Originality

This is not one of my posts but something I am cross-posting from Edgeverse with their permission. It says something I've long suspected and have been saying for some time. I remember reading an interview with Frank Zappa in NME years ago. Despite its claims to the contrary, he said, the music industry was not looking for "the next great thing". Instead, they wanted the previous great thing. When the Beatles hit the scene, every label wanted a band with multiple guitar players. Boy bands were a non-starter until the first one became…Read more

Conditions: A Writer’s Perspective

Here are some thoughts I had during a writers' retreat in May, 2019, but it's still as true now. “I can’t write because…” Name your problem: space, time, people, inspiration, whatever. I have heard this, seen this, read this, more times than I care to remember, especially in the last year, since I became active in several FaceBook writing groups. Sorry, people, but that isn't a reason for not writing, it’s an excuse. And a lame one at that. Yesterday, I stood in the cottage where Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived for three years…Read more

Handling Rejections

As I’ve promised before, it’s time to talk about rejections. “Rejection” is a harsh word to hear when you’re a writer, even though it’s part of the process. It’s painful to get a rejection because it means that someone doesn’t like your writing for some reason. And it often doesn’t matter what the reason is, it still hurts! However, I’m becoming hardened to it. Or so I like to think. I’ve recently started compiling statistics on my submissions and rejections, and it makes for interesting reading. I’ve been sending out submissions for the…Read more

Pomodoro? Caprese? Coffee!

Have you come across The Pomodoro Technique [unsolicited plug]? It’s a method of dividing up your work time, to ensure that you work in a concentrated manner in short bursts, a bit like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for the brain. Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes, a period the author calls a “Pomodoro”. You then work until the timer rings, allowing nothing to interrupt you. After a short break of five minutes, you start the next Pomodoro. Rinse and repeat. The name apparently derives from the tomato-shaped timer that he bought…Read more

Sharing Knowledge

Despite the horrors of Covid-19 and lockdowns, I hope this year brings you joy, good experiences and new knowledge. Apropos knowledge, I remember coming across a “law” of life some time ago, similar to Murphy’s Law: Roger Lincoln’s 2 Rules for Success:1. Never tell everything you know. It’s a good joke, but nowadays, hoarding knowledge is greedy, arrogant and, ultimately, insane. It’s greedy because knowledge doesn’t belong to anybody. Oh, I know that there is proprietary information, like the exact form and contents of a company’s databases or their communications protocols. Even their…Read more

Looking for Publication?

One of the problems of the modern writer is getting noticed by agents and publishers. There are places you can search, of course, like Query Tracker or Submission Grinder. But that's hard work, working your way through hundreds of entries to find a couple that are actually what you want. I know, I've been doing that for the past few weeks...! How about getting three curated selections every week, sent regularly to your inbox? Interested? Then you should sign up with the Writing Gym at 3 Paying Lit Mags With Upcoming Submission Deadlines.…Read more

Submission is a Numbers Game

When I first started submitting my work to agents and publishers a couple of years ago, my writing coach Annalisa Parent told me that it is a numbers game. I didn't understand what she meant. However, I did submit 75 times from the beginning of May last year and managed to get two short stories published, as I mentioned here and here. I had been submitting before, but it was somewhat haphazard and sporadic. Annalisa told me that I should strive to get 100 rejections before analysing what I needed to change. 73…Read more

A Few More Publishers

Some time ago, I self-published my self-help book "Unleash Your Dreams: Going Beyond Goal Setting" on Smashwords. Unfortunately, the automated analysis program called "The Meatgrinder" had problems with my formatting, but did not tell me exactly was wrong, nor how to correct it. After I discovered their book about reformatting, I was able to get everything right in a couple of days. My book is now also available from the following suppliers: Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/682994 Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1177089529 Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164771447 Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9780992744120 Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9780992744120 It will also be available from Gardners Extended Retail…Read more

Yet Another Interview

I mentioned some time ago, in the post Another Interview, that I was interviewed by my friend Janine Bolon, a writer from America. We talked about being a writer, and what that can entail. Well, a few weeks later, we got back together again and had another chat, this time about my book Unleash Your Dreams. Here is the link to our conversation.Read more

Killing Time in Cambridge

This is not part of my publishing career, but I would like to promote a novel written by a friend of mine, Philip Cumberland. It is a cross between a time-travel adventure and a police procedural, with intense descriptions of local colour. The premise is fascinating, and the execution extremely well done. The tale gripped me from the beginning because of the interesting, quirky characters, like Arnold, Sylvia... and, of course, Marvin. Their interactions were believable, and the character-building using dialogue was credible. The world-building, basing itself on the real Cambridge and the…Read more