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What does it mean to be an Indie Author?

If you thought being a writer was just a matter of sitting down and putting your thoughts onto paper, this is for you. There’s a lot more to being an author, especially if you lack the backing of one of the big publishing houses. Even then, you still have to do a lot of this other stuff.

Source: What does it mean to be an Indie Author?

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Our Review of The Box Under The Bed by Dan Alatorre @savvystories #Horror

All the pre-ordered Kindle editions of the anthology are now with readers. And here, already, is another review! “each [of the stories] is a darned good read” What are you waiting for?

 

Source: Our Review of The Box Under The Bed by Dan Alatorre @savvystories #Horror

Media Training for Authors – Advertising – Covers, Titles and Key Words by Sally Cronin

I’ve heard fellow authors complain about what they see as a lack of support from other writers. Not a charge you can level against Sally Cronin. Here she explains the importance of getting each element of your sales pitch spot on.

Source: Media Training for Authors – Advertising – Covers, Titles and Key Words by Sally Cronin

Coming Soon! A Scary Anthology

Alison Maruska is a best selling Indie author and I am proud to have one of my stories included alongside hers and those of other great writers.

Source: Coming Soon! A Scary Anthology

The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

Just in case you thought that writing a novel – or any kind of book really – is the road to riches. And why even good books don’t always make the best sellers lists.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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As we careen toward the New Year, many emerging writers have a goal to finally publish that novel and I hope you do! But the arts are kind of strange. We often get fixated on the creative side, without really understanding the business side of our business.

The publishing world is still in massive upheaval and it is a Digital Wild West. Old rules are falling away and new ones are emerging, but still? Knowledge is power.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision as you are building your brand.

All types of publishing have corresponding strengths and weaknesses and this is…

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Home – what does it mean to you?

This post was suggested by The Writing Reader’s prompt #1753, the first line of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

Urishay Castle. © Copyright John Thorn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Last night I dreamed I was back in Urishay, a small community of farms and cottages in the hills above the Golden Valley, close to the Black Mountains that mark the border between England and Wales. I was a babe in arms when I first arrived there with my mother and grandmother. It was to be my home for the next 14 years.

Our cottage had thick walls of local stone. A stream ran in a deep ravine with two waterfalls behind it. Cattle grazed the surrounding fields for a large part of the year. In summer sweet smelling hay was harvested to provide winter feed for these animals. It is a place full of memories of warm summer days spent roaming the lanes and hedgerows. There was an orchard with ancient apple and pear trees. I remember well the delicious, golf-ball-sized, pears that grew in abundance on two or three of these gnarled trees, fruit that were as attractive to wasps as to us children.

Home is a strange concept. I have lived in many other places since, but that cottage in Urishay will always be ‘home’ to me. So, too, will the boarding school at which I resided for 40 weeks of every one of the six years between the ages of 11 and 17. I have been back a number of times recently and it fills me with memories of my youth, as do the many exchanges between myself and other former pupils on a Google forum created for the purpose.

Hereford Cathedral

Hereford Cathedral

The city of Hereford, Coventry, Cleethorpes and a small village in East Yorkshire have all been home to my wife and I at various times during the 50+ years of our marriage. Over the past few years we have created a home with a beautiful garden in a lovely part of the Irish Midlands. One of the new friends I have made here in Ireland recently published a book entitled Home. His experience of home is very different to mine. He remained in the same small town throughout his life, apart from a brief period in university. Now retired from a teaching career in the town in which he was born, he has spent the past few years researching the history of the town. He created a website filled with photographs of the town’s buildings, each one accompanied by details obtained from census returns of the various inhabitants and their trades.

Home contains much of this same fascinating information that documents the life of an Irish market town from its inception as a defensive fort at the time of the Tudor plantation of Ireland to the meteoric expansion of the ‘tiger’ years and their accompanying construction boom.

An image from Portlaoise Pictures. Copyright John Dunne

But in his book my friend has preceded the historical facts and anecdotes with eleven delightful short stories about fictional characters and their lives in the town in the 1960s and ’70s.

It is this fascination with the way life was lived in one’s youth that, perhaps, most accurately defines the real sense of ‘home’. For me it is the rural backwater in the Welsh Marches and the boarding school among the heathland of Surrey. For my friend it is the market town with its music, its shops, its prison and its small cinema. My friend’s home town is not merely the backdrop to his short stories but a solid character whose history shapes its inhabitants, creating that unique quality that makes them different from the citizens of any other place.

Castle Dunamaise ruins #2 webThe castles and hills of the Welsh Marches mirror those to be found around my new home in Ireland. The same people built both sets of castles. A few years ago my own research centred on these people and their involvement in the history of both places. This led to the creation of the Hereford and Ireland History section of this website and Strongbow’s Wife, my novel about the young woman who became the wife of the man who answered her father’s call for assistance in his ambition to become High King.

Urishay features as the setting for my own second novel, Summer Day, in which a boy believes himself to be responsible for his father’s death. Many of the characters who feature in various ways in the tragic events of the day that follows are loosely based on the real people who inhabited the district when I was growing up there. And I’m guessing the characters in my friend’s short stories are based on real people and events he experienced in his formative years.

Home is available from http://www.portlaoisepictures.com/purtockpress.htm

Strongbow’s Wife can be purchased from Amazon. A soft cover version is also available via this link: https://www.feedaread.com/books/Strongbows-Wife-9781786109910.aspx

Summer Day can be purchased from Amazon via this link: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Day-Frank-Parker-ebook/dp/B007ZBK4UI?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Is ‘The General Reader’ a Mythical Creature?

The other day I read an interesting blog post by a literary agent. Although originally produced in December 2015, it had been shared on March 20th in The Writing Reader’s ‘Carnival of Creativity‘.

In the post, originally published on Jane Friedman’s blog, Rebecca Faith Heyman contends that too many writers have no idea who their audience is. When asked, they are apt to respond with a sentence containing the phrase ‘every reader’. Every reader, she insisted, does not exist. He or she is a myth. I beg to differ – although I would substitute ‘general reader’ for ‘every reader’.

“In reality every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what,without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived in himself.”

Marcel Proust.

I will concede that ‘audience’ is a concept with which I struggle. If I have a mental picture of the person who will read and enjoy my work it is of someone not unlike myself and many of my friends. People with wide tastes in reading. Thrillers, murder mysteries, biographies and family sagas are consumed alongside books by well known writers who have been nominated for, or won, literary prizes. This is what I mean by the ‘general reader’.

It seems to me that to suggest that, because someone enjoys romantic novels or ‘chick lit’, one cannot also read science fiction, horror, or dark tales involving zombies, is insulting to readers. One might as well suggest that because someone likes jazz, that person cannot also enjoy listening to classical music or opera. It is to pigeonhole, or ghetoise, readers into exclusive categories for whom writing must be especially tailored to suit their presumed narrow interests.

The reader I crave for my writing is the same person that reads Ian McEwan or Ali Smith. The person who would be as happily seen holding a book by Stephen King as one by Roddy Doyle. He, or she, is enthralled by Lionel Shriver, captivated by Colm Toibin and taken to new worlds by Ursula K. Le Guin. I believe that every reader is possessed of such broad tastes – or could be, if publishers were not so eager to herd them into cages with labels like animals in a zoo.

The problem for self-published writers like me is not not knowing our audience. It is our audience not knowing we exist.