Sunday November 11th 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War 1. There will be many events to mark this important occasion and to thank those who lost their lives for us. These include 10,000 people marching past the Cenotaph in London (ballot applications to be part of the march close 12th August) and mass church bell ringing across the nation.
Poets are also playing their part in the 100 days leading up to the centenary of the Armistice. Every day a 100-word piece of writing, known as a centena, will be published by the Imperial War Museum. In each piece, the first three words are repeated at the end, as the conclusion. Each centena will focus on an individual who lived during the First World War and the impact the war had on that person. The aim is to look at people from every part of society. Katie Childs from the museum told the Sunday Times, “By releasing a centena each day, I hope that we are able to demonstrate the very different experiences of the First World War, and the impact it had on people and places long beyond the Armistice.”
The first centena was published on Sunday 5th August and was written by Angus Grundy from the perspective of Leopold Lojka. Lojka was driving the car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand when he was assassinated. Ferdinand’s murder led to the First World War. The second centena is by Therese Kieran and is about a Belgian embroider who spent the War in Ireland. I find today’s centena by Miranda Dickinson particularly moving. It’s about a bride married during her new husband’s 48 hour leave from the army. He returns to the front line and she goes to pose for a wedding photograph alone.
These pieces of writing are a fitting memorial to those who lived through such turbulent times and perhaps they’ll inspire some of us to get creative before November 11th 2018.
Today marks the six month anniversary of the publication of The Promise on January 28th 2018. Coincidentally, the publishers have lowered the e-book price to only 99p for a VERY limited time and also secured a Bookbub promotion to publicise the price drop.
Bookbub is a service which helps e-book readers to discover free or discounted books in their favourite genres – so if you like a bargain it’s worth signing up to their newsletter which is circulated in the UK, Canada, Australia and India. Bookbub promotions are a paid for service, open to self-published books as well as those published by large and small publishing houses. It is a competitive submission procedure and Bookbub receive far more promotion applications than can be used in the newsletter. In order to choose the featured books Bookbub considers things like reviews, sales, the cover, the formatting and other variables – so I’m excited and pleased that The Promise has been selected and is getting this coveted exposure!
If you fancy putting your own book forward for a Bookbub promotion have a look at this checklist to see what sort of thing the selectors are looking for. There is no charge to submit to Bookbub, you are only invoiced if the book is selected.
To take advantage of this less-than-half-price 99p offer on The Promise, be quick (I don’t know when the price will go back up!) and grab it from one of the following retailers:
If you’re ‘real book’ person, the cheapest place I’ve seen the book is WH Smith where it you can also do click and collect to save the delivery charge.
Do you remember being sixteen or seventeen years old? How did you find it? The best of us find the transition from child to adult difficult, there’s the pressure to conform with our peers, the pressure of exams and the pressure to decide on the next step in our lives. Imagine how much harder this time of life must be for those more vulnerable than ourselves, those suffering mental health problems, domestic abuse and worse.
The Children’s Society is running the Seriously Awkward Campaign to urge the Government to do more to help vulnerable teenagers through this transition time. Part of this campaign is a short story competition. Entry is free and is in two age groups: 16 to 25 year and 26 years plus.
First prize in each age group is “expert advice and feedback from a top literary agent and writing gifts. Young winners will receive exclusive advice and feedback with literary agency Darley Anderson and adult winners with David Higham Associates. The runners-up will receive a selection of writing gifts.”
Stories must be on the theme of 16 and 17 year olds. This brings to mind Young Adult fiction but the competition doesn’t appear to be restricted to that, the website suggests you can write from an adult point of view too such as parent, teacher or social worker.
The word limit is 2,000 and the closing date is 31 August 2018. Don’t forget to read all the terms and conditions!
UK publishing is London-centric – the majority of our big publishers and agents are in the capital. This year Orion Books attacked that problem by going on tour and taking publishing to other parts of the country. At the beginning of July they were in Birmingham and I went along to see what they were doing.
The event was held in a smallish function room in the Cosy Club. It was busy, noisy and (given our current heatwave) very hot! There were complimentary drinks and nibbles plus a table heaving with brand new books. The latter were free for the taking, as many as we wanted – guess who was glad they had a fold up shopping bag to hand!
I talked to Orion publishing, editing and marketing staff. I renewed my acquaintance with historical fiction author Joanna Courtney I said hello to the presenters of the Brum Radio Book Show and chatted to book bloggers, readers and the manager of a Waterstones’ branch.
It was definitely worth going and not just for the books! I learned that some books published by a company as big as Orion have a zero marketing budget but that social media, used in the right way and with the right contacts, can work wonders. I learned that book bloggers are really nice people with a genuine passion for books but are often drowning under the number of review requests they get! I learned that authors with big book deals still get anxious about their writing ability and crave company during the long days of being a full time writer.
Finally, I noticed there were far more women than men in the room – does that mean more women than men love books?
The word Brexit can elicit strong reactions from the calmest, most even-tempered of people but it rarely inspires poetry. Now is your chance to convert your own feelings on the UK leaving the EU into verse.
Holland Park Press is running a Brexit poetry competition. It doesn’t matter on which side of the fence you stand or even if you’re still sitting on that fence. You can write about what being a European means to you, you can be angry or you can play devil’s advocate. The important thing is to touch, inspire or even frustrate the judges with your poem.
First prize is £200 and the winner and runners-up will be published online.
Poems can be up to 50 lines long. Entry is free and the closing date 31st December 2018 – so there’s bags of time to perfect your masterpiece! Don’t forget to read the full terms and conditions.