August 11th, 2016
I was reading an interview in the paper last weekend with best-selling author James Patterson. To date he’s sold more than 350 million books – but he was rejected by 31 publishers before his first novel ‘The Thomas Berryman Number’ was published in 1976. So, if you’ve had your fair share of rejections, don’t despair!
When asked what advice he’d give to others he was quoted as saying, “Writers always ask me how they should market their books. My advice is, don’t worry about that. Just start your next book. Just write.”
Sounds good, but I suspect it only really works if you already have a publisher, are earning lots of money for them and you are famous. For us mere mortals, in an age where getting an agent, let alone a publisher, seems nigh on impossible, I don’t really think it works. Publishers are having their promotional budgets cut all the time and the onus to generate self-publicity is falling more and more upon the author. And if you choose to self-publish, you’ve no alternative but to use every means at your disposal to reach the reading public. The thought of sitting at home beavering away at book after book may sound comforting but it’s not going to get a novice writer noticed. Read the rest of this entry »
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May 20th, 2016
Last week I mentioned that we’d soon be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. We had well over 500 entries and it’s been quite easy to whittle these down to a shortlist. But when we got that shortlist – and this year there were 25 stories on it – it became very difficult to choose the actual winners as the quality of all of them was so good.
I find it hard to enjoy the brevity that goes with a flash fiction story that is only 50 or 100 words – there’s just not enough ‘depth’ for me. But give a good writer 500 words to play with and they can create a piece that really resonates with the reader. We’ve more or less made our decision now and we should be announcing it next week – so watch this space, and I feel sure you’ll agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »
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February 12th, 2016
A few years ago bookshops were in decline and everyone was telling us that paper books were finished, but it now seems to be going the other way.
Over in China dangdang.com, a huge online retailer, is planning to open 1000 new bookshops across the country, following the launch of its first outlet in Changsha City, Hunan.
After 20 years of online sales, Amazon opened its first real-world bookstore recently in Seattle’s University Village. It’s stocked with 6000 books at the same price as they can be bought on the website and I suspect that the roll-out will continue if it proves profitable. Read the rest of this entry »
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February 13th, 2015
As usual, thanks to Nicki for last Friday’s blog post. It got me looking through our tutor records and it’s amazing how many of them are ex-students. Students that have been successful and have then approached us to see if they could work with the next ‘generation’ of would-be writers. And the reason that we have so many is that it works!
Because they have studied with us they are familiar with the course and how we are organised. But more importantly, they know what it feels like to be a student – the trepidation of sending off your first assignment and wondering what the feedback will be like; the apprehension of making your first submission to a magazine… So, they can tailor their feedback accordingly. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 3rd, 2014
Have you ever written anything really good? Well, once upon a time there were two brothers called Jacob and Wilhelm and, way back in 1812, they published a collection of stories which was destined to become really, really famous. They were, of course, the Brothers Grimm, and the Fairy Tales which have borne their name for the past two hundred years are now known all over the world. The 156 stories in their first edition included Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White, tales which went on to become the cornerstone of one of the twentieth century’s mightiest storytelling corporations; tales which will surely be with us for hundreds of years to come. Read the rest of this entry »
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