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Profit From Your Photography

September 14th, 2018

Writers can quadruple their chances of acceptance and double their fees by submitting photos with their words…and with digital images you don’t need to be an expert photographer to provide saleable photos with your work.  So here are some tips on profiting from your photography: Read the rest of this entry »




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Being Sociable Can Make Your Characters More Realistic

September 8th, 2018

Many people think of writing as a lonely business. You work from home, shut away in the spare bedroom or slaving over the kitchen table when the rest of the family are at work or school. But I was interested to read a letter in a well-known writers’ magazine recently where the lady was saying how sociable she found the writing world these days. You can interact with other writers on Facebook and Twitter, in forums and via online courses without leaving your own home. There are writing retreats, writers conferences and literary festivals galore where you can meet other like-minded people, and share experiences.

I do think getting away from this idea of the ‘solitary writer’ is essential. And you shouldn’t just cultivate other writers – you need to be mixing with people from all walks of life (especially if you are writing fiction) so that you understand enough about how disparate groups of people think and behave that you create characters that come across as ‘real’. Read the rest of this entry »




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Do Agents Earn Their Money

September 3rd, 2018

This week, instead of doing a miscellany, I’m going to look at getting an agent. So, the first question you need to ask is, in these days of self-publishing, indi-publishing and print on demand: do agents make a difference?  Yes!  If you still want to go down the route of selling your book to a mainstream publisher, then having it handled by an agent will increase your chances of success.  For one thing, it will mean you dodge the horrors of the dreaded slush pile.  Publishers trust the judgement of literary agents and will treat anything sent by them with more repect. Plus, many publishers no longer accept submissions from un-agented writers.

Agents certainly earn their 10 per cent commission.  They have the contacts and inside knowledge of the business, and will offer you advice on honing your novel before it is submitted to a publisher. Not to mention selling on various rights and pushing for overseas sales. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Beauty Of Books…

August 24th, 2018

First, thanks to Roz for last week’s post. I’ve just started reading her book, ‘The Devil’s Dice’,  and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

Talking about reading, I’ve had a bad back for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been as active as usual; so that  means I’ve had much more time to read. And have I used that time! Of the books I’ve read there are three that really stand out.

The first is ‘The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star’ by Vaseem Khan. It’s part of a series about a private investigator in Mumbai and his sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesha. It does for India what the Number One Ladies Detective Agency did for Botswana. It’s not high literature, but it’s well written, heart-warming and makes you care about the characters. And it doesn’t shy away from the problems faced by the less well-off citizens of the country. I’ll certainly be dipping into the series again. Read the rest of this entry »




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First Pages

August 17th, 2018

Before I approached agents, I worked on my first page until my eyes were bleeding; until the mere sight of it made me want to puke. I read hundreds of first pages and analysed them, trying to work out what made them good or bad – what made me either desperate to turn the page or happy to put the book aside. I must have re-written the first page of my book about a hundred times, and yet still when I read it now, I think it could be better.

So I thought readers might be interested in a distillation of my conclusions about what makes a good first page. I’ve also discussed these with my brilliant agent, Diana Beaumont, and she agrees. Get these things right and an agent will probably at least make it to page 2 of your manuscript! Read the rest of this entry »




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