Friday, 27 September 2013

Writing Buddies September 2013

The Writing Buddies met at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel as usual. This venue is proving to be a success as the group are well looked after when we visit. The meeting was chaired by Jimmy, in Penny's absence.  

Tessa started by telling the group about her book Somerset Scenes. It is an enchanting book of paintings from the county of Somerset and all of the Writing Buddies looking at the copy Tessa had brought with her.  She also told us all about the methods of colour printing used in the book.

Mo is giving an evening talk from 8 pm at the Woolhouse on September 25 on her book A Blues for Shindig.  

Ray has sold over three hundred copies of his book From War to an Iron Fighter and the Writing Buddies agreed that this was very good for a first book, particularly as the average total sales for a book is just 500 copies.  Ray now fits kitchens nationwide and he decided to write to his many customers to tell them about his book. He wrote 800 letters in all and posted them all off but the Post Office lost the whole batch. He has, of course, taken this up with them and they have accepted responsibility. But they told Ray he now needs to fill out a separate form for each of the letters he posted in order to have anything done about it. Ray sensibly turned to the daily Echo about this and they have taken up the case. He feels that this alone will give publicity for his book.

Janet has entered another poetry competition.

JPF told the group about the forthcoming poetry contest in Titchfield with a Shakespeare theme.  Entry for this is free and the deadline is 8th September. The contest takes place at a gala evening on 29 September at the Barn, Titchfield.  

Lisa told us she is working with her friend Sophie and helping her with her memoirs. She has also met the actress Susana Hamilton and now wants to get back into writing for films.

Jim Brown told the group he is enjoying life as an ebook writer because he gets royalties from this without the hassle of public appearances. Jim told us all about It’s A Hard Knock: Childhood Reminiscences of Southampton, Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst By Shiela Hansford Nee Souch that is published by the Bitterne Local History Society.  He also showed us the information on his latest book Southampton’s Lucky Jim.  He describes this as a look at policing in Southampton in the 1950s with nothing held back, or as Jim put it 'Warts and all'. 

Jimmy then told the group of his plans to visit his family. While there, he plans to work with is son to publish, under his own publishing name of Aloejimmy Publishing (AJP) the first two titles, Davie Collins and the Sundance Gang Vol 1 and Jayden the Naughty Goldfish Vol 1. He will also take advantage of the opportunity to cross over into Yorkshire and visit the oldest sweepshop in England, in Pately Bridge. The photos and information he gets there will complete his next project for the History Press, a look at the 1940s, which is due out in May 2014.

There was then a lively discussion around the table, centring on assistance with computing problems during the self-publishing process and Royalty payments from ebooks. Blogs, a regular discussion point, also featured, as it is felt important to have an internet presence.  A blog is free and easy to set up and use.

The next meeting of Writing Buddies will take place at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel on Friday 4th October.  All writers are welcome, published and unpublished, in all genres.

Blog notes by James Marsh.

Good News and Lively Discussion from the Writing Buddies

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Mercure Dolphin Hotel on Friday August 2nd, again with a good attendance. We began with any news members wanted to share.

Pat is elated to have won first place in the Winchester Writers Conference/Hampshire Chronicle murder story competition, and a round of applause was in order. She received a hugely complimentary critique from the judge, a creative writing tutor.

Mo will be giving a reading of her book, A Blues for Shindig, at The Art House, Southampton in September.

Annette has two articles coming out in The People's Friend soon. The first is about her parachute jump and the other describes a microlight flight. She is also still calling for anecdotes about people's early school history for a work in progress.

Christine D mentioned New Writing South, which offers a mentoring scheme which seems really helpful. Meetings take place in London.

Jimmy is about to publish (Aloejimmy publishing) the first novel in his Sundance series, after editing is completed. This will be followed by his picture story book for preschool children. 

Penny and Jimmy attended the War and Peace Revival Show at the old Folkestone racecourse. Both were booksigning and Penny met up with people who had contributed to her books.

Jacqueline received critiques for the two stories she submitted for the Winchester competition. One was Commended and the other was awarded third place. A piece of her flash fiction is currently longlisted in a competition run from Australia by Ether Books, and she entered the Southampton Library short story competition.

Discussions followed on various topics raised. A new site, newsmodo, was mentioned where freelance professional journalists and photographers can link up with, and sell content, to media organisations - and it's free to use. One member wondered if the cover of a 1980s magazine could be used as a book cover; the group felt this was risky as it included a photograph of a person, and that it would be better to find images usable under creative commons licence such as those on flickr

For marketing, Jimmy is using the Neilson site which has helpful advice as well as selling ISBNs. They can also apparently help with getting books into Waterstone's stores. We also discussed possible group marketing opportunities, including a stall on Above Bar on 'arts and crafts' day, next year's New Forest Show, Titchfield Festival Theatre or The Dolphin hotel itself. The Titchfield Festival Theatre's poetry contest is now open, with a cash prize, for poems on a theme related to one of four particular Shakespeare plays. 

Writing Buddies' fifth birthday is not far away now, and a celebration of some sort might be appropriate. A possible second anthology was discussed, perhaps as an ebook, with no need for financial issues. The merits and otherwise of the programme Publisher were discussed.

Writing Buddies will meet again on Friday September 6th, 2-4pm at The Dolphin Hotel, High Street, Southampton. If you have an interest in writing - at any level - we'd love to see you there.

Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye