Sunday, 31 March 2013

The bookshop that is taking on Amazon

The bookshop that is taking on Amazon...and winning - Local - Leamington Courier

Click on the above for a truly inspirational news item. It really makes me stop and think about my choices as a consumer. It's great to have everything we consume so easily available and not realise how much our choices impact on the smaller trader.

As a writer I will be trying to find my place in the market and trying to sell as many books as I possibly can. I need to be as strong and determined as this couple and the story reminds me of just how much. I admire  and support their tenacity.
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Friday, 22 March 2013

5 Short Story Collections You Should Be Reading

I read a blog post recently by a book blogger who found that there were some really good authors of novels who were just a bit hit and miss when it came to their capability to write short stories. I found it interesting as just last summer I completed a collection of short stories. I have them on hold whilst I go through the process of having my first novel published.

My reason for writing these stories was because, after completing the final draft of my first novel, I was left with a gap. My characters were still living with me and I felt that for some of the supporting characters, their story could do with embellishment. I set the stories in the past, present and future of the time that my novel takes place (1936 - 2008). I hope that these stories can stand alone without the reader having to have read the novel first. I have tested them on a small audience and so far the response has been good.

(By the way the last short story collection I read was by Raymond Carver,  Elephant. Loved them all)!

So how do you write a short story and what makes a short story great? I've posted some links that might help you getting the best out of your short story writing. I hope this helps.

http://www.write101.com/shortstory.htm

http://www.shortstorygroup.com/storytips.htm

http://www.nationalshortstoryweek.org.uk/short-story-writing.htm

And now follow the link below for some recommendations:

5 Short Story Collections You Should Be Reading | Thought Catalog

If you can add to any of the above then please let me know!

Happy Writing All!

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Writers' Workshop - Friend Or Foe?

English: Dean Batali teaching at writing meeting.
English: Dean Batali teaching at writing meeting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Writers' Workshops, Critique Groups - call them what you will but at some stage you are going to need someone to read through, comment on, make suggestions or critique your writing.  Enter the trusted Writing Circle. But how well do you accept opinions on your work as you go through the writing process?

Up until recently I have relied on the good judgement of a close friend to critique my work and help me develop my ideas. Granted the more you write the better (hopefully) you become and you get more of a sense of what is good or right about what you are creating. Whilst I'm very happy with this arrangement (I also offer the same support for my friend) I decided I'd branch out and joined a workshop. Just to see where it would lead me.

The workshop is friendly and supportive and full of ideas. In the first few weeks I took on board most of what was said when I listened to their feedback. After a few weeks of reading my work and getting feedback there was one week that I didn't accept a single thing that was offered to me.

It's not that I suddenly became big headed but I truly didn't think they were right. As writers we have to remember that the most important person to listen to is yourself. Advice is helpful but with a roomful of people giving you guidance you have to have enough faith in what you are writing to be able to decide if you agree or not. Be strong enough in you own opinions and don't get swayed if you feel strongly about something and don't be talked out of it.

Taking risks in what you write could elevate and enhance your story. Sometimes others are only telling you how they would do it and that doesn't make their opinion any more valid than yours.

Yesterday I watched an interview in which the writer says to just write, write, write. That's what I tend to do. Get it all out. Read it several times. Make tweaks. Read it aloud and then I present it to others to read. Because I spend more time crafting my story and going over it myself I'll have a good grasp of where to go with it and what works. Extra advice then helps strengthen something that should have substance and will take you closer to your goal. Finishing that story!

If you are a new writer then you may lack confidence but remember, if you believe everything you're told and go back to your work and change it all then it really isn't your idea now is it?

How do you get your work critiqued and how do you use the advice you are given?




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Saturday, 16 March 2013

I've Accepted The Challenge

The A-Z April Blogging Challenge starts soon and I've taken the plunge and signed up for it.

The idea behind it is to post every day in April (apart from Sundays) with a theme that is guided by the letter of the alphabet. I'm hoping it will keep me on my toes and get me blogging on a very, very regular basis. If only for the month of April.

A lot of writers say writing a blog on a regular basis helps you to hone your skills as a writer. Writing skills and imaginations to the fore. I only hope that with all that blogging I actually have time to work on my novel!

If you are interested in taking this challenge then see below:




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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Self- Published Authors Who Hate Editors!

I admire the spirit in which self-published authors take their careers and the vision for their art in their own hands. I think they are very brave and very daring...but.

I've just come across too many self-published books that read like they are written by Creative Writing Class novices who could really do with more experience before going to print. Not only is it in their own interest - after all, who will read your second book if you make a really bad impression with your first? Secondly - what about all the self-published authors who do work on their drafts, hone their skills and take advice from experts? If you keep on putting out drivel then people will lose faith in the self-published author.

 This may be controversial but I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

Another thing that bugs me is that I read so many interviews in praise of the writer of a self published book then look at sample and wonder if the writer ever read a book in their lives.

Whilst it's very hard to get a publishing deal the traditional way, don't belittle the hard work of editors, agents and publishers who want to continue allowing real writers a chance to shine. Not everybody can write a novel. I know many of you are saying, 'what about 50 Shades?' An example of a poorly written book that became a success. I hear you but that is a rare breed of books.

I love a good read. I try every time I write to become a better writer and advice I get tells me it's working. We should strive to be the best we can be in our chosen field. After all, we write so that others can enjoy. We owe it to our readers to at least use the spellchecker. Just saying.

Would so love to hear your views and comments. Let me have 'em!

ps just hope I got my spelling right!

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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Adventures in Making a Book Trailer | Open Book: Toronto

Adventures in Making a Book Trailer | Open Book: Toronto

Just a quick post while in the middle of going through the typeset of Holding Paradise for my publisher .

I'm still in planning mode when it comes to my book trailer. I came across the above and wondered if any of you, like me, think is an example of how not to do it. Well it's all a matter of taste but I can't get a sense of what the author's book might be about. Having said that I do agree with some of the points she made about how trailers should look.

(Now increasingly worried that my trailer may well be pants)!

Happy Wednesday!
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Sunday, 3 March 2013

How Do You Buy Books?

 
BBC Radio 4 presenter, Mariella Frostrup's programme, Open Book, last Thursday, featured an interview with Neill Denny. He is a journalist and ex-editor of the Bookseller and he talks about the secret of the success of High Street shop W H Smiths. Readers in the UK will know that the store supplies books (usually from the 'Best Seller' range)  and has not suffered since the sad demise of book shops in the UK. Whilst the sale of eBooks and Amazon book sales do fairly well, considering the economy, W H Smiths is not losing sales.

Image for Instructions for a Heatwave; obesity in the contemporary novel
                                      To Listen to Interview go to BBC Radio 4 Listen Again


It put me in mind of a conversation I had with a writer friend of mine. She introduced me to an independent book seller who is happy to host a book signing for me at his shop when the time comes. My book will be published later this year and I wondered how this shop would fair under the current book shop closure crisis.
 
 
Another conversation I had with friends recently got round to the subject of whether we still buy books in their printed state or do we only ever download ebooks. Interestingly, like me, a lot of my friends like to hold a real book in our hands. And not only that, a few of them like the idea of browsing bookshops and not necessarily browsing lists on Amazon for example. I must admit I do a bit of both but it made me wonder about statistics on how we prefer to buy books on a nationwide or even world wide scale. So far I haven't come across any solid figures and I would love to have published them here if I could.
 
More importantly how will we continue to buy books? I would hate to think that people would stop buying books (printed versions) altogether one day. That would be sad and I'm sure it won't happen in my lifetime.
 
I don't know what the future will bring but I know I'll always write and, hopefully, sell my books no matter how. I've got to keep moving with the times but there's nothing like curling up with a good book!
 
If you know of any stats or figures regarding this, please share them. I'd love to know more.
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