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Category: Non-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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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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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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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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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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The 0.01% Copyright Conundrum

The 0.01% Copyright Conundrum

Pretty much every book on writing urges writers NOT to sign away their copyright in a project. And I would agree that, in 99.99% of cases, that is definitely the right step to take. However, there are times when doing the unthinkable can work out useful.

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.

POP Implications

POP Implications

Getting published is one thing, but getting paid can be an entirely different matter. Historically, many magazines have paid for items on publication. So if you write an article for the August issue of a magazine (back in March, and submit it in April) you will be paid for it in August. Some magazines pay 30 days after publication, which could mean payment may not arrive until September. There’s a growing trend for newspapers to do this, which is causing…

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Know Your CLAEU From Your ERA Or LCI

Know Your CLAEU From Your ERA Or LCI

Last week I posted a copy of my article from Writing Magazine about how to interpret and understand your ALCS statement. Payments are due soon – 21st March – which means that over the coming weeks, if you’ve registered eligible published work with the ALCS and are due a payment, you’ll receive an email notifying you that your statement is ready to download.

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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Talking The Talk

Talking The Talk

 Last Saturday, archaeologist and historian (and author and TV presenter) Dr Alex Langlands, came to my home town and spoke about his new book . It’s his own view about what craft means, and how the word has come to represent what it does today. And he also asks the question, does it still mean what it originally meant when the word was first used in Old English?