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.

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The Play’s the Thing!

I gave my pantomime to someone to consider recording and she liked it! Now to cast, direct and produce it. The folk at the Voice of Progress are all used to recording and most have done pantomimes before so it’s just a case of getting us all together at the same time.

I need to find a wicked sounding witch and someone with an unusual voice and comic timing. This must be the most exciting thing I have attempted for some time. It has really cheered me up.

I also need to work out how to do links as I could be changing my website this summer.I’m going to check on Google now and see if I can learn it!

File it.

Just written three more poems and realised I have many in different places, files, notebooks,scraps of paper, the computer, back of the kitchen diary -in fact, anywhere I happened to be when the mood took me or when I spotted a competition on line.

So it is time I searched for them and collected them together in a poetry file.

Trouble is, I’m not sure if I can reuse some of them. Those that are already published can be spoken out loud at folk clubs but those that are waiting to be judged should not be shown anywhere else until the competition has ended. Making a catalogue is not easy for me. I try to list what I have sent away but forget the ones I still have.

Now is the time! If I get a brand new file and label it POETRY I may eventually have enough for an anthology.

Talk

Have just returned from a talk that eight of the Sea Scribes gave to members of Worthing’s Phoenix Club at their speaker’s lunch. The food was delicious and we were treated to a glass of wine each.

Then we took turns in talking about how to write and publish books. Elaine Hankin had ordered it so that we each had a subject, non-fiction, plotting and character, proof reading etc. and then three of us told how we self published. I go-it-alone, Elaine uses Feedaread and Angela uses Createspace.

We took books as examples and hoped for sales but, although we did get some interested folk asking questions, it was not intended as a selling event and so it transpired.

When I came home I found my play was not going to be used in a local festival and the competition I entered closed yesterday, although I only found out about it today. They asked for a sonnet and if  they don’t want it I’ll post it on here next week.

All good fun!

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!

Old poem

Now, in the Autumn of our years

We wait to see what Winter brings

While russet beauty calms our fears

Chill Winter hints of sufferings.

We’ve savoured all the joys of youth

Forged paths through lifetime’s verdant Spring

The love and laughter constant proof

Summer is time for blossoming.

Now Autumn sees us slow – and taste

The harvest of our earlier years,

Determined that we should not waste

The lessons learned from hopes and fears.

But all the wisdom garnered then

Cannot protect from Winter’s cold.

There’s no escape the fate of men

To live the seasons, and grow old.