Anthology

In the middle of editing the poetry anthology. Poems from four very different writers and I am wondering whether to keep the two different set ups. Some are written from the left margin and some centred. I quite like the variety but I’ll have to talk with my designer. I’d also like a border of some sort. I looked at some on line and I think I have found one I like but should it be the same on every page? Also, I have changed some of the punctuation and am tempted to restore the originals as they are how the author intended. I only found one spelling error in twenty poems. Now to get it all in order for October, when I am hoping we can make some sales.

Preparation

This is almost as difficult as research. I have a bunch of poems to make up an anthology and need to find a linking theme, a title and then sort them so there aren’t two poems on the same subject next to each other. Then I need to find the ones that need illustrations, a good font and decide how many pages we can afford.

I have already decided we can do without an ISBN and it can be stapled rather than glued. We easily sold and gave away 100 copies of the last book we did like this “Honey and Humbug” and I don’t anticipate having any trouble doing the same again.

All the poets included write verses that are easy to recite, although I do put in a few that do not rhyme and Joan, in particular, writes poems that contain humour as well as a perceptive insight into the past.

Being an editor as well as an author has its benefits as, at the moment, my creative juices have dried up. I’m back to selling one book a week if I’m lucky so I need this anthology to keep me positive.

Tips for Novice Writers 3.

There are a few books I have found helpful in my writing journey, the first of which is “The Writers’ and Artist’s Yearbook,” which not only has writing advice but names and addresses of publishers and agents.

One writer who is most helpful to new authors is Jane Wenham Jones who has written two books that are both practical and easy to read. They are “Wanna be a Writer?” and  “Wanna be a Writer we’ve heard of?”

Once you have written your story or article you could find helpful hints in Mary Cavanagh’s book “Marketing and Publicising Books.”

I also liked Andrew Crofts’ “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook.”

Finally, two regular publications, “The Writers’ Forum” and ” Writing” magazine have articles, competitions and contacts which encourage the new writer and demonstrate what a varied and exciting life we lead.

Of course, there are many more and lots of advice on line but it is good to have something to use as a reference book.

Tips for Novice Writers 2.

It is often said that writers must be introverts and that writing is a lonely occupation. Maybe for some it is, especially when members of their family sneer at their efforts – but there are plenty of extroverts who love to write. For them it is another means of communication.

If you find writing alone is less than satisfying I suggest you try to find a writing group, or start one. It can meet in a member’s house, you don’t need a hall, or in the local library. Each group is managed differently but most need a leader who has some idea of the format of each meeting.

Most informal groups meet to discuss the writing they are doing at the time and to read out loud. If this is overwhelming someone else can read your work or you can just participate by commenting on other contributions. Sometimes groups can organise events such as book launches or sales at fetes and fairs.

A more formal writing group usually has an experienced writer as a leader who will give advice and use the time for writing exercises with homework for those who wish to do it. Groups can be made up of writers of all genres or one. You might find a story-writing  group or one that writes poetry or produces plays.

Local colleges sometimes have groups led by a professional writer and lecturer but these can be expensive. A flourishing group can help with book design, self publishing, marketing and promotion but often the greatest pleasure a writer gets from a group is just mixing with fellow writers.

Larger groups run competitions, invite speakers and are probably members of the National Association of Writers Groups (UK) NAWG has an annual conference which is well worth attending.

Writers can be sociable!

Tips for Novice writers 1.

Writing a book.

Most people who want to write a book would like to write an autobiography. Not only is it a way to remember what happened, it is also a record to pass down to future generations.

Once you have written your book you must proof read it, using the computer spellcheck and letting someone else look over it for spelling, punctuation and spacing errors. It is also helpful to read it out loud. If you use an editor they will tell you if you have correct dates and reasonable continuity and, in the case of fiction, if you have made your characters believable and if there are any holes in the plot. If you are writing a novel it should be written in scenes, as if it was a film.

To find an agent you could use the Writers’and Artists’ Yearbook or meet them face to face at somewhere like the Winchester Festival. If you cannot get a publisher interested it is probably because they don’t think they could make a profit. If you know there is a niche market you could opt for self publishing.

For a few copies for family members a local printer may be your best bet but if you want copies in bookshops or the library you need to find a publishing partner or buy 10 ISBN numbers which cost over £100. Writers’ Forum or Writing Magazine have advertisements for publishing partners. Costs vary and the more copies you order the cheaper the books. Also, Feedaread or Createspace will take over the publication of your book on a Print on Demand basis.

If you wish to be your own publisher you can find experts to do what you are unable to do. Cover images can be found on line or you can provide your own.  A good book designer will format your book and send proofs for you to check.When it comes to selling  bookshops and wholesalers want a discount of 40-50% so you are unlikely to make a profit. Marketing is the most difficult part of being an author but the computer helps as does having a website and going on social media.

If you write fiction you are at the mercy of fashion and it is luck, fame or notoriety that will see your book a best seller.

Book sales

Self publishers often find that selling copies of paperback books is much more difficult than selling e-books.In fact, some of them opt to publish on line but not bother to use print at all.

There are plenty of people ready to give advice about selling on line but not so many suggesting how to get books in shops or in libraries.

If you don’t mind adding to the five copies you sent to other libraries your local library will probably accept free copies, but if you can find a group of people who are interested in your kind of story you may be able to make some sales.

If your book is set in a particular location or a special period of history then you should be able to find people who want to read it, even if they do not know you as an author.

If you have a certain age group as a target (my first book was written for pensioners, especially my own mother) or people who enjoy a certain activity, like swimming or ballet or hiking, seek them out in places they frequent.

I have had a wonderful time talking to members of the WI as they are very appreciative of my family based novels. Public speaking is not too difficult if you are enthusiastic about your subject and you have a friendly audience.

Now to find a passage to read tonight!

Communication

HI there, new readers. I hope you get the chance to scroll through some of my old posts. They may be more fun than the recent ones.

Also, I don’t know which website you came through. They have different email addresses.It would be great to know what aspect of my musings you prefer. I used to get ‘like’ when I wrote a poem so I might do that next. Also, I am reading an interesting futuristic book so I might put my review on here a well as Goodreads.

The Winchester Festival competitions are out now – very tempting but it’s years since I went there – too many steps.I would offer to speak on self publishing but it has changed so much since I started that I am way out of date. I still expect people to buy actual books!  Mind you, it is very encouraging when Amazon say they have put some money into my account even if it is for the ebook.

Now to get started on the Panto. First stop – the characters.