As a reader for the talking newspaper in Littlehampton I attended a South of England Talking News Conference at St Richard’s hospital in Chichester with about 14 other groups, some from as far afield as Norfolk.
The programme was well balanced with speakers from The British Wireless Fund for the Blind, the Talking News Federation, 4Sight and Chichester Area Talking news.
The march of mobile technology and its use in communicating with blind and partially sighted people to allow them to feel part of the community was at the core of all our discussions. The future is digital.
I just hope we don’t lose our faithful listeners on the way.
Being an editor/publisher as well as a novelist means I get the opportunity to select and revise as well as create. At the moment I am choosing poems for the second anthology by four local writers and they have come up with some very good work that is more serious than the rest of the verses I had selected.
I think, maybe , that this book will turn out very different from ‘Honey and Humbug’ our first anthology, which made people chuckle and is now out of print as all 100 copies were snapped up in a few months. I did not ISBN it as I was warned that not many people bought poetry books and, actually, a lot of them were given away as presents. It did prove that our efforts were appreciated and hence the new book.I do sometimes include a poem or two in my talks to the WI so my copy is very precious.
I am now researching local printers to find the most reasonable way of producing the anthology as I do not want to use Print on Demand.
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.
I believe most of us have the need to create, whether it be to build something, draw something, write something or grow something. I have been struggling this month because, even when I write a poem, I am not satisfied with what I have created.
So, today, I tried something different. I had some mincemeat left over from Christmas so I made some little mince pies. They are in the oven so I don’t know how they’ll come out -but I feel better already.
Lesson – you don’t always have to create in the most familiar way. Writers can paint and artists can garden. Try something new – it might be an energising experience!
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.
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.