Thursday, 26 February 2009

Submission update

One of the fulls bounced back to me in the post this morning, the latter of the two as it happens - after only three weeks which is a pretty good turnaround time.

The letter with it said it would be impossible to sell in its present form. Well, it's feedback I suppose, but not specific enough to help me revise. Maybe they just think the story stinks?

Oh well. I'd be lying if I denied feeling a bit of angst for about 20 minutes, but there's no point in self pity, is there?

So it's back to the old keyboard...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

My new website

It had to happen, and now it has!

Check out my new website. It even has a forum so please join in the discussions.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Great YWO POD Debate (cont.)

Just when you thought it was safe to look on self-publishing threads this argument shows no sign of going away any time soon. I'm not sure what it is about YWO that brings out the extreme opinions I've seen on writers' boards, but you either love or hate it. Some - mainly editors and industry professionals - can't find a good word to say about it and its founder, Ted. I've seen him vilified and practically tarred and feathered on some sites supposedly because he has fudged the boundary between peer review and publishing, but is that really the reason or is something much deeper the cause of all this vitriol?

Because the vitriol seems out of all proportion to his alleged "crime", if indeed it is a crime to allow people to publish their books for free. I'm not a fan of the scheme and said in an earlier post I doubted whether it would produce adequately edited books, but if someone wants to do it isn't that their business? In a time when books are being squeezed out by other media, shouldn't we all applaud an initiative that produces more of them, even if they only satisfy the author?

I have to say I detect a whiff of paranoid fear in all this hysteria. Publishing is in a state of flux with new technology like Kindle and ipods and POD making the old methods increasingly outdated. Change is always painful. Who knows where it will end? Maybe in twenty years time we'll all laugh at the memory of people going to a bookshop to buy paper books?

And I bet they'll still be arguing about it on Writers' boards.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Still no news....

But, I found this great blog and had to post it here to pass it on.

As writers, confidence is so important simply because writing is such a solitary activity, (unless you co-write but that's a different story). I find my confidence can evaporate quicker than morning dew, especially here in Submission Hell. With so many "No's" coming at us, it's hard to keep our inner voice saying "Yes".

And I suspect the more sensitive you are as a writer the more of an issue this is. There are always loads of reasons not to do something - it takes courage above and beyond the call of duty to do it anyway.

So, writers everywhere - I salute you!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Getting the jitters

It's been cold this week. Very cold. And the snow finally caught up with me. Now, I'm no killjoy - it's very pretty and all that - but it stops being funny when you can't walk the dog without breaking a limb and have to get rescued by someone in a car. And snowmen are ok for about 20 minutes, but after that I'd rather be in the warm thankyou very much.

So, I really hope we've seen the last of snow this winter.

And I'm still waiting...

By Thursday night my nerve cracked and I shot off an email to the agency, asking nicely whether they got my full and phone number. (Joking aside it wouldn't be funny to find the email had gone astray - yeah, I know it's unlikely but you never know!)

So imagine my surprise to get a reply within the hour - jeez, what hours do these guys work? - to say he's still reading it and he'll phone me next week.

Good news, but now my nerves are twanging like overhead cables in a snowstorm.

Watch this space...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

What's Cookin'?

Odd week this. On Sunday my cooker exploded - nothing serious but needing a new element. Long boring story ensues about fly-by-night repairman ripping me off for a callout charge and trying to extort more money to come back and do the repair; heated telephone exchange (not as much fun these days - I definitely am getting old!) - upshot of which cutting my losses and calling in manufacturer's engineer.
Weather has been bitter and miserable, and dog managed to lose his dog-tag so I had to track down a substitute.
Son at university discovered his overdraft facility was £200 less than he'd been told and he had no money left.
Just when I was starting to give up on February and go back to bed for the rest of the winter I received a letter from an agency. No, not one of the ones I just subbed to, although that's what I first assumed. This was from the second batch I sent out in early November - three months ago - and I'd given up on. And get this - they wanted the Full!
Needless to say I'd printed it off and got to the Post Office before you could say "return postage". So now that's two fulls out there in Submission Land. Maybe February won't be such a lousy month after all...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Amazon Reviews

Like most people, I put a lot of business Amazon's way. One reason for this is their customer review system. On the face of it, it is a useful gauge as to how good a book is, particularly if it's a subject (non-fiction) or author (fiction) you haven't tried before. So up until recently I've relied on it a lot in making a decision about whether or not to buy.

Until recently when I came across a thread on a writers' site where a newly published author was complaining about a bad review she had received and urging members to go and vote the review as "unhelpful". Then it occurred to me, poor naive fool that I am, that anyone could solicit good reviews from friends and family - even themselves, if they faked their identity.

The idea shocks me, to be honest. Shouldn't your work stand or fall on its merits, rather than this dodgy networking? It debases the whole system and makes all the reviews - well, pretty useless, really, unless you know who gave it.

Of course, as an author I can sympathise with the idea of getting bad reviews. But I don't think getting your mates to vote for you ever made anyone a better writer. And I'll be taking all Amazon reviews with a much larger pinch of salt from now on.