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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

You're in Waterstones, what has inspired you to pick up that particular book?

So, what makes you pick up a certain book?

The author?
The cover design?

Enter the poll and see the results. It seems (so far, and it's only day one!) that the author, closely followed by the cover will win.

Poll has now finished and the results show that there is hope for all us new authors after all.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Yipeeee I've finished my latest novel.

Honestly, it's taken less than a year to write but over a year to edit the blooming thing! I've named it A Proper Charlie. It's a chicklit about a woman who generates a bubbly image, and in the past was happy to live up to it. She’d been brought up in a children’s home and subsequently longs for a family; someone to belong to and for someone to belong to her. She wants to be loved basically. Trouble is her current boyfriend is a complete tosspot, and her job becomes unstable when another firm take it over. Things seem to all be going wrong.

Her new boss is heartbreakingly good looking Ben Middleton whose sister has gone missing. He hires a private investigator who finds some of her possessions with prostitute Sally Readman, and Ben is worried that his sister is in trouble, especially as a serial killer seems to be targeting prostitutes!

Charlie thinks she can impress her new boss by researching the red-light area for the story; only she thinks she'd get better results if she pretends to be a prostitute.

Of course Ben and Charlie meet. Charlie thinks Ben is the murderer, and Ben thinks Charlie is a prostitute with hilarious results. 

A Proper Charlie is outrageously funny, and follows Charlie and Ben on a journey to discover true love.

It was fun to write, and I think I've found my "niche" in my writing career. Comedy is something I want to excel in. I hope A Proper Charlie finds a publisher soon, because MISS ANTHROPE ONE NIGHT STAND OR TWO is coming up to its editing stage (which will probably take a year to perfect) and that was easier to write than Charlie.

You can see the first two chapter on youwriteon.com site but download isn't all that brilliant though, and the book WILL have indents etc!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Self-Publishing Snobbery

There's a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It's the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn't it?

Many think so, sadly.

I've read a few SP books and loads of "ordinary" books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

I suppose I'm biased having written and POD-published my
book. I regret not finding a decent designer for the book cover, but other than that it's my debut book and I'm proud of it, God dammit!

So, would I do it again?

Yep, is my answer. Self-publishing, podding, whatever you call it is second best but only because you are editor, promoter, and writer all rolled into one neat ball, and being all of those is a lonely and time-consuming business (especially when all you want to do is write!). But I'd still do it again. I've learned so much along the way, and met so many wonderful people.

Pros and Cons of self-publishing can be found in the links highlighted. But, at all costs, make sure your book is the best it can be if you follow the SP route (by any route, really). Pay for a detailed edit/proof-read. Pay an artist for a good cover: these don't have to be expensive. Shop around.

Thanks to Lulu.com, youwriteon.com etc self-publishing (POD - print on demand) isn't expensive anymore, so don't get suckered into paying more than you can afford.

Vanity publishing is not to be confused with self-publishing. These are companies out to get as much money from authors as they can. You'll end up with a garage full of books and an empty bank account, so be aware.

But be prepared to sell yourself; pimping on Twitter, Facebook etc. You'll make a lot of friends from all over the world, as I have found, but you'll also encounter a lot of snobbery.

Have you self-published? Thinking about it? I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I want to talk about books...

Read any good books lately? How do you read? Are you a speed reader? Skimming the pages, eager to get to the end? Or does it take you a long time to read a book?

I'm a lazy reader. I don't read properly. I skim words I don't understand or pronounce. Mr D'Aubigne becomes simply Mr D. As a writer this is bad. I could be missing fresh new words.

I challenge you to pick up a book and really read it. Don't skim, read every word and use a dictionary for every word you don't understand. Sound out the words you can't pronounce.

Is the book in the first person or the third? The first person is when a book it written as if it is about the author himself - I went to the shops. The third person - she went to the shops.

I makes it more personal and NOW. But the author can only know about other characters in the book if the "I" person knows about them. Using she or "Jon", for instance, and the author has more scope to write about other characters.

Look how the author deals with VP (view point) or description. How does he or she fit in the boring back-story about Andy losing contact with his mum thus finding female relationships hard? How does the author make the characters so alive?

Study your chosen book. Analyse it. See how the author doesn't bombard you with description or blocks of black ink.

Read, read, read. Then study, study, study.