Wednesday, 27 March 2013

E books

Having read numerous articles and everyone's helpful advice I've decided to put my backlist on Amazon.

The physical part of converting my work was not as difficult as I'd feared. Amazon issued very issue to follow instructions and I didn't actually reach the 'head banging' stage as I thought I might. I am not the most techie person in the world and that is why I've lagged behind everyone else.

Having said that, my progress has been delayed. Going back over my earlier works has made me realise how much my writing has changed since I started doing pocket novels. The earlier works I've had to seriously re-write in certain places. I rather rushed into the first two but now I am on my third one I can see it will form a major part of my year's work to convert them.

Some of my work doesn't flow too well and although the stories are only a few years old they have become dated. In the modern world of technology I suppose that it inevitable but it suprised me. I think it's a very good exercise to get out some of your older work and look at it. You realise you are in danger of repeating phrases, plots, even names. It exercises new writing muscles and of course reading the stories with a fresh eye after a long break away gives you a different perspective.


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

How to Start?

After spending the past year preparing books to put up on Kindle, and doing rewrites of previously written stories I'm finally at the point where I need to write something new. I've had the idea for the story in my head for a while, knew the location, characters and roughly what was going to happen - but for the past week I've been dithering about without actually writing anything. I set up the file, but in the header and footer and downloaded all the research material I will need – but still couldn't begin. I wondered how anyone else gets over this initial hesitation. 1. Do you plan your story in such detail that you've already got the first chapter more or less written? 2. Do you cut pictures from magazines and pin them up to give you visual clues to your characters? 3. Do you get the plot first and the characters second? 4. Do you start with action/conversation/scene setting? 5. Do you edit as you go along/each morning before you start again/wait until the end? 6. How much do you have to put down before the story takes off and writes itself? My answers to the above are as follows: I don't plan anything nowadays, although when I first started writing I had every scene mapped out. I don't see my characters in my head but I do hear them talking. For me characters come first and the story second. I start with conversation and action but rarely with scene setting. I edit as I dictate – as I use voice recognition software I have to do this or might end up with something incomprehensible. I also read what I've written the day before and alter anything that needs doing. However I don't do anything else until the book's finished. I'm delighted to say that I've now written two pages of the first chapter but it hasn't taken off yet - I think I'll need to get around 5000 words down before that magical moment occurs. At the moment I'm doing anything rather than opening the file; it's so long since I've written a new book I've almost forgotten the excitement you get when your characters come alive and you can't wait to get your desk every morning. I'm hoping the muse hasn't abandoned me. Looking forward to hearing your answers – it's fascinating learning how other writers work.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Write, Write and Write Again

Today I'm posting on the subject of editing. How much is too much and how little is not enough? It's something I've been ruminating on for a few weeks because I submitted my latest pocket novel to My Weekly a couple of months ago. While the Editor liked my characters and setting and the style of writing itself, she asked for changes to the plot line. I made the changes and sent it back. She then asked for another set of minor changes - which I agreed with (some of the scenes were too intimate and took us beyond the bedroom door - it had originally been written with B&K in mind!). But then a third editing was requested. I did this and sent it off but haven't heard back yet.
     My feelings on this are that I'm happy to make most changes the Editor might ask for, because at the end of the day, I want the story to be published and I trust in the Editor's judgement. There is also a two way conversation going on and she will accept refusal to change certain things if I feel there is a valid reason not to.
      But that may not be the case with every publisher and/or editor. It's possible to knock the life out of a story by over-editing and yet equally we've probably all read books which would have benefited from further edited versions before publication.
     Now that it is so easy to self publish stories as E-books, is there a case for simply writing the stories we want to and refusing to edit to someone else's requirements?


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

I’m continuing the cover story as it seems of interest to us all.

It’s always so exciting to see a new book, especially one with your name on it! Does one ever get weary of it? No, never. I suppose we Pocketeers get very little choice of what the publishers produce and despite our artwork statements, the cover pictures often look very unlike our characters. If we are producing our own covers, as many of us do now for Kindle and such like, we can spend hours looking through suitable picture galleries to find some thing we like. It’s a subject we have been talking about a lot lately.

The picture showing above is my latest large print ... the fourth in my potteries saga. I’m not sure about this one. She is supposed to be a nurse in 1945 era and has red curly hair and is very bubbly. I do feel this one looks a little like Anne from the Famous Five. Let’s hope people read it anyway! Is this just me feeling everyone looks rather young these days?

What actually sells a book? Is it the cover? The author’s name? The blurb on the back? Possibly it is all of these things put together, plus a bit of serendipity and a lot of luck. As most of our large print books end up in the libraries, we hope there is something about them that makes people want to read them. ‘Patricia Keyson’ in last week’s blog, suggested that a plain white cover wouldn’t sell any books but it has been done. I can’t remember the title (does this mean something, I wonder?) but someone did use a plain cover and made a lot of sales. Perhaps it was the intrigue factor?

I find it interesting to look at older books and see what their publishers made of them. I had some of my mother’s old books, dull looking covers with occasionally a small picture glued on. I suspect they did once have a paper cover, a dust jacket, which may have made them more valuable if they had been kept. Maybe they never sold in the quantities that are deemed normal these days.

Today’s paperbacks fill the bookshelves bringing them into a more affordable range and don’t they look nice? Hardbacks are usually three times the price at least and many of us wait till they are out in paperback to afford to buy them. Some still use paper covers (dust jackets) but mostly have the same pictures beneath them. The paperbacks usually have the same picture on and of course, are more affordable.

Whatever the reason for book sales, we all need a good cover, so good hunting to everyone!