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Showing posts from June, 2016

Proper Writers Have an Agent - Guest Post by Dennis Zaslona

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"Proper writers have an agent."

So said a ‘Top Literary Agent’ (TLA) panel member during a Q&A at a recent international writer’s festival I attended. There followed an immediate low growl from most of the audience. So I guess according to the TLA that made them all, not proper writers. I was one of the growlers. So is TLA right? Am I not a proper writer?

If I don’t write, I become moody. Worse, I start to question the worth of my existence. So I suppose I must be proper in the sense that creating stories and characters is as essential to my well-being as breathing.

But perhaps my writing is too poor to be accepted by an agent. Perhaps this why is I am not proper. I can’t answer this question. I find it hard to judge the quality of my own writing and that is why I go to writer’s groups for genuine crits. What I do know is that I’ve had ‘near misses’, with several agents and the BBC and I’ve won and been short-listed in enough writing competitions to have confidence that…

Not only but also ...

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As the summer weather really hasn't been much cop so far, we have decided to attempt to spread a little cheer by extending the period in which you can buy an e-copy of our latest anthology Another Flash in the Pen until the end of July for the bargain price of 99p. It is also available from Amazon in paperback if you prefer something a little more papery ...
We are also excited to be able to announce that this year we are publishing not just one, but two anthologies of short fiction stories ... here's a sneaky little preview of what we have planned for October ...


UK Referendum, Anthologies, and Summer Storms, by Enid Richemont

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It would be hard to ignore today's results from the UK's Referendum. Like most people I know, I'd assumed we would (and had voted for) 'Remain', but came down this morning to the news that the Farage tribe had succeeded. We now seem to be in bed with some very unlovely people - 'Approved by Trump' is not a sticker I'd want to flaunt, and as for Marine le Pen... I've just signed a petition to request a second referendum, which is gathering pace - apparently some of the people who voted Out are now regretting it. There's also a feeling that the Brexit team didn't ever expect to win this one, so making unrealistic claims was OK as they'd never be called on to implement them. My husband, David, used to say that there's an old Chinese curse: 'May You Live In Interesting Times'. Well, unfortunately, we do, we do.

'Another Flash in the Pen' came out recently. I'd already pre-ordered it, but forgotten, so its arrival came …

40 Years Earning a Living as a Writer - Andrew Crofts

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I first published a version of this article in the Guardian on-line, so please forgive me if parts of it sound familiar. 


I left school with a burning urge to lead the life of a writer; travelling like Byron, fĂȘted like Wilde before his fall, creating laughter like Wodehouse and crafting sentences like Nabokov. I had no professional contacts so I wrote my masterpieces speculatively and every path I went down ended with a rejection slip or total silence. The perceived wisdom then, as now, was that earning a living as a writer was about as likely as winning a lottery.
Then I discovered the secret of marketing. Instead of writing things and trying to persuade people to buy them, I would find out what writing services people needed and offer to provide them. So, at the same time as begging publishers and editors for commissions, I made myself available to anyone who might want to write an article or a book but did not feel able to do it for themselves.


I have just finished a three year st…

By the Time You Read This I'll be in Bits by Ruby Barnes

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Last Thursday, while Britain was busy voting on its EU divorce, I managed to indulge two of my passions - writing and martial arts - with a fundraising launch of the Zombies v. Ninjas series in Stonehouse Books, Kilkenny, Ireland.


It was a great event, well-attended and raising a good few euros for the club, Evolution Martial Arts Academy. The whole thing turned into a signing fest when we came up with the idea of club members wearing their outfits. Readers were encouraged to ask anyone in karate regalia to sign their newly purchased books as the trilogy features all the club members. It was a unique experience for everyone.


The launch had been greatly anticipated. My ZvN trilogy was a rapid project, first chapters being penned in February 2015 and the final edit of the third book completed in May 2016 (they're only 40k words each). This project served several purposes - to have some fun writing really crazy stories, to see if I could produce some commercial work to a short timesc…

Goats, Goats And More Goats - by Susan Price

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It was about a year ago that my brother Andrew said, "How about doing something with the Three Billy Goats Gruff?"
         He knows I'm a sucker for that story, that I've often said it's a master-class in suspenseful story-telling. So I said, "You're on!" and the Goatstravaganza started to roll.
       First we set up a story-board: a large sheet of plywood leaning against a bookcase, on which Andrew stuck sketches as he made them. I would scribble lines on bits of paper and tack them to the board. The pictures influenced the writing and the writing influenced the pictures. It was enormous fun.

Pencil sketches from the story-board
       We wanted to publish it as a paperback with CreateSpace. Ah, but how to persuade CreateSpace to publish a picture book with speech-bubbles and explosive, coloured 'Ka-pows!' and pictures that bleed right to the edge of the page?
     We researched, and all the smart money said that making it into a PDF with a P…

Thank goodness that's over, now I can get back to writing.

I've no idea where our readers are. But some of those in the UK might be preoccupied today. For we had a referendum yesterday in which we decided our future place in the European Union. The media has been overwhelmed with arguments (I call them arguments - some not much more than appealing to primitive suspicions and beliefs about people who are different) for months. I confess I reached the point of turning them off. I couldn't bear watching yet another rich white man pontificating and making promises he can't possibly keep.

However, it has absorbed my thinking. The implications, for myself and my family, are huge. We can't reverse this decision. It's not like an election; if we elect a bunch of tossers we can vote them out in another five years. We have to get this 'right'. (Today we find out what 'right' might look like).

Then came the murder of Jo Cox - there's nothing to add to the millions of words that have been written about this. But I…

Caught Between the Devil and the Deep Brown River by Lev Butts

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It seems that Amazon.com just can't help screwing over indie writers. I don't mean to imply that Amazon has it in for indie writers. It would be self-defeating to set out to undermine such a significant source of revenue for one of your important subsidiaries. After all, without indie folks, Amazon's CreateSpace program, one of the primary venues for self-publishers and many smaller independent presses, would essentially be dead in the water.

No, the problem lies in Amazon's perhaps overzealous pursuit of quality control. More particularly, trying to ensure that its merchandise is not offensive, its book reviews are relatively unbiased, and royalties are obtained honestly.


This is not a new thing, and we here at Authors Electric have certainly discussed Amazon's problematic relationship with independent authors (and with traditional writers, too) before. However, I'd like to take a closer look at the problematic methods Amazon has used to address the three con…

Waving or drowning? Ali Bacon reviews her social media situation

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I don’t know what it takes to fall in love with social media (warped personality? lack of real social life?) but for a while I was head over heels, first of all with my blog and then with Twitter.
     Blogging came about because of a work remit (I must be one of the few members of the human race who did a course on it!) and shortly after I was offered a paid blogging opportunity on behalf of a golf marketing company. Since I played golf, this was fun, and as long as I churned out a couple of posts a week I was sent a modest but satisfying cheque at the end of each month.
     Nice work if you can get it.
     And by the time the Rather-Be-Golfing goose had stopped laying its golden eggs, I had put together my own writing website using the free Wordpress facility which I knew would provide ‘static’ website pages as well as a blog, enabling me to feel like a) an IT whiz-kid and b) a proper author with a proper website.
Let me say again, all of this was fun, and for a good three years I b…

What the EU Referendum means for authors - Katherine Roberts

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On Thursday, UK voters will be making a decision to REMAIN or LEAVE ("BREXIT") the European Union. I'm writing this post a little ahead of time, but already I have been bombarded by so many different 'facts' from both camps (mostly speculation and educated guesses, it seems) that I am becoming quite confused. So without trying to change your mind in any way at this late stage, I'm writing this post to try to decide what the referendum means for authors like me.

'Fact' 1: Authors are self-employed. This means we do not benefit from any kind of minimum wage, holiday or sick pay, workplace pension, or other employee sweeteners. So far I've heard that Brexit might cut wages by £38 per week, but also that Brexit could mean a rise in the wages of low-paid workers. Both of these headlines seem to be based on educated guesses working from Britain's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) forecasts, and as far as I can work out neither outcome will directly affec…

Weatherhouses and hearthstones by Sandra Horn

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