it took about a minute to write so at least it shows they don’t have to be heavy-going.  In fact, for anyone interested in writing on a regular basis, this style of poem is a good daily or weekly exercise; I was encouraged to write them regularly when I did my second writing course and it did help form the daily writing habit which is so important.

So there you have it – I’m progressing ok with the book but a haiku is more interesting right now!

In other news – last week I missed Kim by Rudyard Kipling on the 100 novels list, and this week we have The Call of the Wild by Jack London.  I haven’t read either, although I have another Jack London book in my reading pile, and I’ve read other Kipling.  Maybe I’ll add these in, but my reading pile is getting a little too big at the moment, with everything else I’ve got going on, so I’ll see how things are doing later in the year before I make a decision.

Also – And completely randomly, I saw a politician on TV today with a brooch on made from a page of Alice in Wonderland.  I only knew this because I’ve been looking at a website selling literary items (and I can’t link because I was looking at a present for someone!), but it entertained me!

And finally – I saw this article recently; I’m not sure how I missed it because it’s the kind of thing I look out for, but there you go. I love the idea that you can write an algorithm to define, with an 84% accuracy, whether a book will be a success or not.  Who cares about how the reader responds to the story, writing, characters, setting and so on – if I just write ‘and’ and ‘but’ more often, I’ll be published in no time… The computer said so!

Until next time – happy writing,




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