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Three E-Books (not mine!) and a Workshop

I’ve three lots of e-reading to tell you about today (plus a novel-writing workshop) so get your Kindles, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets at the ready …

Firstly, Wendy Clarke has launched her first collection of short stories. Room in Your Heart by Wendy Clarke
Wendy is a prolific and successful women’s magazine fiction writer. She’s had around 90 stories published over the last three years – phenomenal!
Her collection, Room in Your Heart, comprises twelve romantic short stories that have previously appeared in People’s Friend. It’s worth taking a look if you’d like to write for People’s Friend or if you just love a good dose of romance!
The book is available on Amazon and I’m sure Wendy won’t mind you gate-crashing the launch party over on her blog – pop in and say hello (and see what she has to say about Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners).

 

Secondly, the e-magazine for fiction lovers, Kishboo has now formally launched. Kishboo Edition 1
It is available free online or as an Android app and very cheaply for Kindle.
The magazine is running a short story competition and is also looking for articles and readers’ letters. Have a look at the first edition online and see if you can spot any familiar names among the contributors.

 

 

 

Thirdly, you may remember me talking about Judith Cutler’s new crime novel Death in Elysium a few monthsDeath in Elysium ago.
At the time it was only available in a rather expensive hardback edition but now it’s out as a not-quite-so-expensive e-book. It’s the first in a new series of crime novels featuring city girl/vicar’s wife/sleuth, Jodie Welsh. Take a look at it on Amazon.

 

 

And now the workshop:
Romantic novelist, Alison May, is running a ‘Developing Your Novel’ workshop on Sunday 15th November at The Hive in Worcester. It costs a reasonable £40 which includes lunch and refreshments. It is aimed at people who already have a novel-in-progress (at any stage). It will include intensive sessions on plot structure and characterisation, and will also look at skills such as writing a synopsis and editing and revising your novel. Full details on Alison’s website.

Phew, I’m exhausted after telling you all that lot. Time to curl up with a good book …

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What’s the Copyright in Recipes?

We all know not to copy chunks of other people’s stories or articles. Similarly, we all know that there’s no copyright on ideas, so we can write a story or an article about the same subject as someone else, as long as we don’t use the same words. In fact people do this all the time (I believe there are only seven basic plots?) but the finished manuscripts are usually all quite different.

By the way, although there’s no law against it, it’s not a good thing to ‘steal’ an idea, especially if it’s unusual and the originator is likely to recognise it after publication.

But what’s the ruling on recipes?

I’ve just sent a couple of recipes to Take a Break’s My Favourite Recipes magazine. However, I’m not the world’s best cook. When I was 14 my cookery teacher wrote on my report, ‘Sally’s written work is much better than her practical work‘ – I think it was her way of politely saying that I was useless in the kitchen!
So, I don’t invent recipes from scratch. I start with something from a cook book or magazine and make slight adjustments. At the very least, I always omit the garlic because my husband doesn’t like it, I often replace celery with carrots and I never have the right herbs so just throw in what I have.
Therefore the recipes I submit are not exact copies of those I started with it. But I was still a bit dubious about whether I might be breaking a law or ‘stealing’.

I did a quick internet search and found this useful article on the Paleo Living Magazine website. basically it says that copying a list of ingredients and basic directions for cooking the dish is OK. However, what may be protected by copyright is any ‘creative narrative’ with the recipe, such as how the dish was invented or suggestions for wine to go with the meal.

So it seems that I can continue sending off my slightly amended recipes in the hope of winning £25 if they’re chosen for publication.

Now I just need to practise my food photography so that my accompanying photos look at least a little bit mouth-watering!

 

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The Journeyman

The tagline for The Journeyman magazine is, ‘a collection of short stories from emerging authors‘. 
Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

It is distributed free (in the Sheffield area, I’m guessing from the adverts) to be read ‘on the train, in the office, at home …‘. There is also an example edition to be read online.

I’ve just received a complimentary copy containing my story, ‘One Day for Me’. Like most small magazines the payment is not great – only £10. But the editor will accept things that have been previously published elsewhere, provided that copyright and publishing rights still remain with the author. This means that you can get a little bit of extra mileage out of a story that’s already earned its keep, plus The Journeyman also has a ‘Meet the Authors’ section which includes a short bio of all the writers published in that edition.

If you fancy submitting, the guidelines are here. In brief, the editor is looking for well-written stories across all genres. The preferred length is up to around 3,500 words.

Update July 2015: I understand that The Journeyman has now ceased publication. It’s very sad to see fiction markets like this disappearing.

And the mention of ‘One Day for Me’ gives me the excuse to tell you that my e-book ‘One Day for Me – 8 Award-Winning Stories‘ is available for just 99p/99c (UK & US only) until August 10th 2014.

One Day For Me by Sally Jenkins

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Writing Romantic Novels with Sue Moorcroft

Last Saturday I had a great time (and learned a lot) at a workshop organised by the Birmingham Chapter of the

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft

Romantic Novelists’ Association. It was held in the lovely surroundings of the new Library of Birmingham.

Sue Moorcroft came to talk to us about writing romantic novels. She gave us much good advice such as:

  • Know the publisher/market you are aiming for before beginning the book and she told us that Harper Impulse are currently open to submissions.
  • Have a one sentence synopsis to describe the book and also know what tone you are writing in i.e. light and frothy, grittty, tearjerker etc.
  • When planning the story, avoid listing the scenes/ideas down the page. Instead use a spider diagram so that your brain is not chanelled into what happens when too soon – instead your mind can jump about and pick the most appropriate scene.
  • What should you do when a story runs out of steam or you have a ‘saggy’ middle? Introduce something dramatic such as the revelation of a secret, a new character (maybe an ex-boyfriend or an illigitimate baby), a skeleton in the cupboard or anything else that will add drama to the situation.
  • Keep the hero and heroine apart by giving them conflicting goals.
  • The traits required of heros and heroines – they should both be decent, honest people but should have some flaws and vulnerability like the rest of us.
  • A prologue (where the book lends itself to it) gives the author two chances to hook the reader (once in the prologue and once in chapter one)
  • Chapter One should move the story forward. Do not clutter it with back story or scene setting.
  • An epilogue can be used to prolong the reader’s feeling of happy satisfaction at the end of a book. It may be a wedding, new baby or other tieing up of loose ends.
  • When writing, remember Act, React and Interact. This will make it easier to Show rather than Tell. For example the characters should react to their environment – such as squinting at the sun – rather than the author describing the sunny day.

We had a lovely buffet lunch and the whole day ran smoothly. Special mention should go to Marilyn Rodwell for her organisational skills and her doughnuts which gave us all a sugar kick first thing in the morning!

And if you’d like more of Sue’s invaluable advice take a look at her book  Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction – available in paperback or as an e-book.

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Fiction Writing Advice From Crystal Lake Publishing

Joe Mynhardt runs Crystal Lake Publishing in South Africa. He publishes horror and dark fiction in both paperback and e-book format. Fear the Reaper Joe Mynhardt

Joe’s put together some advice for horror writers but it can apply equally well to fiction writers in any genre so I thought  I’d share it with you:

  • Write
  • Read
  • Join a forum and participate in it
  • Read non-fiction books, especially about marketing. You’ll need it eventually.
  • Always be open and ready for opportunities.
  • Have confidence in yourself. Every small step becomes part of the bigger journey.
  • Have a story or two on standby at all times.
  • Write every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes.
  • Learn how to edit your own work.
  • Be as visible as possible on the internet.
  • Be professional in everything you say and do. Growing a tough skin goes a long way in not acting like an emotional roller coaster on social media. Think before you post on impulse!
  • Help others as much as you can, even if you just share or re-tweet/re-blog their stuff. Celebrate their successes with them, and don’t be jealous. One day you may be grateful for their help!
  • Eat, breathe and sleep stories, but take time to rest. Writer’s fatigue is no joke.
  • Take some time to just sit and think about creative things to do, whether they’re story or promotion ideas.
  • Don’t listen to negative thoughts. You’ll have off days when you’ll just have to ignore yourself.
  • Take care of your body, especially your back and wrists. Being an author is not a race, but a marathon that never ends.

If I had to pick out just two of those points as being the most important I’d go for ‘Write every day’ and ‘Don’t listen to negative thoughts’. What about you?

Joe is currently running a competition on the Crystal Lake Publishing website. First prize is e-book copies of the first seven books published by his company so far. Details are here. It closes 31/12/2013.

And do have a look at the brilliant covers on the Crystal Lake books – some of them are quite terrifying!

 

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Reading as a Writer

Last week I went to an event at Birmingham University where the novelist Helen Cross was speaking.

Cover of "Charlotte's Web (paper-over-boa...

Cover of Charlotte’s Web (paper-over-board)

Helen was explaining how becoming a writer had taken away a lot of the ‘magic’ she previously experienced when reading. She told us that the first book she remembers getting utterly enthralled in as a child was Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. The book made her cry. Even after she’d finished it Helen spent a lot of time musing over the book and wondering what the characters could have done to make things turn out differently and more happily.

But as she’s got older Helen has found such connections with books becoming increasingly rare. She puts this down to the fact that she now ‘reads like a writer’, for example she is looking to see how the book is constructed and what sort of tricks the author has used to withhold information from the reader. Helen finds herself mentally ‘editing’ the book and deciding which passages she would cut or how the dialogue might be changed.

I found this rather sad. To me the joy of reading is escaping into another world – something that can’t be done if you find yourself constantly critiquing the novel. I do admit to being more aware of the difference between good and bad writing since I started to write myself but I can also take off my ‘writer’s hat’ and just enjoy a book for what it is.

But maybe one of the secrets of becoming a good novelist is to analyse everything you read, and thus learn what works and what doesn’t.

What about you? Do you read as a writer or as a reader? Can you still get emotionally involved in a book?

Finally, thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for alerting me to this opportunity at the BBC.  The next window for sending in material to Opening Lines – BBC Radio 4’s showcase for short stories is January 6th – February 14th 2014. They are looking for short stories that work well when read aloud i.e. with the emphasis on the narrative and not too much dialogue or character description. Stories should be between 1,900 and 2,000 words and only one submission per writer will be accepted.

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The Emma Press – Call for Submissions

Here’s something for those of you who are not neck deep in NaNoWriMo.

Emma Wright from the Emma Press has been in touch to tell me that they are currently looking for poetry submissions.

They would like poems on the following subjects:

  • Best friends (female) – closing date 16th December 2013
  • Motherhood/Fatherhood – closing date 16th December 2013
  • Homesickness and exile – closing 5th January 2014

For those who are successful, there is a one-off payment of £20 per poet.

The website contains a lot more information about the type of poem that is required and how to submit.  It’s well worth a look – it might trigger those writing juices. Full details can be found here.

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First World War Centenary 1914 to 2014

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a ...

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme. The date is believed to be 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme, and the unit is possibly the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (25th Brigade, 8th Division). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you’re probably all aware, next year is the centenary of the start of the First World War.

I’m sure that as the date gets closer there will be a lot of publicity about the multitude of events arranged to mark the occasion.

There’s going to be plenty of opportunity for us, as writers, to get involved with this anniversary – as long as we don’t leave it too late to get started!

I’ve just done a quick trawl of the internet and found the four writing competitions listed below with a ‘war’ theme.

Also, don’t forget all the opportunities for magazine articles with a nostalgia or unusual factual slant.

Why not pick up your pen and have a go?

Remember all those men who gave their lives in muddy, wet, stinking trenches so that we might live in peace.

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Listverse

We all know that magazines love articles with numbers in the title, for example 5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight or 10 Things to Do in Paris.

Listverse is a website with a similar penchant for numbered lists. It publishes lists of 10 linked items, each article must have a minimum word count of 1000. The site pays $100 by PayPal for each list published.

The lists can be about absolutely anything and range from general knowledge and current affairs to the totally bizarre. Some of the titles I spotted were:

  • 10 Modern-Day Exorcisms
  • 10 Sets of People Who Were Switched at Birth
  • 10 Craziest Things Done by Philosophers
  • 10 Brutal North Korean Secrets
  • 10 Fascinating Facts About Bears

The site is split into the following sections:

  • Bizarre
  • Entertainment
  • General Knowledge
  • Lifestyle
  • Science
  • Society

There is such a wide remit here that I’m sure I must be able to think of something to write and send in but my mind has gone a total blank – except for that ‘To Do’ list waiting for me on the kitchen work top!

If you’re more inspired than me the full submission guidelines for Listverse are here.

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‘A Writer on Writing’ – Free E-book and a Call for Submissions

My non-fiction Kindle e-book ‘A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success’ is free on Amazon for the next five days (18th to 22nd June 2013).

Using my feature articles that have appeared in the UK writing press, I look at topics such as:

The self-discipline needed to write and stay focussed
A method of getting ideas
Tips on writing flash fiction
How to choose an educational course to help with your writing
Tips on writing anniversary articles
Tips on creating a backup of your work
How to decide on pseudonym
How to create a good first impression with an editor
Tips on starting a blog
The benefits of a writing buddy
How to write a novel in a month!

And remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon supply free software for your PC, laptop or other device here.

To get the book, click here for Amazon UK and here for Amazon.com. On other Amazon sites search for ASIN: B00C0GBRS6

Enjoy! (and if you do please leave a review on Amazon!)

Ride – Short Fiction About Bicycles is looking for submissions for its next short story anthology.

RIDE 3 will be published in print, as well as digital format.

The only requirement is that a bicycle or bicycle subculture must feature prominently in the story. Any genre, any gender, any length up to about 12,000 words, any setting, any country, any time period, any kind of cycling. The more diversity—of locations, cycling cultures, story genres—the better.

Payment ranges from $20 to $75 depending on the length of the story. Deadline is 31st August 2013.

The full details are here.

With thanks to Nick Daws for bringing this market to my attention via his newsletter.

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