Showing posts from February, 2012

The Monthly Janus - February/March

To save trawling through every post (though trawling through every post is most definitely good) we thought it would be a nifty idea to dedicate the first of every month to the titular Roman deity who likes looking at what's just happened and what's about to come. A one stop diary padding shop.

Coming in March

Dan Holloway will be performing poetry from his forthcoming series of A-side/B-side poetry singles Spitting Blood. He will be at ARTournament in Gloucester on March 3rd. On March 7th he will be reading at Poetry in the Parlour at Blackwell's in Oxford, which is part of Oxford International Women's Festival, and from 27th-30th March he will be hosting Not the Oxford Literary Festival, now in its 3rd year (and will be joined on Friday 30th by fellow electric author Dennis Hamley)

Dennis and Dan will also be representing Authors Electric at a Scoiety of Young Publishers event on epublishing and its impact on libraries and independent bookstores in Oxford on March…

What’s In A Name? by Hywela Lyn

When I first started writing (many hundreds of years ago), it never occurred to me that I would want to use a ‘pen name’ (nor indeed that I would ever see my stories in anything but a real, tangible, paper book – how times change!)  Having graduated from short stories published in magazines, to writing a draft novel or two, several years elapsed during which writing took a back seat to my other passion – horses and endurance riding in the beautiful Welsh mountains.

Not that I stopped making up stories. The back of a horse is a wonderful place for mulling over current plot lines and dreaming up new ones.  Eventually, after I married and moved away from my beloved Wales to England, I dug out my futuristic romance ‘Starquest’ from the drawer where it lay hidden, and after revising it to within an inch of its life, and suffering the usual rejections from agents and publishers in the UK, I decided to submit a query, on-line, to a small  press in the States, I was delighted and somewhat su…

Snow, World Book Day, and a give-away e-book. Enid Richemont

I'm sitting at the computer looking out into my cold-shocked garden, and waiting, like a child, for the promised snowfall - even though, last winter, I got very tired of it. Like so many other people, we've stocked up  - such a shared and primitive instinct to do this before the weather really clamps down - even though the snow will probably only last a day or so. In these temperatures, my house feels like a cave.
Kindle-wise, I've recently signed up three of my ebooks to KDPSelect, and chosen JAMIE AND THE WHIPPERSNAPPER as a promotional week's give-away to celebrate World Book Day. The Whippersnapper's a sharp-tongued, magical creature that unexpectedly hatches out of one of the duck eggs Mum had just bought. It was greatly enjoyed by 6 - 9 year olds when Red Fox first published it, and now, for one week only, from March 3rd, it's free to download. It's a lot of fun to read aloud, too - I've always loved taking it into schools, doing the voices, and wa…

Tiring of an Old Love - Andrew Crofts

Last month in this space I bared my soul regarding difficulties in my relationship with my desktop. Altogether more traumatising has been the discovery that I might have fallen out of love with an even more long-standing soul-mate.

When I was first introduced to my pretty young iPad a year ago I imagined that it would merely widen my horizons, offer me more options and some lively entertainment. I stumbled into the relationship like some wide-eyed old fool who fails to realise he has been targeted as potential sugar-daddy material, never thinking it would make me question my relationship with the printed books who had been part of my life ever since I first met Paddington Bear. But suddenly I find myself irritated by features of my old love that I once found endearing or was totally blind to. I am impatient with physical shortcomings that I would once never even have noticed.

This realisation dawned when a book I needed for research purposes was not available as an e-book. So, the first…

E-publishing Charity's Child - by Rosalie Warren


Charity's Child was my first novel, published in 2008 by the small new independent publisher Circaidy Gregory Press (still going strong and branching out all over the place). Kay Green, who runs the press, gave me my first experience of working with a savvy and eagle-eyed editor, and without any doubt she helped me turn Charity into a better book.

It came out; we did some publicity - oh, the story may sound familiar. My family and friends were excited and supportive and we had a celebratory barbecue in our back garden (it poured with rain but my wonderful partner found us a last-minute canopy and carried on cooking - thank you, Paul). It was a memorable day. I had signings, too, including one in the much missed Borders, five minutes' walk from home. That one was great - I told tons of people and many of them turned up. One couple who are old friends bought six copies - thank you, Keith and Sue.

I had another signing, this time in Borders in Birmingham. It was August Bank H…


The first story in my new e-book collection of folk-legends, HEAD AND TALES, is ‘The Boy and The Blacksmith’.           In short, the story is of a blacksmith challenged to a trial of skill by the King’s goldsmith.  On his way to the trial, the blacksmith meets ‘a raggedy navvy-boy’, who tags along with him.           Before the king and court, the blacksmith makes mundane horse-shoes, a scythe blade and a ploughshare – which will, he claims, ‘feed people’.  The navvy-boy visits the goldsmith’s shop and reports that the goldsmith is making wondrous things – a living apple-tree, a living fish, a corn-wreath, all of gold.           With the boy’s help, the blacksmith creates an iron deer, which kills the gold tree; an iron otter, which eats the gold salmon; and an iron cockerel, which eats the gold wreath. ‘Iron is stronger than gold.’           The blacksmith wins the contest, and becomes the King’s smith.  Later, the ‘navvy-boy’ returns and borrows the blacksmith’s forge to melt…

Why I Love E - Publishing - Avril Joy

This post has been published in Sparks, A Year In E-Publishing - An Authors Electric Anthology 2011-2012. It has therefore been temporarily reverted to draft status to comply with amazon KDP Select's requirements.

The Top 13 Things I Won't Miss About Publishing Companies - Simon Cheshire

At the moment, I'm working on a couple of projects, one of which is something I've been trying to get right for about seven years now. Seven. Years.
It's getting there. Slowly. In ye olden days I would, by now - a few months off having the manuscript completed - be hopping about nervously trying to get a publisher interested, frantically bugging my poor agent to send the first chapters out to anyone who'll listen, and feeling crushed and heartbroken when phrases like 'not for us' or 'perhaps with some extensive editing' started turning up in emails.
But this is not ye olden days. Not only do I not really anticipate a mainstream publisher offering me a contract ever again, pace the current state of the industry, but I'm not sure I'll ever seriously think about touting for one and going through the whole hopping/ bugging/ crushing cycle again.
The new ecosystem of publishing means that it's far more sensible for me to assume it's self-pub…

Why I don’t want to invent a publishing name by Diana Kimpton

As a traditionally published author moving into self publishing, I’m surprised at how much of the advice on offer suggests I should invent a publishing imprint for myself. Initially I accepted that advice at face value and started thinking of possible names.

But, as I struggled to decide whether Kubus Books sounded better than DK Press, I realised the whole process was making me uncomfortable. If I was self publishing from choice, why was I trying to hide that from my readers? The more I thought about it, the more sensible it seemed to publish under my own name.

But there was still all that advice. So I looked at it hard and discovered it was based on four assumptions.

You need a fancy name for your business
No I don’t. I’ve been registered with the Inland Revenue as a sole trader since I sold my first book in 1989 and my business name is the same as my real name – ‘Diana Kimpton’. Adding a second name for the publishing side of my business seems an unnecessary complication.

You need…

Pauline Fisk: EXTREME RESEARCH - An Author's Guide to finding the next book

'The gap year novel has arrived, hot from Belize and Pauline Fisk's capable pen.' The Irish Times In 2008 I went on a research trip to Belize. I’d long been aware that there were no novels about gap year volunteering for young people who might one day want to do it. Yet it was an important rite of passage which I knew from experience was capable of changing lives.When my son, Idris, returned from his gap year in Belize I didn't recognize him. Five months earlier I’d seen off a white-faced youth incapable of even locating his vaccinations certificate let alone surviving in the jungle. Now a great hulking man walked towards me, his whole way of inhabited his body totally changed. It was if he had arrived at last - and not only at Heathrow Airport.I’m an author, so I know a story when I see one. Did gap year volunteering make as much difference to other young people as it had done to Idris? And, if so, how? And how important were the projects these volunteers worked on? A…

The rescued desk - where do you write? Roz Morris

My desk is an old dining table. It has been with my husband longer than I have.

He didn’t acquire it by choice. Years before I met him his mother found it by a skip. She delivered it to Dave ‘in case he’d find it useful’. He didn’t, because he didn’t need two dining tables. So he put it in the box room. Then I moved in.

I was a private scribbler, a manic creative. The box room became my study and the table my playground, with a computer and a litter of notes. Short stories, a tinkered-with novel, naive submissions. Gradually commissions happened. My prose left the house as printouts and disks and returned as proofs and then real books.

The table and I had become serious.

It was not a lovely beast. Not just because of the haloes from hot mugs, the cigarette burns and the grooves from children’s scribbles. I’ve never seen wood that looked so like Formica. I sanded and painted the top, in a paler tone of the smoky lilac on the walls. The table’s legs were neither substantial nor retro spindl…

Technophobia by Karen King

This post has been published in Sparks, A Year In E-Publishing - An Authors Electric Anthology 2011-2012. It has therefore been temporarily reverted to draft status to comply with amazon KDP Select's requirements.

The Final Straw; How I Came to Indie Publishing: Catherine Czerkawska

It was May 2011.  I still have the email. My epic Polish historical novel, The Amber Heart, had finally been sent out by my agent, and he forwarded the first rejection. It went like this: 'With real reluctance, I am going to have to pass on this. I loved it, while thinking some editorial work needed to be done. But the one other person who did read it just didn't really love it - infuriating. I am sorry, but you can't fly solo in publishing.'
It was, as rejections go, quite heartening, although it was followed by a deafening silence on all fronts. But it was also - as it turned out - the straw that broke this particular camel's back.
The email came soon after a BIG birthday. One of those birthdays that make you sit up and take stock. I duly took stock.
Firstly, I was sitting on a huge inventory - lots of finished or almost finished but unpublished work, in the shape of novels and stories. Secondly, I couldn't afford to sit on it any longer. Thirdly, I didn'…