July 24th, 2015
First, thanks to Simon for last week’s blog. I really like the idea of ‘Demented Optimism’ – as a writer I don’t think you ever get anywhere unless you believe in yourself and your creations. Such optimism may be demented, but it’s essential!
I read an article recently in the Sunday Times Magazine. It was about a man called Denis Pethebridge – and his 30 years of literary failure! In a leather-bound scrap book he had amassed 338 rejection letters. Starting in 1937 he had sent out articles, stories and novels to just about every newspaper, magazine, agent and publisher in the UK…and had rejections from them all. But did that stop him? No. By 1967 he was planning to start a new volume of rejection letters because the first was overflowing. Apparently he eventually self-published a novel in 1996 at the age of 77 and went on to live until he was 94. In his case optimism, however unfounded, was no detriment to his health. You’ve got to have staying power if you really want to be a writer, and not let rejection get you down. Read the rest of this entry »
July 20th, 2015
Right, now, don’t get cross or anything. But despite all I’ve said about writing for magazines, I still haven’t started an article. I know, I know … it looks terrible – people will think I’m all talk. But I’ve got a good excuse – it’s my album launch party this Sunday (26 July) in Manchester, and getting ready for it has been a HUGE job of work, like dragging a bag of boulders up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
It’ll all be worth it though – it’s going to be a great show. And once it’s done I’ll be getting straight back to the editorial calendar I wrote about a few weeks back, and my big idea. Read the rest of this entry »
July 17th, 2015
This year my first-born turns twenty-one. Travelling all over the world, getting into all sorts of company, and looking exactly the same as it did all that time ago.
You’ll have guessed from the ‘it’ there that I’m not talking about a human child here but something altogether less wet and messy and demanding: my first novel.
‘Sheep’ came out in July 1994. From the outset it was an ambitious, even pushy little thing: it got itself into a W H Smith promotion, received a whole lot of very good reviews (and some not so good), and was immediately optioned for film. I was a proud but completely inexperienced parent, delighted but baffled, as I’m sure many parents are, by what I had produced. From the outset it seemed to have a life of its own. Read the rest of this entry »
July 13th, 2015
Alright, I know … for most of you this will be like a trip back to primary school. Some will ‘tut,’ others will suck their teeth. But even for those of us who’ve already cleared the first hurdle (and actually had something published) there’s no harm in going back to basics. So, here are ten top tips on presenting a manuscript. This is how to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Read the rest of this entry »
July 9th, 2015
First, thanks to Megan for last week’s blog. She talks to students on a regular basis, hearing their problems and their successes. So, she’s in an ideal position to offer advice on how to get the most from your course and the time you spend studying with us.
As well as keeping tabs on what is happening with students, I also talk to our tutors to see what they’re picking up from student comments. Are there any particular issues? Are there any new opportunities or perceived threats?
One thing that seems to have come to the fore again recently is ‘vanity publishing’. Read the rest of this entry »