The Business of Retreating

The Business of Retreating

Last weekend I retreated. It’s an annual thing with the writers’ group I go to. Three or four nights, somewhere cheap (well, we are writers!), which is usually in Wales, and an opportunity to immerse ourselves in one or two of our current writing projects. It’s always interesting watching how other writers work. Whenever we go anywhere new, the sense of exploration overwhelms us. Then there are the midnight walks to beaches, and the evening social gatherings. But at some…

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Do We Really Need MS Word?

Do We Really Need MS Word?

When it comes to the business of writing, one of the most important tools is the software we use to collect our words and thoughts and put them into some sort of order. For years, this has been Microsoft Word, and its .doc and .docx file types are the industry standard when it comes to submitting to publishers. So I was interested to read this post on the Guardian’s website, about how Word is losing its shine, even in large…

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Writing Naked

Writing Naked

Have you ever written naked? No, I’m not talking about those times when you can’t being bothered to get dressed in the morning (although, perhaps that might influence what you write). Instead, I’m talking about being free to write what you want to write. SJ (Sarah) Banham has just published a book of writing prompts, which she’s called Writing Naked, that are designed to undress writers from the fashionable constraints we sometimes put ourselves under, if not the constraints of…

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The Business of Writing – Volume 2

The Business of Writing – Volume 2

It can be daunting, sometimes, sitting down to write an article. So when the editor of Writing Magazine asked me to write six pieces for a series called the Business of Writing I was both excited and a little intimidated. Could I come up with six ideas? Actually, the answer was yes. But coming up with six ideas is not the same as coming up with six complete articles. I managed it. Not only that, but I kept managing it….

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Virtually Touring

Virtually Touring

Write book. Publish Book. Go on book tour in nightwear. Simon Whaley explores the modern way to promote books. Gone are the days when publishers organised country-wide book tours for every author, dropping them into every major town and city bookstore to promote their latest offering. Many authors are probably thankful for this, for such events were frequently gruelling and exhausting. Today, a good book tour still requires energy and effort on an author’s part, but the modern virtual book…

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Coping With A Crisis In Confidence

Coping With A Crisis In Confidence

Back in 2015, I chatted to Glynis Scrivens, author of  about those moments in a writer’s life when we have a crisis of confidence. While many people experience these crises, whatever job they do, writers in particular are more susceptible to these moments of doubt, because we tend not to have that team of work colleagues to help us put things into perspective. It’s therefore extremely useful to have mechanisms for coping with these confidence-crushing moments.

Collaborative Marketing

Collaborative Marketing

Two’s company, three’s a crowd … but six can be a good marketing strategy, says Simon Whaley.   It doesn’t matter whether we’re traditionally published or self-published, when it comes to marketing most of us are pretty much on our own. It’s a little ironic that traditional publishers usually allocate the biggest marketing budgets to those already- famous authors who have cost them significant sums of money in advance payments, which those said publishers then need to recoup: hence the bigger…

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Guardian Feature

Guardian Feature

A brief post this week, just to point you to an article that was recently published in The Guardian, written by Alison Flood, about the anger from Woman’s Weekly’s writers at the exploitative new contract. You can read Alison’s piece here. We were hoping for a better, more detailed response from TI Media. Their response that they will continue to credit writers does not answer the question about why they need copyright, and their response to waiving moral rights enables…

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Fitting In

Fitting In

“If you want to be successful in this business, don’t be different. Be like someone else.” That’s how Phil Rickman, author of the popular novels, opened his talk at the Church Stretton Arts Festival last week. And it’s a perfect reminder of how publishers (particularly those publishing fiction) want more of the same. Ideally, they want more bestsellers. (Don’t we all?) “Publishers want something … they don’t really want something different. They want something that is guaranteed to sell.”  

Snowballing

Snowballing

The snowball is gathering momentum. It was slow to start off with because when you’re not big name writers, it’s difficult to make yourself heard. It’s been an uphill struggle. But now the direction is sloping gently downhill, enabling the snowball to gather pace and potential clout. Much of this has been thanks to the tweets of Joanne Harris. When @BigFatLion tweeted a link to my open letter to the leadership team at TI Media she also brought it to…

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Davids and Goliath

Davids and Goliath

Back in Womag-land, there’s been no feedback from TI Media (that I’m aware of) regarding their change of contracts to All Rights, and their cutting of payments by a third. Although, some writers have received some interesting emails. Woman’s Weekly has emailed a couple writers who’ve had stories that just failed to make the grade in the past (so were rejected, but encouraged to rewrite and resubmit them) enquiring whether they’ve had a chance to rewrite those stories yet.

Stronger … Together

Stronger … Together

At the end of June I posted about the recent changes being made at Woman’s Weekly concerning their latest contract, which demanded All Rights from their fiction writers. Now, I’m not a prolific short story writer, but I have been published in Woman’s Weekly’s Fiction Special, and therefore this is a market in which I have an interest. And although I have other writing priorities at the moment, writing short stories for the women’s magazine market is something I plan…

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Don’t Be A (Disqualified) Dork!

Don’t Be A (Disqualified) Dork!

The annual short story competition run by one of the writers’ circles I go to has just closed, and once again I’m staggered by the number of entrants who failed to read the rules. I just don’t understand it. I deal with the administration of some of the entries before they are passed on to the judges, and part of that admin work involves checking that entrants have met all of the competition’s rules. The two most commonly broken rules…

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Selling Out, Or Surviving?

Selling Out, Or Surviving?

It was a moment of dichotomy. I’d just been offered a job. An employed job. It was my first job interview for twenty years and they offered me the position. (Clearly, they were desperate!) I was going back into the world of employment, albeit on a part-time basis. But the euphoria was tempered with guilt. After all this time working as a full-time self-employed writer, was I selling out on the dream? Would this make me less of a writer?…

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