RU GDPR OK?

RU GDPR OK?

The recent Cambridge Analatica and Facebook controversy has highlighted the importance of knowing exactly to whom we’re giving our precious data, and then what they can do with it. Next month, new European legislation, known as GDPR, comes into force, designed to give individuals more power over what companies can and can’t do with our data. However, these new regulations don’t apply just to large multi-national companies like facebook. They also apply to us – the self-employed or budding writer.

The Joy of Tax

The Joy of Tax

It’s that time of year again. A new tax year. (Well, it is for me, as I follow HMRC’s tax year, which I like to think keeps things simpler.) While it’s also a good time to review your work over the last year, I also tend took look back a bit further … ten years, to be precise.

How Far Will An Idea Fly?

How Far Will An Idea Fly?

One of the most exciting things about writing, is that you never know how far your ideas will fly. Fifteen years ago, on 10th April 2003, I submitted the full manuscript of One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human to a publishing director at Hodder & Stoughton. Two weeks later I had my first book contract. Last week, I received my latest royalty statement, for sales up to 31st December 2017. Lifetime sales, in all formats (print…

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Daydreaming is Good- Ditch the First Idea

Daydreaming is Good- Ditch the First Idea

The pressure’s on. You have a deadline (either external, or self-imposed) and you need to come up with an idea. You cogitate for a while, and nothing jumps to mind. You start to panic. Come on! Where is it? I just need an idea for my article/story/novel … Suddenly, you have one! Great! And so you get to work. But stop. Just consider your idea for a moment. This is your first idea. First ideas generally tend to be weak,…

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Smile for the Camera!

Smile for the Camera!

If you’ve read my Business of Writing column in Writing Magazine (and I hope you have), you’ll know that from time to time I chat to other writers to gather their thoughts and expertise on a subject. Right from the start of the column (and for those of you who are counting, I’m just putting the finishing touches to the 52nd article), the editor asked me to obtain head-and-shoulder photos of the writers from whom I obtained quotes. (Perhaps he…

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What To Do With Your Form 1042?

What To Do With Your Form 1042?

  If you’ve self-published some work and uploaded it to distributors like Amazon (and Createspace) or Smashwords, you may recently have received an email from them advising you that your 1042-S form is available to download. But what is a Form 1042-S?

London Calling!

London Calling!

The London Book Fair is the trade show for publishers, agents and booksellers. Now in its 47th year, anyone in the book business anywhere around the world finds themselves heading for London in April. During the three-day event at London’s Olympia, held this year between 10th and 12th April, over 25,000 people connected with the publishing industry will pass through its doors. The question is: should you be going? Is there a business-case for writers making the trip?

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.

Understanding Your ALCS Statement

Understanding Your ALCS Statement

  I love this time of year. March is when we get our free money from the ALCS. Free money? Oh, yes! However, from the many comments I’ve seen on social media, not everyone understands their ALCS statement. Many simply look at how much they’re getting and then file it ready for their tax return. But having a clearer understanding of what you’re receiving the money for may help ensure you claim everything to which you’re entitled. What is ALCS?…

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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.)

Real Writers Ship

Real Writers Ship

One of the most common resolutions writers make is: to write more. Actually, if you’re seeking publication, a better resolution would be: to submit more, or  to ship more. It’s easy to seek perfection. (Attaining it is another matter.) However, that search for perfection meets the resolution of doing more writing. But does it actually achieve anything?