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Category: Fiction

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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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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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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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.