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 the attention of novelist Joanne Harris.

Joanne has always been a strong supporter of writers’ rights, and in this Twitter conversation she explains why the new TI Media contract for fiction writers is bad. She also encourages all writers (existing, new and potential) and their readers to boycott Woman’s Weekly and all TI Media magazines.

If you’re still unsure of why the TI Media contract doesn’t work for fiction writers, then take a look at Joanne Harris’ excellent Twitter conversation #TenThingsAboutRights, which you can find here.

Other writers are now picking up on this, including Jan Jones, who explains why short fiction is so important, and Caitlin Moran.

Short fiction is important for both readers and writers. These days, there are some people don’t have time to read a novel. But they can find ten minutes to sit down with their favourite magazine, a cup of tea and a biscuit, and read a short story. That short fiction can sustain their love of fiction until there comes a time in their life when they do have time again to read novels.

The whole point of coffee break fiction is that it gives readers a chance to escape from their daily lives and to use their imagination.

Another benefit of short fiction is that this is where many novelists begin their fiction journey. I’ve learned so much about writing fiction from my attempts (and successes) at writing fiction for the Womag market. I know this has improved the novels I’m working on. (Without the knowledge and skills I’ve gained from writing short stories for the women’s magazine market I doubt I would have secured an agent.)

Now, of course, this is not to say that it is the responsibility of magazine publishers to nurture, grow and encourage the novelists of the future. But TI Media is not the only publisher publishing fiction in a weekly and monthly format. DC Thomson manages it, without requiring all rights and copyright.

And as Joanne Harris and other well-known writers continue spreading the news, the snowball is only going to get bigger. And then perhaps TI Media will consider listening. After all, it’s their business at stake, as well as ours.

What’s important is that we keep the snowball rolling and therefore growing exponentially. So keep tweeting about this. Keep spreading the news about this with other writers and readers. There comes a point when all big businesses have to listen to their suppliers and customers.

Good luck.

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