Tuesday, 19 February 2013

New Year, New Format, New Venue!

Writing Buddies turned out in force on February 1st for the first meeting of 2013. It was agreed that the Mercure Dolphin Hotel was a good choice, and there was ‘table service’ for drinks of all kinds at the start of the meeting, but no pressure at all to order. We were very pleased to welcome several new members, too.

From now on, instead of each member telling everyone about their writing projects at the start of the meeting, it is open to anyone who wishes to volunteer their good news.

Jimmy’s next book, Not a Guide to Southampton, is about to be published, and he is hosting a launch on February 28th at The Red Lion (High Street, Southampton) from 5 to 7 pm. All are welcome. He is also expecting publication of his book for young children soon.

Josephine has a chapter in the Institute of Management Services Handbook, and she has now been asked to write an article for their quarterly journal.

Tessa has now published her novel as an ebook and a paperback - The Girl from the Land of Smiles; it is an exciting and unusual murder mystery based around the Buddhist belief that the dead are reborn as other forms of life. She is also soon to publish Thou Shall Not Kill, her novel set in Guernsey.

Jacqueline has a piece of flash fiction published in Paragram’s anthology, Connections.

Silma told the group about a local publisher who produces a free magazine. She has been invited to write an article for it. The editor is Rachel Muller, and the publisher is Cultura Press based in Whitefield Road in New Milton.

Penny has commissions for two further books, on crime and a sequel to Under the Queen’s Colours, this time about military wives.

We heard from Yvonne, a visiting student, who is preparing a dissertation that will be submitted to Southampton City Council. She is looking at better ways of promoting Southampton as a city to visit and as a place to live, and wanted some ideas from members; there were several suggestions made along these lines. Anyone with further ideas could contact her at ygclemmen@gmail.com

Penny read out a letter she’d received from a writer who had lost his royalties when DB Publishing (from Derby) had gone out of business. The letter explored the problems of failure of publishers and presented a cautionary tale.

Tessa recommended Lightning Source as a reliable printer for print-on-demand. Penny mentioned Oceans, the café/shop/tourist/exhibition centre which recently opened just a few doors from The Dolphin. They are interested in hosting book launches, talks and other events.

It is planned that this blog will soon have some attached pages that will cover the basics of some aspects of writing. There were offers of contributions for self-publishing, preparing manuscripts for submission, planning a book launch, writing articles and fillers for magazines, writing non-fiction books, formatting for kindle, marketing on Amazon, setting up blogs and websites, and proofreading.

It was suggested for anybody wishing to have their own novel writing software, 'yWriter' can be downloaded for free at www.spacejock.com. 

Lisa mentioned that free courses, including writing, are offered at www.coursera.org and they can be helpful for research. Two members offered to be ‘welcome Buddies’ to contact new members by email to pass on any information. Penny is looking for speakers for future meetings. 

The next meeting will be on March 1st at The Dolphin Hotel, High Street, Southampton from 2 to 4 pm. Anyone with an interest in writing is very welcome to join us.

~ Notes written by Jacqueline Pye 

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