Showing posts from November, 2011

Guest Author - Bob Mayer

This month's guest author is NY Times best selling author Bob Mayer. Bob's written over 45 books - both fiction and non-fiction and this piece is about evaluating yourself as a writer:

Where Do You Stand As An Author: 3 Variables to Figure It Out:
A writer can easily be overwhelmed by all the well-meaning advice given by experts, industry professionals and even other authors.  The reason for this is that every single writer is in a different place and has to figure out their own position and point of view with which to boil down all the information into intelligence (useable information).
Closely monitoring the publishing business I see many different paths and approaches suggested to aspiring authors regarding everything from writing the book to publishing the book to promoting and building platform and brand.  It’s a very confusing time for publishing in general and many authors are finding themselves caught in the crossfire.
There’s a lot of advice out there, much of it contrad…

Back on Track - I think! (Hywela Lyn)

I apologise for my post this month going up late. I have acute Nanoitis.  The symptoms are extreme forgetfulness, manic depression, singlemindedness, mental/writers block and an  irrespressable urge to do nothing but eat chocolate.

In other words I'm attempting National Novel Writing Month for the third year running.  The first year wasn't too bad, I knew pretty well where I was going, and had the story more or less mapped in my mind.  Ditto last year, and I reached the finishing line in both years with a few thousand words to spare.,

This year was different.I wasn't going to do it.  I have too much on, and besides, I told my long suffering husband, Dave, I haven't a clue what to write. The only thing my muse has come up with is a short story written about twenty years ago which I always intended to expand on. That was it.  "You've GOT to do it, he told me, "You have to make it three years running." Huh?  What could I say.  So I duly registered my ti…


I've just been whizzing round my local shops and have come home with a small treasure - two reels of Gutermann thread. We have at least six hairdressers, four shoe shops and a nail bar, but nowhere to buy threads, needles, fabrics etc (and I speak as a fabric junkie) so when someone told me that a tiny dry cleaners had bought in a range of Gutermann to fill the gap, I was there in a trice. Which makes me wonder - do shopping centres create people, or do people create shopping centres? Are all our prospective young dress designers and our knitting aunties and grannies now queuing up in the nail bar?

This morning I read with great amusement a blog about the problems of using swear words when writing for children and Young Adults. It seems that at least one library in America refused to stock a book containing the word 'damn'. A way around this is to invent words that stand in for the real thing, but how offensive is the real thing? Most of our current swear words have lost a…

Peter James is our John the Baptist

This month I was one of several ghostwriters filmed by Sky Arts for the Book Show. Back in the studio Mariella Frostrup was sitting beside Peter James, who is both a friend and currently one of the most successful crime writers in the world with his Brighton based detective, Roy Grace. What is less well known is that in 1994 Peter was almost certainly the first electronic author in the world and got a right bashing from the literary media as a result. He was, in other words, a prophet of the times we now live in.

I first met him around that time and he tried to explain to me how Penguin were publishing his horror novel, "Host", on two floppy disks, (remember them?). It all sounded very interesting but I couldn't really grasp what he was so enthusiastic about. That is not the only interesting thing about Peter, of course. He is also a film producer, (he had then just lost a lot of money filming "Biggles" and went on to have much more success with "The Mercha…

Hello from new girl Rosalie Warren

Hi everyone - I'm Rosalie and it's great to be here. I love this blog and am delighted to be part of it. You people are all so inspiring and I'm hoping some of your talent, enthusiasm and expertise will rub off on me.

As it's unlikely that most of you will have heard of me (though I know a few of you - hello!), let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm a bit of a scattergun author, the kind who makes agents wring their hands in despair. Some would say I haven't yet found my niche, but I prefer to think that I'm not the kind of creature that is happy in a single niche - or at least, I'd rather explore a variety of them first, before making up my mind.

I've been making up stories since the age of four or five. I wrote my first full-length novel at 15 and had a near-miss with a publisher when I was in my late twenties, but foolishly took this to mean I should give up. So I studied for my PhD and became a university lecturer. This, together with my family,…

JUST DO IT! - Susan Price

On Hallowe’en, I published my fourth and fifth e-books, the ghost-story collections, HAUNTINGS and NIGHTCOMERS.  I’m getting into a working routine.           I start by opening a file in Word 2010.  I type in and centre the title and my name, then insert a page-break.  I paste in the copyright details, which I have on file, and alter dates and names where necessary.  I add a ‘Contents’ page.           All my e-books have been previously published, so I take an old copy and rip it apart.  I scan the separate pages into my computer using a free Optical Character Recognition programme (OCR).  I click ‘convert to text’, and correct the programme’s near guesses – it almost always turns ‘wall’ into ‘wail’, for instance.           Once a whole story or chapter is converted to text, I edit the separate pages together and add them to the book’s file.  It’s tedious, but easier than typing out the whole book.           While I’m doing this, my brother designs the cover, and we swop ideas …

Twenty Five Years Behind Bars - Avril Joy

This is my first post for Authors Electric and I’m really delighted to be part of such an enterprising and exciting group of writers. Writing can be such a solitary path and it feels good to be part of a wider, collaborative endeavour. So how did I get here? How did I become a writer? And more to the point perhaps, a writer who is now e – publishing?
By way of introduction, I often describe myself as ‘a writer on the run after twenty five years in prison.’ As you can imagine that raises a fair few eyebrows. Friends often caution against it, saying but people will think you’ve been in prison.Well, I say, they’d be right. I spent the best part of my working life at HMP Low Newton, a women’s prison on the outskirts of Durham City UK, where I worked in varying capacities from teacher to senior manager. I initially took the job on a temporary basis. I didn’t mean to stay that long but somehow the place, or more accurately the women, just grew on me. It was ever-changing, never boring; a fas…

Lose weight, get rich, find love! Ask me how! - Simon Cheshire

There is a truth universally acknowledged: success in the arts has nothing to do with your actual work, or its quality, or how many hours a day you spend networking, but is neatly expressed via the formula
Sales =  f + b2 where 'f' is Your Fame and 'b' is Blind Luck. This is, as I'm sure you know, a law so entrenched it makes gravity look optional. And, of course, it isn't news. There are ancient scrolls discovered in underwater caves beneath jurassic sediment which contain fresher information.  So why bring it up now, and make writers everywhere weep quietly into their el cheapo wine? Because this is the time of year when I always read a number of blogs and articles expressing this truth as if it was some kind of sudden, horrific revelation. I blame Christmas. Writers everywhere watch the bills pile up, and their bank balance empty faster than the Greek economy, and then they switch on Radio 4 as a way to dull the pain only to find some b*&%$£* celebrity p…


‘As they rose, the sun rose with them as if they were racing for the top of the sky. Its warmth welcomed them, turning the dark skin of the fiery balloon a beautiful midnight blue. They flew straight up. Above them, the sweet, clear music of the lonely pipe, the only sound left in the whole world, drew them on until they prepared to hit the very roof-top of the sky itself. Then the smooth sky puckered into cloth-of-blue and drew aside for them, like curtains parting. The music called again, and they passed straight through.’This is Bonnie, the heroine of my novel, Midnight Blue, passing from one world to another, leaving behind her old life.And today - launch day for Midnight Blue’s 21st Anniversary edition - I feel much as she might have done, wondering what lies ahead, what I’ve let myself in for and why.
SO WHY AN E-BOOK?Twenty-one years ago, Midnight Blue was launched into a very different world where Amstrad computers were the latest thing and e-books were little more than a dream…

Living the stuff of novels: the ghostwriter’s lot - by Roz Morris

An acquaintance from my dance classes read My Memories of a Future Life last month and has since been seeing me in a whole new light. I can tell by the thoughtful looks he gives me as we wince through stretches and wobble through pirouettes; an expression that says ‘I never knew you had that weird stuff going on...’ After class the other day he said to me: ‘that freaky scene with the hypnosis in the underground theatre... you must have been to something like that?’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘It's research and imagination.’ He looked a little disappointed. I stomp on your dreams Had that taken away a little of the magic? Do readers prefer to think they’ve been led through your rearranged memoirs than the fruits of your persuasive art? Some clearly do. There’s a long tradition that people who’ve had extraordinary lives sit down to dash off a novel. Many of them are not writers, and so the actual words came from people of ordinary amounts of courage and glamour, in charge of something no more …

Writing To Order by Karen King

I often run writing classes and one of the first things I ask my students is why they are writing, is it for pleasure or do they want to get published. Most of them say they want to get published. I ask them this because I think it's vitally important, especially when writing for children. If you're writing for pleasure then you can write what you want, you don't have to fit in with the current market or obey any rules. So all I need to show them is how to hone their work, to make it more concise, to cut out the clichés, the repeated phrases, the unnecessary words and ensure they have the language level right for the age group.

If you're writing because you want to get published it's a different matter. Especially for children's books. Then you have to think about lots of different things before your book even gets to your target reader. Things like the length of your story (many publishers have set word lengths for different age groups), where it will fit in …

Mid-list and Proud of It: Catherine Czerkawska

 All novelists know about the mid-list but a straw poll among non-writer friends revealed that almost nobody else does. Yesterday, an artist friend asked ‘what’s the mid-list?’ and when I tried to explain, replied, ‘Oh, you mean the kind of books people actually want to read.’
Which begs the interesting question: what books do people want to read? Possibly as many kinds as there are readers. You probably won’t find celebrity or sporting memoirs in the mid-list. A mid-list novel isn’t a blockbuster or a bestseller although many bestsellers used to come from the fertile ground of the mid-list. These were called breakthrough novels. After publishing several interesting and well written books, an author who had built up a modest following among the reading public would suddenly write a book which ‘took off’ and made him or her (and the publisher) quite a lot of money. You’ll sometimes find prize-winning novels on the mid-list, but although prizes help to boost sales, they are no guarant…

Jane Adams. Yeast, Lasers and too many Words