Saturday 28 October 2023

Thanks - now and in advance

In a comment on a recent post, Sue referred to this blog as a  'forum where we can ask questions and for help without feeling daft! Such warm support is absolutely priceless.' Thanks, Sue!

Years ago when Kath McGurl ran this blog I found useful information here and got help and encouragement. I'm so pleased that's still continuing decades later. It's not just down to me, not by a long way, and I'm really grateful to those of you who contribute in various ways. The questions and answers, the information, support and encouragement shared here make the time I spend on the blog feel worthwhile.

Thanks to Pamela Gough for the link (posted as a recent comment) to this (very) short story competition from The Writer's Bureau. The prize is one of their courses. Have any of you done a WB course? If so, what did you think of it?

My news

I've recently released a short free ebook. It might seem daft to give books away, but I do have a reason. Unearthing The Truth has the same lead character as my novel Acting Like A Killer and the hope is that some of those who read the free one might go on to buy the novel. 

What do you think of that marketing strategy? Are you tempted to download the free book? (please do!) Would reading a short story you enjoyed encourage you to read a novel featuring the same lead character?

You can download the freebie from Apple or Amazon here. Or get it from other retailers here. The novel is available from those same places, or can be requested through your library.

Downloading the free book and/or telling others about it, sharing posts etc would be very much appreciated, so thank you if you do!


Ruth/Becca said...

I think offering the free download first is potentially a good strategy and worth trying. I'd be working backwards as I read 'Acting Like a Killer' a while ago :) I really warmed to Amelia Watson - to me she came across as someone you'd love to have as a friend and that gave an extra warmth and energy to the story. It's a jolly good read, Patsy.

Sheelagh said...

Thanks as always Patsy for the info & for providing the forum, I probably wouldn't even be writing & submitting still without it as I had no idea that even established writers have long waiting times & lots of rejections to endure too.
I downloaded your short story, very much enjoyed & put up a review on goodreads. I have read 'acting like a killer' already but it in no way impeded my enjoyment of this book. Indeed I have quite the collection of your books on kindle, Patsy.
My own news modest in comparison, is that I had an acceptance from TPF this week which I was delighted about. I also heard that one of my stories recently accepted will feature in TPF annual 2025 which is wonderful. I only wish my dear departed mother was alive, she loved that annual & would have considered having a story published in it the very pinnacle of success!😊

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thank you Patsy, I've downloaded and look forward to reading. I think it's an excellent marketing strategy, and hopefully will gain you lots of new readers and sales.

Congratulations Sheelagh on your TPF success, it really is an achievement being published in their annual.

Happy writing everyone :)

Bubble said...

perfectly good idea! Good luck with it.

ados123 said...

I also started reading this blog when Kath ran it, Patsy and it has been so useful over the years - even as the womag markets dwindle. Posting free to enter comps is a great way to compensate partly for this. Thank you for keeping it going.
Yes, I agree, the free book is a good marketing tool - a loss leader. I've not read this one, but have read several of your short story collections.

Sharon boothroyd said...

I've never completed a WB course but I've heard that they bombard their students with so many modules,it's difficult to complete the course.
I think their courses are aimed at beginners rather than people who are further down the line.
I'm completely self taught and I don't mind admitting that.
Most of the feedback and crits I've received have been given free of charge from other womag writers who are keen to help.
I honestly don't think you need to pay hundreds, or even thousands, to succeed as a wtiter.
WB won't tell you that though, as this is their business. I don't mean to sound cynical but it's how they earn a living and pay their tutors.

Patsy said...

@ Ruth/Becca – Thank you so much! I enjoyed writing about Amelia, and my go back and see what she's up to after I finish my current project.

@ Sheelagh – It would be so easy to assume 'proper' writers didn't struggle at times, get rejections or just not hear back. and so think that because we have those problems we're not good enough, or aren't doing it right.

Thank you so much for your support of my books. That's greatly appreciated.

Well done on the TPF acceptance!

@ Elizabeth – Gaining new readers is my plan. Too early yet to say if it's working, but I'll report back on some of my marketing attempts for those who might have their own books to promote.

@ Bubble – It seems worth a try.

@ Alyson – And thank you for your support!

@ Sharon – The courses do seem to have a wide range of modules and I agree they're probably aimed at beginner writers rather than those who are more experienced. Maybe they'd be good for people who'd like to write but aren't sure which form, genre, style etc would suit them best?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great idea, Patsy. Good luck with it.

Congratulations on your TPF news, Sheelagh.

A reassuring read in Lucy’s TPF Fiction Ed’s Blog this week with an intriguing teaser at the end.

Marguerite said...

Thank you, Pamela - I sent my 100 word this week :) The WB - I took it at vastly reduced offer back 11 years ago - but I'm sure the business model relies on most people not finishing. As for me, life got in the way after some 2-3 assignments. Good resources though and gave me a good feel for what was out there to actually do. (I was a 'beginner', in that I had just retired from absolutely nothing to do with writing!) I might, one day, return to the tutored assignments, but frankly far too busy doing the competitions and sending to women's magazines! ;)
I am Very Cross that Amazon sent me an email HOURS ago that my review was 'live' - and it's not showing, Patsy! Perhaps if I bribe them with caramels...? I will be looking out for it and WILL be following up! Yes, I reckon a good marketing ploy. I'll be interested to see how your various strategies pan out.

Penny A said...

Yes, I've done a couple of writers' courses at the very start of things. Mostly very helpful! I guess the hardest assignments to complete are the ones you're less interested in, and perhaps wouldn't want to do otherwise. But I found something worth learning each one. I think the best, from my point of view, was the poetry course. Not because I hoped to be any sort of poet (!) right then, but because it helped teach me not a few editing skills. My first drafts are still way too long... but now at least I know what to do about it :-)

Happy writing, everybody. It's lovely to look out for names you know when TPF arrives!

Sharon boothroyd said...

The WB business model relies on their students not completing the courses, because they offer a money back guarantee. But you must complete the course before it applies!
So in reality, they probably won't give anyone a money back guarantee.
Patsy, I'm sure that people could figure out the right genre for them without the need to fork out a lot of money.
I'm not sure why they'd need to pay for that privilege,really.
Yes, some might say it's an investment in their career but unless you are supremely talented, it may take up to 2 or 3 years to earn that investment back, let alone make a profit.
They do rather give the impression in their ads that success is just around the corner, when this isn't necessarily the case.
I feel very strongly that no aspiring writer should need to pay an unreasonable amount for advice help, support and guidance.

Marguerite said...

Sorry, Sheelagh, meant to say a hearty congratulations re the inclusion in the annual! What a coup for you! 2025, eh? ;)

Sheelagh said...

Thanks Marguerite, I know, there's a bit of forward planning for you & half my Christmas shopping for 2024 sorted already!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Patsy, for all of the information you provide. And congratulations to Sheelagh for your TPF acceptances. (I just wish I could crack their code.)

Re the WB. I did start one of their courses in the late 90’s but never finished. I just found their assignments too overwhelming. Plus they were pushing for me to do their non fiction when I wanted to concentrate on the fiction side. Like Sharon pointed out, I agree that they assume most students won’t finish. And I, too, am happy to admit that I’m self taught. I think that having read hundreds of short stories over the years has helped with this.


Sheelagh said...

There's no doubt the best way to hone your writing skills is to write & read lots.
@Michael Re TPF I really upped my number of submissions in the months before I had an acceptance & getting the first one was the toughest. Hang in there, it'll happen

Marian said...

I'm a bit behind this week, but I've just downloaded the mini mystery and I'm looking forward to reading it this evening. I think it's a good marketing strategy!

Anonymous said...

Some months ago, I sent a story in to Yours Fiction. I heard nothing then I read of the magazine's demise and thought that was that. However, I recently received an email saying that my story would be published in Yours mag instead. This means that it will be one of the last original stories to be used before Yours reverts to stories pp(previously published!)

My story is about two thirds of the usual required length for Yours mag - perhaps they had a specific space to fill?

In Patsy's subbing guidelines, the payment for a Yours story is £100 but they are offering £25 which is the lowest starting rate for a story for YF.

Do I query this apparent shortfall please - or just remain silent and grateful?

Kind regards, Sue

Sheelagh said...

Well done Sue on getting your story accepted for publication under the conditions. That's a bit of coup in itself. The payment does seem very low indeed. Not sure what I would do in your case, suppose it depends on whether you reckon you could successfully submit it elsewhere. Best of luck with it.

Liz said...

Sue, my understanding is that they pay 25 pounds per page, which is why I've never submitted to them. Absolutely pathetic rates.

ados123 said...

Yours magazine certainly used to pay £100 per story. Yours fiction was always lower rates. Unless you have other plans for the story, I'd probably go with it... remain silent and seething... You can at least claim ALCS if its published.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Well done Sue.
Yes, the lowest rate for Yours fiction was £25 and as your story was aimed there, that's the payment rate for that mag.
I agree that it seems unfair but as they are reaching the end of publishing fresh fiction, I'd take the payment and see it as a bit of extra money for Xmas.
If you withdraw it, they'd fill the slot very quickly with another story.
By, the way, I'm hearing that it's been a while since anyone has had contact from Fiction Feast.
I'm just wondering if changes are afoot there too.
The last contact I had was early September - 2 months ago.
Has anyone heard for them earlier than that?

Patsy said...

@ HB - Thanks!

I agree about that blog post and there's another useful post from Lucy today too.

@ Marguerite - It's showing now! Thank you. They do seem to take longer to show than used to be the case.

@ Penny - It's good to know you found the course of interest.

@ Sharon – I totally agree that it's entirely possible for people to become writers without expensive courses. The WB and similar courses might work well for some, but definitely aren't essential.

@ Michael – I agree that reading, especially when it's in the magazine (or other market area) we intend to submit to / write for is very helpful.

@ Marian – Thank you! I hope you enjoy it (or did if you've read it already)

@ Sue - Congratulations on the acceptance!

It's disappointing that the amount offered is lower than used to be paid for that market. You could query it, but as that's what the magazine you actually submitted to would have paid, I doubt you'd be successful.

@ Sharon – I had emails yesterday. Two of my stories are in the issue which I think will be out today. These were accepted a little while ago, so maybe they're using up a backlog rather than accepting more at the moment.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Thanks for that, Patsy and well done on having 2 stories in.
That's reassuring.
Yes, they could be using a backlog up before buying any more.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sheelagh, Liz, Alyson, Sharon and Patsy,

Thank you very much for your kind words and advice.
In line with your collective comments, I am going to swallow my pride, gracefully accept the £25 and just enjoy seeing my name on the page which is still quite a rare and welcome sight!

I wish you all and everyone who reads and/or contributes to Patsy's kind and supportive blogs the best festive season possible and lots of grateful editors accepting your work in 2024! Kindest regards, Sue x

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think that's a good marketing strategy. |I'd definitely be more likely to read a novel if I had already enjoyed a short story featuring the same main character.