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Category: Fiction

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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Not All Right(s) in Womagland

Not All Right(s) in Womagland

Writers in Womagland (those who write short stories or serials for the women’s magazine market) have been venting their anger and frustration on social media recently. Woman’s Weekly magazine has changed its contract terms and payment rates. Those who have received an acceptance email in the last week or so have been told that the magazine is now seeking All Rights (including copyright) in their short stories and the payments are being reduced.

Commissioning Conundrum

Commissioning Conundrum

When is a commission not a commission? Well, it all depends upon when in the writing process you make the sale. Patsy Collins of the Womagwriters blog asked me to write a guest post about the latest confusion concerning some of the fiction markets using the word commission when accepting (or rejecting) a story, and I thought I’d also publish it on my own Business of Writing blog here. Firstly, here’s the get-out clause: I’m not a solicitor, therefore this…

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There’s Only One You

There’s Only One You

When it comes to the business of writing, it’s not necessarily our ideas that are important but the way we interpret them. As individuals, we are unique. We’ve all had different upbringings and influences upon our lives. We’ve all had different experiences. Even when we’re at the same event, our experience will influence how we interpret that event. That’s what makes us writers. Our interpretation.

500 Words

500 Words

The results of the Flash 500 short story competition have just been announced, and I’ve been waiting to see who’s won … not because I entered, but because I was the judge. When you judge a competition you judge it blind, which means you have no idea who wrote each entry. You judge the entry, and assess its impact upon you as a reader, out of the batch you’ve been sent to adjudicate. So it’s always with excitement that I…

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Blackcurrant Jelly

Blackcurrant Jelly

The latest issue of The People’s Friend magazine carries a short story I’ve written, called Blackcurrant Jelly. It’s about a father wondering how his young daughter will cope on her first day back at school, after spending several months off school recovering from meningitis. In particular, he’s worried how she’ll cope now she’s lost all of her fingers and thumbs, through the illness.

PLR

PLR

This year, 22,108 writers are receiving a PLR payment next month. I’m one of them. I always find PLR statements fascinating documents because, although it’s just a snapshot from a handful of libraries across the UK, they reveal interesting information about which of your books were most popular.

Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health

Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health

Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health Yes. Writing can seriously damage your health. And it doesn’t take long. Hunched up over a keyboard all day, or staring at a computer screen for hours on end (without blinking) can have some devastating consequences. And then there’s the diet. The constant grazing (usually chocolate) and the copious amounts of tea, coffee or wine. No wonder Jane Wenham-Jones spoke of Writer’s Bottom in her book

Book Journals

Book Journals

There’s a technique for book writers (both fiction and non-fiction) called book journalling. David Hewson calls it a book diary in his . The idea is simple: any thoughts relating to your book are entered into one journal for that book. That could be a physical notebook, or it could be a file on your computer. (I create a file in my Research folder in Scrivener.)

The Professional Costs of Publishing

The Professional Costs of Publishing

 If you’re toying with the idea of self-publishing a book, then I would encourage you to read Andrew Franklin’s blog post on the Society of Author’s website. Andrew Franklin is the joint founder of Profile Books. Therefore, he understands the costs involved when it comes to publishing a book. In his blog post (which was also an article in the Society of Author’s Journal published back in the autumn) he candidly talks money. A lot of money. Particularly when you…

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Contractual Concerns

Contractual Concerns

 Social media was buzzing with more contract queries last week, after one magazine began issuing fiction writers with a new contract.  I haven’t seen the entire contract because I am not one of those writers on their preferred supplier list, but many of the queries were around a clause that appeared to request the transfer of all intellectual property rights. Clearly, without seeing the whole contract, it would be inappropriate for me to give advice. And, anyway, I’m not a…

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Don’t Be Afraid of Moving On

Don’t Be Afraid of Moving On

Last week I read a blog post from Frances Garrood (http://francesgarrood.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/farewell-womags_15.html) about her decision to stop writing short stories. It was a short, interesting piece about how she’d arrived at this decision. And it struck me that, when it comes to the business of writing, sometimes you need to accept that it’s time to move on. There are many reasons why a writer stops writing in a particular genre or for a specific market. Frances wrote about how she used…

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Vlad the Self-Published

Vlad the Self-Published

Last week’s post (What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead) looked at a book that fellow Writing Magazine columnist Tarja Moles has published. This week, another fellow Writing Magazine columnist, Lorraine Mace, explains why she’s bitten the bullet and self-published her children’ novel, even though it was something she swore she’d never do. “ was the first book I wrote,” Lorraine explains, “and so it has always had a special place in my heart. In 2007 I was…

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What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead

What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead

Nobody likes to think about dying, but have you considered what might happen to your writing business after you’re dead? Don’t forget, everything you write is protected by copyright for another 70 years after your demise. That’s 70 years when others could make use of your intellectual property rights. But would they know that? Where would they go to look for information about your writing business? I keep all of my information in a database in my computer … which…

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Hybrid Authors

Hybrid Authors

Last Saturday I was assisting with a workshop on self-publishing run by Wrekin Writers, as part of the Wellington Festival, and the topic of Hybrid Authors was briefly discussed. So I thought I’d take the opportunity of posting my recent Writing Magazine feature where I chatted to two writers about being a hybrid author. HYBRID AUTHORS Traditionally-published or self-published? Simon Whaley chats to two writers with a foot in both camps. A few years ago, a writer’s life was binary:…

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