Wednesday, 24 November 2010

National Short Story Week

is this week! See here for details. Lots of links and interesting stuff there!

How much should you pay?

Yesterday I ordered a book I've been meaning to get for a while: Jane Wenham-Jones' Wannabe A Writer We've Heard Of? I bought her previous how-to-write book, Wannabe A Writer? a few years ago and it's an entertaining and useful read, so the follow-up was a must.

On Amazon, it's £3.50. With free p&p.

BUT - the book's publisher is Accent Press. I like to support small independent publishers (one day I might be sending them all my novel....) and I have a soft spot for Accent. They've always been very supportive of women's magazine writers, having published several Sexy Shorts anthologies which were largely populated by womag writers. They're also Della Galton's publisher, and will publish a new charity anthology next year in which yours truly has a story.

So I went to the Accent Press website to order the book direct from them. It's £9.99 there, plus £1.95 p&p. That's nearly £12.

£12 and stick to my principles, or £3.50. Hmm.

I ordered from Accent in the end. I know the book will be easily worth £12 to me. But what a difference in price! I remember being shocked a while back, when I read on Sally Zigmond's blog that small publisher Linen Press actually made a loss on every book sold via Amazon. I've tried since then to always buy books from small presses direct from the publisher and not from Amazon.

Not easy though, when the price difference is that much. Anyway, the book'll be here in a couple of days and I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing it!

You might note, my link above for the book is to Accent. If you want the book for £3.50 you'll have to search for it yourself on Amazon, but please, if you can afford it do consider buying direct from the publisher.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ireland's Own - latest guidelines

With enormous thanks to Rena George for sending these to me:

Ireland’s Own includes two short stories and a number of non-fiction items in the regular weekly issue. Each month, we produce a Special issue devoted to a particular theme (i.e., Christmas, New Year, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Summer and Winter and one specifically devoted to the short story. Material with a seasonal theme should be submitted three months in advance to accommodate publishing schedules. In general, we favour fictional stories of approximately 2,000 words, written in the ‘straight forward’ style, typifying the ‘good yarn’.

The magazine is not an outlet for experimental or impressionistic writing. Tales should reflect the magazine’s ethos, having good general appeal developed through a well-explored story-line, with an Irish orientation where possible.
Non-fiction items of 750-900 words, accompanied if possible by a reproducible illustration, are also used, especially informative articles with a strong Irish background and general appeal. General interest and historical articles are also used, as are filler items of 400 words or less.
We have no requirements for poetry.

Typed copy, double spaced on A4 paper, accompanied by SAE, should be submitted to the editor who reserves the right to alter scripts if editorial adaptation is required.
Email copy may be sent to the addresses at the end.
Emails should be just typed in a straightforward manner, with no unnecessary capitals or spaces between paragraphs or lines. Micro Soft Word documents in the older .doc format would be preferred if possible (we cannot open the newer .docx format); otherwise type in the message area of the email.

We endeavour as far as possible to return all unused scripts, but we do not take responsibility for mislaid or lost texts and we urge all contributors to retain copies of their work. Please ensure that your name and address appears on all submissions as covering letters can become separated from articles/stories in the sometimes long interval between submission and usage.
Please append your land address for the despatch of voucher copies and cheques in the event of acceptance.

We generally pay €65 per 2000 word short story, €50-€60 per article and €15 - €20 per filler piece. Voucher copies are despatched; cheques are issued a few weeks after publication.
While we do not wish to discourage anyone, it should be noted that we have a large corps of regular contributors who look after most of our needs, and we have a considerable stockpile of accepted material on hands. Even when material is accepted, there is likely to be a lengthy
delay before publication.

Phil Murphy, Editor of the monthly specials

Sean Nolan, Editor of the weekly issues.

Ireland’s Own, Channing House, Rowe Street, Wexford.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Understanding Copyright

If you've ever felt at all vague about what copyright is, who owns it and how to establish it, go and look at this post on Jane Smith's How Publishing Really Works, then read the various other posts it links to.

As writers it is essential to understand copyright. If you've written it, it is copyrighted, which means no one can publish your work in any format without your permission.

As a beginner writer I had one little episode where my copyright was breached: one day I idly googled the first line of a story I'd written which had been published in an online journal. It popped up on a Mexican college website of all places, as an example of how to use the future tense in English. I contacted the college, received an apology, then gave them permission to use the story. They had no right to steal my story of course, but I felt kind of flattered to have become part of a curriculum. Wonder if they still teach it?

Edited 20/11/2010 to add this link to a very clear explanation of copyright by Alex Gazzola.

Monday, 15 November 2010

50 stories, How To, Can you help? Dogs

The day-job's been horrible lately and given me no time for the important things in life like writing, blogging and eating chocolate. Catching up now with a few snippets from my in-box -

1. 50 Stories for Pakistan now available to buy - see badge on the right. A great charity initiative, may there be many more from Greg!

2. Don't forget the ongoing How To competitions - the November one is now open and the results from the October competition should be on the website any time now. A great way to win £100 from non-fiction!

3. And a plea from a blog reader:
I wonder if your readers can help. I was delighted when I sold a story to Take A Break in the middle of August. It was all a bit of a muddle because we had just got back from holiday and landed in a crisis, but I was told it was scheduled for Issue 43. It wasn’t in Issue 43, so I have looked in every subsequent copy and it hasn’t been in those either. When I got my Remittance Notification, it had 41/10 on it, which led me to think it was in issue 41 and I’d missed it, but it seems it wasn’t in that issue either. Now I am utterly perplexed. If it hasn’t been in yet, then fine, but if I’ve missed it because it was published earlier than scheduled I shall be rather disappointed because it’s only my third sold and happens to be a favourite of mine.
Did anyone spot a story by Linda Gruchy (or Linda Priestley) about a man and woman meeting on a bus in an issue of TAB since mid August please?

If you can help Linda, send me an email via this blog and I'll forward it to her. It's horrible when you miss a publication.

4. And finally, I've read and loved Della Galton's book, The Dog With Nine Lives. It's the perfect stocking filler for all your dog-loving friends and relatives this Christmas, but be warned, you should supply a pack of tissues with each copy. It's a lovely book, and a great example of how to write from your own experiences. Writing from Life, as Lynn Hackles would say.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Writers' Resources

Fabulous list of writers' resources here. Go take a look - something for everyone there whether you write romance, sci-fi, novels, shorts...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Young Fiction Writer of the Year 2010 - results

Earlier in the year I posted about the Young Fiction Writer of the Year competition, hosted by Take A Break's Fiction Feast, and judged by Anthony Horowitz.

The results and winning entries are in the latest Fiction Feast, out today. We have competition, folks, the stories are amazing!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bored with womag?

I think, after a while of writing one form of fiction, most of us probably feel stale, run out of ideas and steam, become formulaic or simply get bored.

It's normal, it's understandable, but don't let it get you down. You're still a writer. The answer is, try writing something else for a while. Something not aimed at the womags. Enter a competition, try some poetry, write something for your blog, start a novel, try NaNoWriMo, or just write whatever comes into your head even if it is nonsense. No writing is ever wasted, in the way that no physical exercise is ever wasted. You're practising, building up muscles and gaining experience. It's worked for me, with the historical novel.

Emma Darwin has written a brilliant blog post on this - you can read it here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

People's Friend - no more contributor copies at all

I posted a while back that People's Friend were suspending the issuing of contributor copies, but would send a PDF if requested. Now (with thanks to Linda for forwarding this news) it seems the PDF idea has not worked out.

PF say:
As you may know we had hoped that we would be able to e-mail a PDF of all of your stories which appear in the magazine. I’m sorry to say that, for a number of technical reasons, this has proved unworkable. I can only apologise for any disappointment this causes.

You will be notified of the issue date prior to publication and if you’re unable to locate a copy of the “Friend” in your local shops, do remember that back issues can be purchased from our Sales Dept. on 0800 318846.

Shame. PF publish about 15 stories a week. Does it really cost that much in money and time to send out 15 contributor copies?


With thanks to Christine for reminding me of this market:

Scribble is not a women's magazine, but is a nice little small press magazine which is worth investigating. I know a number of writers who've been published in it, and it has a lovely mix of stories.

Take a look at the magazine's website here for full details. They take 1000-3000 word stories, and there is payment for the best three stories published each issue, as chosen by the readers. All contributors get a contributor's copy.