Monday, 22 October 2012

Writing Buddies - It's Good to Talk

Southampton Writing Buddies met again at The Art House on October 5th. We were a small group this time but with plenty to discuss.

John was due to see and review a performance of Great Expectations. He has now completed sixteen blog posts, keeping up his plan to blog every week. The previous two posts had been the two halves of a new poem. A4E have accepted his business plan involving his blog; he showed the group his poem manuscript together with the syllable counts to show how they were constructed. 

Jacqueline will have two stories in the next e-anthology by Inkslinger Books; it's called Temporal Tales and each entry involves time-slips. She has a short story in the latest edition of What the Dickens internet magazine. A piece of flash fiction submitted for an anthology was accepted but there is no payment and contributors are asked to order copies of the book at £8. The group agreed that this sounded like something of a scam.

Josephine joined Hampshire Writers' Society; they have talks by well-known writers. A recent guest was P D James, who gave a really excellent talk. Josephine is looking for a publisher for her book about meetings, and is thinking about Manchester University. She is still working on her staff management book, and is considering a book or an article on being an executor. The group felt this would be a really useful book, and Josephine has the experience.

Ray's memoir is nearly completed. He employed someone to advise, and hopes to self-publish it fairly soon. As a title he is considering 'From War to an Iron Fighter'. He has now begun to write some poetry, too.

Jimmy's book Not a Guide to Southampton will be out in January. He is working with Penny on a 1950s childhood book which will be published in May. He is planning to publish his Sundance Gang novels and the Far End of the Tunnel trilogy, and is still working on a book about teenagers. He has had a good deal of positive feedback about his first book Growing Up in Wartime Southampton, Some Else's Trousers.

Penny's latest book for The History PressEastleigh Then and Now is out in hardback; the Echo have requested a review copy and Radio Solent's presenter Katie Martin is interested in the book too. Penny is book-signing in Waterstone's in Eastleigh on Saturday November 24th. She recently gave talks in Southampton area about hauntings.

There was then a lengthy discussion about how to turn a manuscript into a book or an ebook, either through a publisher or self-publishing. Lulu and Amazon were mentioned, and some local printers who will produce print runs on demand, usually with a minimum number ordered. These included George Mann books (Malthouse Close, Winchester), The Sholing Press, and Hobbs in Totton who made a really good job of publishing poetry with photographs for one of our members.

We also touched on how to look for commissioned writing work and - in hope - get paid for it. Writing for no payment can be very good to get known and enrich the CV,while obtaining payment is elusive; even the major publishing houses are drawing their horns in and sometimes asking for advances to be returned if a book is late or doesn't get completed.

Writing Buddies will meet again on Friday November 2nd at 2pm at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. Everyone with an interest in writing, whether published or not, is very welcome to join us.

Post by Jacqueline Pye.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Writing Buddies, Friday 7 September 2012

Writing Buddies Meet Again

Writing Buddies' recent meeting was on Friday 7th September at The Art House in Southampton. As always, we talked about the work we'd been doing since last time and then discussed matters of general interest.

Tessa is setting her latest book up as an ebook for Amazon and noted how crowded the site has become. This led to a discussion, detailed below, on Ryan Deiss and how to sell in an overcrowded market.

Mo has spent a good week writing a screenplay for a Hollywood producer. He has finally paid her for her work, which is great, and she is enjoying it and feels motivated.

Janet continues to write every day, and she has been working on some art to accompany her writing.

New member John has written some stories for children but he is uncertain how and where to place them, though he has been working with an illustrator and he showed us some of her work. This was discussed in more detail later.

Jacqueline had a piece of flash fiction in issue 5 of What the Dickens internet magazine and has submitted for the next issue. Her story appeared in Tortured Hearts Vol 3 ebook by Inkslingers and will have two stories in their next anthology. Her article based on a WW1 diary is accepted by The Great War magazine, and she has pitched to CBBC an idea for a children's drama.

Christine contributed to the newly published second edition of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Theory & Practice. She has entered the Book Guild's short story competition, and is currently editing another author's book about Emma Hamilton.

Rowan has an idea for a novella. He has found The Writers' & Artists' Guide to How to Write very useful.

John G continues with performance poetry, and is also involved in online reviewing.

Penny's book Eastleigh Then and Now is due out at any time and there are some advance orders already. She is writing a book, with Jimmy, about childhood in Southampton, and has just signed a contract for a 2013 sequel to Under the Queen's Colours which will be about women. She is planning book signings at Waterstone's in Eastleigh.

The discussion included how to judge the age group for a children's story, the language constraints, whether the relevant children would be interested in the particular subject matter, and the importance of appropriate illustrations. Younger children may prefer 'funky' pictures which should be strong on shape and colour but not necessary detail.

Tessa mentioned an internet course run by American Ryan Deiss on how to sell ebooks in an overcrowded market. He charges $250 and the course is hard work, but he promises a refund if the fee is not recouped in ebook sales. Still on the subject of marketing, John G mentioned The Masquerade Crew's blog where various sources of advice are being gathered.

Two possible speakers were mentioned, and these will be considered for future meetings.

Writing Buddies will be meeting again on October 5th, the next 'first Friday of the month', 2pm at The Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton. Anyone with an interest in writing will be very welcome.

Notes by Jacqueline Pye.