“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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…
Covers. They are hugely important but, generally-speaking, not where a writer’s skills lie. Yes, we often know what we like, but that doesn’t mean to say we have the right ideas. Nor does it mean we shouldn’t think about them. If you write a book that is traditionally published, then your contract will usually contain a clause stating that you will be consulted on the cover. That does not mean you will have the final say. Far from it. It…
Do your journal? I do, and it’s something I’m doing more regularly. Is there a business case for journalling? I think so, because it’s an opportunity to mine your brain for ideas and thoughts. Sometimes journalling helps me to identify a theme, or a connection between ideas, and hone them into shape. Fellow writer and friend Stephen Wade is celebrating the publication of his latest book: . It’s a guide to making the most of journalling, and explores various themes…
When you wake up on 11th August, raise a toast to Enid Blyton, who was born that day 120 years ago. I recently re-read her first Famous Five novel, , which in itself brought back many happy childhood memories.
We’ve slipped into June and already people are thinking Where’s the year going? Time seems to be flying by and I haven’t done achieved anything yet! It’s not helped by the fact that, here in the northern hemisphere, in a couple of weeks, the nights start drawing in. (The countdown to Christmas has begun!) I, though, can simply flick back through the pages of my journal for this year to remind myself of what I’ve been doing with my time….
Ninety years ago, in April 1927, a new publication hit the newsstands: The Countryman. Buy a copy of the April 2017 issue (out now) and you’ll find it comes with a facsimile copy of that first 1927 issue. Inside this, there’s a request from the editor, which says:
I’ve just come back from a week’s break in the Lake District, and now I’m raring to go (which is good, because I’ve lots to do). But it reminded me of a comment I heard in a podcast by author Joanna Penn, who spoke about Creative Equilibrium. The idea behind it is a simple one: balance.