Swanwick Day 2 – #swanwick65


Firstly, I must apologise for being so behind in replying to your comments. I’ve got a couple of free hours on Tuesday so will catch up then.

I was up early, as ever this morning, so I sat on a bench with my cup of tea and did some writing πŸ™‚

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My first session this morning was with James Moran (can you tell I’ve got the iPad working now lol) and was a session on Screenwriting. So many people have said to me I should consider writing scripts, but I’m scared shitless! πŸ˜‰ James makes it sound so easy. His class was very informative, and he’s a man after my own heart, believing that, when you’re writing don’t look back over what you’ve written, get to the end before you start editing!

After a short break for tea it was off to a class in Literary Fiction with Alexa Radcliffe-Hart where we did a fantastic exercise that stemmed from a prompt we were given. I ended up creating a character who was paralysed in a hospital.

Lunch (roast beef of course!) and then more Screenwriting followed by a workshop with the lovely Marion Hough entitled Promoting Your Work. Ok, so I’m not published, but I still found it interesting! I didn’t realise Waterstones (here in the UK) will take your self published books but take 40% of the sale price as a fee. Worth it or not I wonder?

A FaceBook party on the lawn was the highlight of the day…putting faces to names was wonderful πŸ™‚

Fish and chips for dinner and then a talk by Syd Moore who was absolutely fascinating as she explained her inspiration for her books and gave us background info on her research. I love the idea of taking a real life event and fictionalising it.

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Right, I’m off to the Buskers night in a sec….it goes on until 12.30, but I’m not too sure I’ll make it to the end πŸ˜‰

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Faber Session 18 – Will Atkinson


It was a lovely sunny day here in Kent when I got on the train….unfortunately, by the time I got to London it was pissing down lol πŸ˜‰

But I didn’t let the weather deter me from my cake, cheesecake to be precise…

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And a quick stop off in Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street πŸ™‚

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So I arrived at class having lost a button on my coat, with a brolley that I stuck in Fabers bin because it had blown inside out so many times and wet feet because my dolly shoes (a totally impractical choice of footwear) sprung a leek! πŸ˜‰

Today’s class was a session with Faber’s Sales and Marketing Director, Will Atkinson who talked about the changing face of book selling and publishing. Here are some of my notes:

The reasons a book sells (in statistical order)
1. Recommendation
2. You like the author
3. Bookshop display
4. Publicity & Reviews

If someone famous Tweets about a book they’ve recently read a publisher can sell up to 200,000 copies from that one recommendation alone.

More people than ever are reading and writing.

15% of all books bought in the UK last year were self published.

Self publishing via Kindle is not a bad thing to do, but be aware that you are in murky company, lumped in with badly written and unedited work from others.

Publishers notice eBooks that are doing well.

eBooks can be a way to promote yourself even with a traditional publishing deal.

There is a huge element of luck as to whether your published book is a success, but, the quality of the book will out.

The publishing industry is in difficulty, but at the moment, eBooks are making up for that.

The Richard & Judy Bookclub has had a major impact on summer book buying in the UK. Those on their annual list doing very well, the other authors suffering because of it.

Will gave a very positive view on the publishing industry, which was nice to hear. He also said that if a man on the street hears about a book, is he going to get in his car, drive to the local high street, park up, find a Waterstones or WHSmiths, go in and find the book? No, he’s much more likely to get his phone or iPad out and order it on Amazon. A fair point indeed.

Hmmmmm, some stuff to think about…I was convinced that I didn’t want to go down the eBook route, that I wanted a traditional publishing deal, but now I’m not so sure. I’m liking the idea of using the eBook idea as a form of promotion, I can see that working…..perhaps some short stories?

What do you guys think? Tempted? Those of you who have self published on Kindle, what made you decide to do that rather than go to a publisher?

Faber Session 15 – The Publishing Experience


Because of the threat of snow I was determined to get up to London, so I went earlier. Got off the tube a couple of stops later and found myself in Fortnum & Mason
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As you do πŸ˜‰ This is one serious posh shop people. I just thought I’d have a wander lol. But I kinda found myself in The Parlour, the ice cream parlour!

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After Welsh Rarebit crumpets it was cake time! This is apparently an Estherhazy cake which originates in Austria.

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Looks yummy yeah? Nope….it wasn’t! It was the most sickly thing I’ve ever had 😦 That white stuff isn’t cream, it’s buttercream! So there’s more buttercream than cake! I couldn’t eat it all lol. On the plus side, they give you a mini ice cream with your latte πŸ˜‰

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Anyway, enough of the cake, onto class!

Our guest tutor tonight was Hannah Griffiths (Publishing Director at Faber & Faber) who came to talk to us about publishing. I really don’t know where to begin to be honest, she was brilliant. I learnt so much! So I guess I’ll just share with you some of my notes, some of the things that Hannah said that I found interesting or useful.

She will only read a MS subbed by an agent. For 2 reasons…1. She’s a busy lady, she trusts that an MS sent in by an agent will be worth reading and 2. because she only signs authors who have an agent. Why? because she doesn’t want to spend all her time talking to that author about the business side of things (because she’d rather talk to you about your novel!), explaining stuff to debut authors who don’t know all the stuff about contracts and rights.

TItle is really important! Books with a good, memorable title will often get read on that alone, so make it brilliant!

Polish your MS to perfection. You have a much better chance. Don’t submit before you’re ready to.

Most people over-write the first 2 pages, don’t! Read 10 opening paragraphs of novels considered to be good. Learn from them!

Great authors leave no trace of the turmoil it took to get there. I love that quote πŸ™‚

Be original, assured and confident in your prose, but surprise.

People don’t know what to buy anymore, publishers need to get their shit together (regarding online sales).

A good agent will know the “tastes” of certain editors.

She talked about the publishing industry. Here in the UK our biggest Bookshop chain, Waterstones, are planning on closing a third of their shops in the next couple of years. This will have a major impact on book buying in the UK. Publishers aren’t really that worried about Ebooks. Their problem will be getting debut authors work “out there” and noticed in the years to come. The ordinary man in the street, who buys 4 books a year will be turning to the supermarkets, where there is no author loyalty. It’s just a case of buy what they have.

Hmmmm, it all seems a bit sad, the state of book buying in the UK, and doesn’t fill you with hope 😦 At the moment Amazon seems to have the UK online market sown up. If you walk into a Waterstones you have access to 1000+ books blurbs to make your selection from. You go on to Amazon and you have to scroll through pages of books to find something you might want to read (unless you’re on there for something specific). I know what I prefer, but it seems I’m beginning to be a part of a minority 😦

Sooooo, I learnt that 1. I really should have an agent before anything else and 2. The chances of me becoming a successful novelist within the next 3 years is very slim (tongue firmly in cheek there). But, it does beg the question Where exactly is the publishing industry headed? It’s quite a worry 😦

I Do Love A Sale ;)


What can I say, I’m a sucker for a sale! I went to Waterstones in BlueWater yesterday where they are selling some of their stock off for 99p…..sooooo, Β£15 later…..you do the maths πŸ˜‰ more TBR’s lol

I still haven’t done yesterdays prompt which was about an unfamiliar object, nor today’s which is the place where wings unfurl so guess what my afternoon will consist of πŸ˜‰

I did however have a rather fabulous morning today. I was moaning on Face Book at how unmotivated I was in getting my assignment sorted. I kind of had a story, but I just couldnt finish it with the correct word count. Sooooo, the lovely Elizabeth Haynes offered to meet me for a Nano style ‘write in’ at Cafe Nero…… How could I resist? πŸ™‚

I managed to completely finish my story, get my word count up to 2,600 words and do a bit of editing in the 3 hours I was there. So thanks Elizabeth it was the kick up the backside I needed lol πŸ™‚

While we’re on the subject, I can highly recommend Elizabeth’s book

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Even my hubby read it and thoroughly enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Sooooo, all I have left to do on my assignment is some editing….I guess I better go and get started lol πŸ˜‰