Tag Archives: publishing

Advice from poet Wendy Cope on poetry writing

A Guardian article in which poet Wendy Cope offers some excellent advice on writing poetry, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/21/poetry.writing.wendycope.

Wendy stresses the importance of the poet being well read (in the sense of having read a wide variety of poetry, in different styles, by a diversity of poets). She also says that poets should practice writing all variaties of poetry in order to hone their craft. For example a poet who feels most comfortable using free verse, should also practice writing in rhyme.

I shook my head when I read of the man who presented Cope with a copy of his own poetry and stated that he didn’t read other poets as he didn’t wish to be influenced by them. What can one say to such a person? …

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Words Caper

Words caper
On virtual paper,
As my thoughts one another chase,
Only to be lost in cyberspace.
‘Else my words on pages
Moulder for ages.

But it is not the case
That cyberspace
Does forget,
And dusty tomes, may be read yet.

The Role Of The Literary Agent

This week “The Bottom Line”, on BBC Radio 4 examines the role of agents (literary and otherwise). The information on the BBC’s website reads as follows:

“This week the programme looks at the business of agents. What exactly do they do and are they adding value to their clients’ careers? Evan Davis discusses their role with three agents from the worlds of showbusiness, football and books. …”.

To listen to the programme please visit, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09b0wbl.

Your chance to win a signed (print) copy of poet Kevin Morris’s forthcoming collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems”

I am offering the opportunity to win a signed (print) copy of my forthcoming collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems”, which will be published, by Moyhill Publishing later this month. In order to enter please answer the following question:

What is the name of the famous English balad from which the following lines are taken

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, …”.

Please email your answers to newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com. Please put “Competition to win a copy of “My Old Clock I Wind” in the subject line of your email. Please do not provide the answer in the comments of this post (as everyone will be able to read your answer)! The first person to furnish the correct answer wins a free, signed copy of “My Old Clock”. Good luck!

Kevin

So You Want To Be A Writer? – A Guest Post by Lucinda E. Clarke

Many thanks to Lucinda E. Clarke for the below guest post.

You can visit Lucinda’s website HERE.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?

Asked that question when I was five and my answer was ‘Yes’ – asked again at school leaving and the answer was still ‘Yes.’ But you know how it is, life gets in the way and I took the ‘family approved’ route and became a teacher. Five countries and almost two decades later, I fell into writing almost by accident and was commissioned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation to write for radio. This led to scripting for television, then major corporate companies, government departments, and all points in between. From 1985 until 2008 I earned my living by writing, producing and directing videos and broadcast programmes.

I was a writer for hire. On Monday I would be scribbling for an international food company extolling the great nutritional value of their potato crisps and on Friday writing for the Heart Foundation persuading people never, ever to eat potatoes because they were so bad for your health.

In my time I wrote mayoral speeches, brochures, leaflets, adverts for radio, TV and print. I had a newspaper column, wrote articles for magazines and had a couple of educational books traditionally published.

What advice would I give to anyone thinking of writing for a living?

Firstly, unless you write the next major hit, and have the amazing one in several million chance of getting it traditionally published and turned into a Hollywood drop dead blockbuster, it’s unlikely you will be able to sustain a family and a mortgage by self publishing your books. It may happen, but don’t hold your breath, however good your book is. So, if your major love is writing, think outside the box and write for money. Annual company reports are not thrilling, but they will put food on the table. At the same time, you are honing your skills and learning the nuts and bolts of the trade.

Secondly, when you finally find the courage to publish your baby, and by then it will be more precious than any other member of the family, you may expect to sit back and wait for the accolades to roll in right? Wrong!

To paraphrase some famous writer – ‘If you put your head above the parapet, you must expect to be shot down.’

You have written the most brilliant masterpiece that Shakespeare would envy, but not everyone will like it, enjoy it or understand it. You will get criticism, warranted or otherwise. The first time this happens it’s devastating, the second, it hurts a little less, the third time you begin to shrug it off and giggle at the bad spelling and grammar your less than thrilled reviewer has posted for all the world to see. Grab a glass of wine or a huge mug of coffee and read the one star comments on books you’ve loved, it’s the best remedy I know.

Now, I thought after supporting two children, a husband and a St Bernard among other furry household members by writing for almost thirty years, that I could, in fact, write. Wrong again.

When I retired, I couldn’t stop writing, it gets in your blood, it’s a disease. So I tried my hand at writing books and it was like starting all over again at the bottom, and even after seven books I’m still learning.

If you want to find out how I ‘fell’ into writing and how my career morphed from the classroom to the television studios you can check out my books:

Truth, Lies and Propaganda http://goo.gl/Ws7b4w
and

More truth, Lies and Propaganda http://goo.gl/z9iLFa

These links take you to Amazon but both books are available on all channels as eBooks and in paperback.

If you are a born writer, then you won’t be able to stop writing, so don’t fight it.

Go and write the next bestseller!

Waterstones accused of passing off stores as Independents

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The bookstore chain, Waterstones has been accused of passing off some of the company’s stores as independents.

The company denies the allegation.

For the article please click HERE

And the winner is … Print!

Prior to the birth of the internet, the only options open to aspiring writers (other than being published by a traditional publisher) where to pay what was often a small fortune to a self-publishing company or (if they happened to get lucky) find a magazine/journal who would publish their work.

The web now allows anyone with an internet connection to publish online or via ebook platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). All this technological development is to be welcomed but …

Ebook publishers can decide (at any time) to remove your book. There have even been instances where Amazon has removed ebooks (remotely) from the devices of readers. Now you see your book on an ebook retailer’s website, now you don’t!

You always have your own site to rely on (assuming your writing or parts thereof are published there). That is true, but websites get hacked and even big blogging platforms/web hosting companies may go out of business leaving you high and dry or, to mix metaphors up the creek without a paddle.

Well at least some of your guest posts will survive on the sites/blogs of those who have been kind enough to host your content, won’t they?

Quite possibly.

I am extremely grateful to everyone who has kindly allowed me to guest post on their site. No one is obliged to post anything by me or anyone else so, when they do so it is a mark of generosity on their part.

However, you are not in control of other people’s sites. They may, at any time decide to delete content (including yours) or, indeed their blog in it’s entirety thereby removing your post and those of others.

So if you want your work to survive permanently what is the answer? In my view, good old-fashioned print. Even if a publishing company (self-publisher or traditional concern) goes out of business your books will remain in the hands of those who have purchased them and, of course you may, yourself hold unsold stock.

Again, if your books are in libraries they will remain available to borrow.

There is, of course nothing to prevent you from retaining electronic copies of your works and the overwhelming majority of writers do so. However hard discs get corrupted beyond salvage, cloud storage systems can be hacked etc.

In short the only failsafe way to preserve your works is to produce print editions.

I am not against electronic media. It is, as I say above, a wonderful way of bringing your writing to the attention of a wider audience but, when the chips are down print is, in my view the hardiest of the plants in the garden.

A fire may destroy a warehouse full of print books but (assuming your book is in bookshops and proofs survive), your work will remain available for today’s (and future) generations.

Print is, in any case wonderful. I have happy memories of visiting W H Smiths with my grandfather and drinking in the scent of all those books as we browsed the store.

To this day happy memories come flooding back whenever I pass by a branch of Smiths.