Thursday, August 30, 2007

Have you been on yet?

I have found a wonderful website funded by The Arts Council called where you review other peoples work to gain credits, then upload your work and assign credits to it to get people to read it and review it.

You hope that they give you some constructive criticism, but some people just write a few lines without giving any real guidance. After reading what people say about mine, I now try really hard to tell other what I liked, what I didn't like and how in my humble opinion would try to do things differently.
It;'s hard, because what do I know? I am not a published writer, and then it's the same for others, what do they know, they are not writers either - they are just like me. So when you learn the rules to the game it becomes easier - you look for the themes and don't take each individual crit to heart, after all, we don't all like the same things - I mean I get asked to review everything from chick lit to historical romance - all stuff I would never choose to read, but I tell them what I think and give it my best shot.

Anyway, each review gets marked and the best 5 each month get a professional review and the best scoring for the whole year gets a publishing contract -so you never know, there is always more than one way of skinning the proverbial cat.

If you haven't had a look then click on the link, even if you are only a reader, you don't have to upload anything, just read the first chapters of all these new workds and tell them what you think 0 it's very addictive !!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Marketing my book

Ok, so I'm not published yet (yet!) but when the time arrives I will need to market the book(s) and therefore I need as much of an edge/inside information as possible. So when I saw a one day event (called Shelf Secrets) organised by Mark Thornton of Mostly Books in Abingdon - well, it was a no brainer, I had to go.

Best decision I have made this year and if you are writer and need a bit of insider know how then my advice is - what are you waiting for? Sign up! I found it enlightening.

It was not just because of the comfortable, familiar surroundings of the bookshop (I love being surrounded by books) but the easy way in which Mark ran the day and the interaction with the amazing people that I met who were also on the course, so thank you Angela, Alison, Siobhan and Patrick. All were already published, or in the midst of a publishing deal and it was great to listen and learn from them as much as it was to be guided through the process by Mark.

I have a lot of admiration for what Mark, and his wife Nicki, have done in just one year of trading - the way they have diversified and the hard work they must put in to constantly market their own business. I wish them all the luck.

I have a constant thirst for knowledge - knowledge is King as far as I am concerned - and this day out has helped to fill some gawping holes in my knowledge of the industry.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Different day, new project

Ok, so 'I hate baked beans' is doing the rounds of the agents and publishers - and fingers crossed. But now I am really excited about a new project.

A few years ago I started developing a fantasy world - something to immerse myself in and write about, for a bit of fun really. In my youth I was, and probably still am to be fair, a nut about fantasy role playing games such as Gary Gygax's Dungeon's and Dragons. We used to stay up for hours, totally immersed in our own little world - ofter playing through the night and going home with the milkman.

Anyway, seeing how each of us was so engrossed and so protective of our own characters I started to build up a story from six different view points. I then went back and wrote the first chapter of six books all detailing the early years of 6 different characters: a magic user, a thief, a ranger, a cleric, a monk and a fighter.

Then off I went then and wrote the rest of the first book (160,000 words) about Kevan, the magic user. This was in 1999 and I had every intention of editing it down, but time went on and I moved on to other projects, trying to hone my skill, and it never saw the light of day - until now.

You see having worked with, and learnt a lot from my editor, Anne Buhrmann, I feel the time is right to carry this project forward and see where it takes me.

I think if I pitch it right, this could have legs!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

42 rejection letters - and counting!

Well, I am up to 42 rejection letters from various agents and publishers for my book ' I hate baked beans' - but I am sure that is not a record, or anywhere near a record.
Call me a cynic, but I think unless I have big bobs and have slept with a footballer, or been on big brother or something else to get my name in the press, then I am unlikely to make it off the slush pile.

Why? Well, I am not a 'sure thing', am I? I am a risk - a risk that the publisher, who is in it for the money - they are not charities after all - has to be cast iron, leather bound sure that what I have written will sell.

So, what's the plan? The plan is to play the game - after all, life is all a game, you just have to learn the rules - then play the game. The game here is that the mainstream publishers want me to take the initial risk - to self publish and then do the leg work to get a readership - to do the marketing etc etc.

Then, when I can prove sales and a readership, perhaps they might take me on.

But, by then will I want them to take me on? After all, I can either have 100% of the cover price (minus publishing costs etc) or I get about 10% of the cover price, and have to pay an agent 15% of that. Well, in business it is a bit of a no brainer - but it does mean I have t spend good writing time do the publicity, marketing and retailing thing - humm, some thought needed.

First of all- find a good publisher - small steps, you know?