Thursday, 29 October 2009

An award

Thanks to Jarmara for giving me this award, I really appreciate it. One of the rules is that I pass it on to someone whose blog I think is fab so I pass this on to Karen. Thanks for all your support - yours too Jarmara.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

What to do?

Is my secret life about to be disclosed?
A close family member who knows nothing about my writing "hobby" has invited me to become their friend on Facebook.
I don't use Facebook much but I have been told more than once that I should especially if I want to publicise myself as a writer.
It would cause massive offense if I didn't say yes.
Hhmmm, what to do?

Monday, 26 October 2009

A delay in submission

I've been working on revising my synopsis and cover letter and I think that they are just about there - wherever that is. But then I got to thinking that maybe I shouldn't bother sending it out yet because it's bad enough that they will be stuck on a slush pile for a while without it being stuck in a post office backlog as well. Maybe I'll just hang onto it - at least for now. Or maybe I should rethink the people that I was going to send it to and look out for agents that accept submissions by email.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Very Special Guest

So the "Heaven Can Wait" virtual book tour has made it to the North East. I'm happy to welcome all visitors to the blog and to those of you that haven't been here before, help yourself to tea and coffee and the cake is in the cupboard.
I wondered if the reality of getting a book deal was how Cally had dreamed it would be. So without delay please allow me to hand over to the very talented Cally Taylor and she can tell us.

The Reality vs The Dream
When Colette asked me to write a guest blog post about the reality of becoming a published author compared to the dream I scratched my head a bit. My journey to publication has been particularly lucky. I wasn’t rejected by hundreds of agents, nor was I rejected by hundred of publishers but the reality is a bit different to how I’d imagined it so here we go – my top 6 differences...
The Dream: #1
Writing and editing your novel is the hard bit, after you’ve got an agent/publisher you’re pretty much done
The Reality: Every agent worth their salt will ask you to make some changes to your novel before they submit it an editor. If you’re lucky, like I was, the changes won’t be enormous or require you to completely re-structure of your book, but you will have to do some more work on it. When you get a publishing deal the editing continues. My editor also asked me to make some changes, as did my paperback editor and once that’s done there’s the copyeditor’s edits to look at too...
The Dream: #2
When you get a publishing deal you’re instantly rich and can swan around all day in your dressing gown, maybe tapping out a couple of hundred words before bed
The Reality: Very few authors get the kind of six or seven figure advances you read about in the press (the reason they’re big news is because they’re so unusual!) and you’re unlikely to earn enough to give up your day job. Life continues just as it did when you were writing your first novel only now there’s even more stuff to fit in after work/at the weekends!
The Dream: #3
Writing your second book will be easier and quicker than writing the first one
The Reality: Unless you write a book using exactly the same structure and format as your first book it’s not going to be any easier. I decided to use a completely different structure and multiple points of view for my second book and it’s like learning to write a novel all over again! You also have less time because you have to balance writing your second book with editing and promoting your first one and doing all the boring author stuff like registering as self-employed and filling out lots and lots of forms for VAT, National Insurance and the like.
The Dream: #4
You’ll be invited to lots of glamorous parties/dinners/awards ceremonies
The Reality: In a year I’ve had one lunch with my agent, lunch and tea with my publishers, was invited to their annual author party and attended the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) awards ceremony. The lunches were yummy, the party was glamorous and the awards ceremony was amazing but it’s not like you’re swanning down a red carpet every weekend, hobnobbing with celebrities and getting freebies left right and centre (I had to buy a ticket to attend the awards ceremony). The reality of being an author is plonking your bum down on your chair and putting your fingers on the keyboard, day after day, night after night. Sometimes, if I’m dedicating a whole weekend to writing, the only person I’ll hobnob with is the postman (and then I’ll be in my dressing gown rather than trussed up in some fancy designer frock!).
The Dream: #5
Because people say lovely things about your book you’ll be filled with inner confidence and all your writerly wibbles/wobbles and insecurities will disappear
The Reality: I’m sorry to say that writerly wibbles and wobbles don’t disappear. In fact they get worse! When people say lovely things about your debut novel you feel an internal pressure to make your next book as good, or better – and worry that maybe you’re a one book wonder and will never write anything publishable again!
The Dream: #6
Landing a publishing deal will make your life perfect
The Reality : The last year has been the most amazing, magical year of my life and I’ve laughed and cried with joy but I’d be lying if I said that landing a publishing deal has made my life perfect. I still have the same stresses and worries as I did when I was unpublished – bills, relationship/legal/property problems and bad hair days (the postman has witnessed a lot of them!) to name just a few - and saying “I’ve got a publishing deal” doesn’t make those stresses magically disappear.
But would I do it all over again given how the dream compares to the reality?
A million times, yes. Yes. Yes.
Cally Taylor – author of supernatural romantic-comedy “Heaven Can Wait” (Orion Paperback)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Keep 'em crossed

Okay, so I have just submitted the first of the ideas that I came up with on holiday. I have sent it to an editor that I have never worked with before so I hope that I have pitched it right. Fingers crossed because in my bid to earn enough from writing this year to pay for next years holiday so far we're having one night in a hotel (not including travel.)
I always hope that things I submit are accepted - what would be the point otherwise? But I really like this story.
So, fingers crossed everybody.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Just had to tell you

I just had to tell you what just happened.
As is my habit, most nights I spend between 10.30 and midnight writing. It's a bit of an odd habit but c'est la vie. Well I thought that I would check my emails before I started and I saw that I had an email from the lovely Jill Finlay. I had that butterfly thing going on in my stomach before I opened it and then the disappointment thing when I read that my story had been rejected. So I was feeling sorry for myself and three or four minutes later another email from Jill popped into my mailbox. This one said to ignore the first email and that in fact my story will be in the Weekly News at some point in the future. Yay!!! I'll let you know when I find out when it's going to be in.
One other thing, Jill will be starting maternity leave next week and Billy Higgins will be taking care of things in her absence.
Okay, so I've now only got 52 minutes to work on the short story that is my current project do best get on.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Progress report

I did indeed walk the dog once it got light and I have to say that was a very pleasant experience. It was just getting light, there was a gentle frost and mist in the valley - very atmospheric. And luckily for me I caught sight of the boxer from up the road before my dog did because he has an eye for the ladies and she is a particularly pretty girl and a bit of a flirt. If they'd managed to get together I'm fairly certain it would have had an embarrassing end for all of us. But I got him on the lead before he saw her so the worst that happened was that I had to drag him home.
Once home and with a cup of tea in hand I set about working on the story that I told you about earlier. I have to be honest and say that it was quite difficult to get started because I thought should I have a look to see if anyone else has blogged, should I check my email etc etc. It's Sunday morning for goodness sake and I'm not going to get any emails that can't wait so I forced myself to get on with it.
I am happy to report that I have had a very productive couple of hours and that all of the words for the story are now down on paper courtesy of the pink pen (not my real pink pen which ran out of ink before my holiday and the shop had to order a refill but the back up.) All that remains is to type those words up either later today or tomorrow, then leave it for a few days before applying a bit of spit and polish and then submitting hopefully by the end of the week but certainly no later than the end of the week after.
Sadly the pink pen has to go back in it's box now as I've got a pile of ironing higher than Kilimanjaro.

Something new

Remember the ideas I had when I was on holiday? Course you do - I've harped on about them often enough. Anyway, one of those ideas is what I would describe as sinister. I've never written anything sinister before so I was wondering if any of you out there that do write "darker" stuff have any advice. Any of you that have read anything that I have written will know that it will be totally alien to me.
I'm up early today because Himself had to be at work at 6am and by the time he'd finished banging and clashing around the bedroom (sorry sweetheart but you did) I was awake so I thought I might as well get up and so far I've answered 3 emails answered an online survey and commented on four blogs. It's still dark but when it gets light enough I'll take the dog for a walk. Then when I get back I'm going to work on that story that I started the other day. Who knows I might even finish it. I'll let you know.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

It can happen

I just want to add my public congratulations to Cally Taylor on the publication of her book Heaven Can Wait. I know that most of us aspire to one day be where she is today and I'm sure that Cally will be celebrating with us on that day. So lets all join in Cally's celebration today because she has shown us that it can happen.

1st idea under way

I am happy to report that I have started working on one of the ideas that I got when I was on holiday and what's more I am very happy about the way it is going. The first draft is only maybe a third of the way through so there's still a long way to go but so far so good.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Back from Heaven

Here I am back in the real world after a week in Heaven (not literally of course - my aspirations aren't that high) and I've come back with six or seven ideas written in my notebook. It wasn't a week for writing but these notions popped into my head so I made a note of them. Hopefully at least one of them will come to something. And then there's the synopsis rewrite of course which if I'm honest I had completeky forgotten about.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Eye opener

Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany about lots of things (I realise that you can't have a "bit" of an epiphany because you either have one or you don't but you know what I mean) and one of those things was my book. I think that BTL is a good story and I'm happy with the way that it is written. Okay so it's not Shakespeare but then very little is. When was the last time that you saw any of Bill's work in the the Times best sellers list?
However the synopsis is weak.
During my epiphany I decided that I had to be honest about lots of things and while it would not be appropriate to bare my soul at this time about all the other things I need to be honest about, I can come clean about my writing. I should come clean about the writing, if I don't then what is the point in this blog?
So my admission is that the synopsis is weak. I can see that now.
It'll be something to work on after my break. I doubt I'll get chance to look at it before because I've not packed a thing yet - in fact most if what I want to pack is still in the ironing pile. And I must go shopping so that I can leave food for those that aren't coming with me.
Anyway, first job when I get back - make that synopsis stronger.
See you all in a week or so.