Monday, 14 January 2019

Books Won’t Die!


The publishing industry has undergone massive change during the past decade or so. It seems that nowadays almost everybody can self-publish a book, and most people have done (hello!). Ultimately, we still strive for that elusive contract with a big publisher and all the trimmings, even though the reality is often far from the dream. However you publish your books, one thing is certain: books are immortal. Readers will always crave something new and will devour series after series in the quest for adventure and knowledge.


When the Kindle was launched, and a whole range of e-readers appeared on the market, industry experts claimed that the good old paperback was dead. How wrong they were! I heard on the radio earlier this week that independent booksellers reported a boom in book sales during the Christmas 2018 period, a surprise result considering that high street stores are failing to meet targets and are closing at a rapid rate. I wonder if readers still like the feel and smell of a book? I know I do. I mean, yes, I love my Kindle, but truthfully, I read more physical books than eBooks. My Kindle is a useful, portable device that can fit in my handbag, but nothing beats a book. And I still love hardback books. Indeed, I dream of having my own novels published in hardback one day, if only to fulfill a long-held desire.


Do you still read? What is your preferred medium for a book? I’m still seeking an audience for #TheRedcliffeNovels series, and I am working on my new vampire hunter series of standalone novels. You can find the first two already published: Vampire of Blackpool and Return of the Vampire Hunter. I also write and publish short stories and the occasional poem. But I love books. I always will.



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Monday, 7 January 2019

New Year, New Book Submissions


Hello, my friends, how are you? Back to work and back in the old routine now? Or did you engineer a major life change for 2019, and you have changed jobs or retired or embarked upon a new adventure? Do share! I have decided to start 2019 without any formal New Year’s Resolutions. In previous years this is the day when I would sit at my computer, scribble notes in my diary, and attempt to plan a rigid structure for writing new books, updating my blogs, finding freelance work and building my brand. Inevitably I would be distracted by domestic challenges, supporting friends and family members, and my own spiritual development. And I didn’t create the magical, easy career as a writer that I dreamed about.


Now I have seen the light, as it were. I know how the industry works. I have done a lot of research, tried and failed a lot of systems and projects, and learned a lot about my place in the book world. Shortly before Christmas I watched a documentary on Sky Arts featuring the food critic Giles Coren, and his journey as a failed author (his words). I learned that he was paid a very generous advance of £30k to publish a literary novel about ten years ago, and it didn’t sell. Or at least, it didn’t sell enough copies to make him a success by industry standards. With his established career as a journalist and his privilege to know the right people in the right places, he would have expected more, and he admitted that. I enjoyed watching the documentary.


You would think that I came away feeling deflated and defeated. I am most definitely a failed author by those standards. Nobody has ever paid me an advance for a novel, I have never been offered a book contract by a publisher, and I don’t have an agent. Everything has been done independently, on a very low (non-existent) budget, with very little emotional support from people around me. And I am proud of what I have achieved. Ok, nobody knows about my books. Most people don’t know that I have 5 published books in the Redcliffe novels series, or that I have published 3 standalone novels, half a dozen short stories, and have run two blogs for almost ten years. None of that matters, because I am a failed author. Well, guess what? I refuse to back down, and I refuse to give up. There are more novels waiting to be published, and quite a few prestigious agents are open for submissions this year. I will try again. We will not back down!  


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