Happy World Poetry Day 2021!

Happy World Poetry Day 21st March 2021! To celebrate you can hear me read from my poetry collection Chemotherapy for the Soul and my hubby Joseph Robert’s poetry collection Brexit Brokeshit.

Hope you enjoy listening to my reading and have fun celebrating today with your own ventures in verse!

Traditional publishing frustrations – why I’m preparing to go Indie

Thinking of going it alone

If you’ve read my blog post on 22nd February about my experiences of traditional, hybrid and self-publishing, you’ll know that whenever possible I’ve been trying to send my work to small publishing houses. This is not because there’s anything wrong with Indie Publishing, in fact, quite the contrary; I wish I could do it all by myself. The main reason I have been approaching traditional publishers in the first instance is because I’m a writer; I’m confident at producing and editing a manuscript, but not that skilled at typesetting a book, designing a cover, marketing my work and selling it. Having a publisher helps get my work out into the world. However, there significant drawbacks to traditional publishing and lately I’ve had my fill of those.

The first downside of traditional publishing is that it’s slow. Boy, is it slow! You can submit your work and be waiting for goodness-how-long to get a response and even then, odds are it will be a rejection after all that. But I’m a patient person, and I’ve quietly waited for many a response to query letters, submitting again and again in the hope of success. That’s not the reason why I’m starting to feel traditional publishing burnout, as is the case this month.

You’ll know if you follow my blog that I was given detailed feedback for my latest novel manuscript submission, two pages in fact, with a note from the acquisitions editor of that particular publisher that they welcomed any questions I had. Which I did have. After all, if you are being asked to do significant edits throughout your 90,000 word manuscript with an invitation to make amendments and resubmit for a second read-through, wouldn’t you want to ask details? I’m not precious about my work; I was willing to make most of the suggested revisions, however, I wanted to know specifics on a few parts that would have impacted the overall tone of the story. Pretty important stuff, right? Well, apparently not to said publisher. I haven’t had a response now in eight weeks. Not reassuring, I know. Still, it wasn’t a wasted effort. In the two months since their detailed feedback, I have incorporated most of the changes to my work which I feel has made it more commercial. Less literary, sadly, but more mainstream and at the end of the day, a writer wants their work to appeal to the widest readership, so the changes were necessary – and cost me nothing, except time.

Now, onto my second small press publishing gripe of late. I mentioned recently that my third poetry collection is forthcoming. Well, after a flurry of edits checking for typos and deciding on cover artwork, during which the response time of the publisher was hours, I was informed that my book was going to print. The publisher asked if I would order 10-20 copies to support the press at author discount, of course. I mentioned that I hadn’t yet received my contract and that I would be happy to buy copies later for book signing events, once lockdown is over. Unusually for the publisher, I received no response. After nearly a week I followed this up asking if they still intended to publish my book, to which I received an emphatic YES! (Actually in capitals like that) along with my attached contract. I signed and returned it with a note that I looked forward to hearing a publication date for my book. No response to that one, and as of tomorrow it will be two weeks. Again, as with the communication over my novel above, this cost me nothing except my precious time, which I’m starting to fear has been wasted.

As such, I’m starting to reach the end of my tether dealing with one too many small press publishers who turn out to have unreliable conduct. I am awaiting a few more simultaneous submission responses from publishers that I’m hoping will be more professional. In the meantime, I’m getting clued up about self-publishing. I’ve been learning from Indie author friends about sites that are easy to use to do my own cover artwork and reading up on typesetting. A week or two ago I hadn’t even heard of widows and orphans, so I’ve come a long way! Maybe later this year, who knows, I’ll be taking my publishing career into my own hands. It will be a fun adventure either way.

Happy World Book Day 2021!

It’s Thursday 4th March, which means it’s World Book Day. Hurray! Encouraging a love of reading is particularly important for children, but books are important for everyone, no matter how old or young.

To celebrate, why not listen to an excerpt from my debut novel Gods of Avalon Road. It’s also on sale for £5.00 from my online shop Meandi Books with free shipping worldwide using code ZDP85H at checkout. Enjoy!

February literary update

This has been a crazy week. Two weeks ago, part of our livingroom ceiling collapsed. We’ve had builders and plasterers in over the past few days, which has made working from home more cramped, though I’m grateful for the much-needed repairs.

My writing nook amidst ceiling-repair chaos. Currently editing my second novel manuscript, which is under consideration by a US publisher.

I’ve been trying to stick to a schedule for my full time job while working remotely, and my writing on lunch breaks and early evening time, before picking up the babe from childcare. Lots of literary things have been going on. On Wednesday I got the proof copy of my forthcoming poetry book, The Redundancy of Tautology, from the publisher, Cyberwit. Pleased to report that I only noticed one typo and my super editor hubby, Joseph Robert, spotted one more. The manuscript is now going to print – yay! More about this in the coming weeks.

Earlier today I also got my bi-annual royalties statement for my novel, Gods of Avalon Road, from Blossom Spring Publishing. A happy, Friday pick-me-up!

In the meantime, it’s business as usual on my lunch break as I tackle the current round of edits I’m doing on my hopefully soon to be published second novel, which is under consideration by a US publisher. If you’ve read my earlier posts on this novel, you’ll know that I received detailed feedback on suggested revisions to make before another read-through by the editor. Exciting stuff, but also busy work!

Traditional, hybrid and self-publishing…my experience

Decades ago, the only type of publishing that was reputable and viable was traditional publishing – to submit a book to a publisher, who then handles production costs and pays an author an advance sum of money with royalties to follow. The publisher would market and promote the book, getting copies into all major bookstores and the author would be free to write books.

The option to self-publish in yesteryear existed alongside this and namely involved sourcing a printer to produce X-amount of copies of one’s own book, before selling them, usually at a car-boot sale or local fair. Then, about a decade ago (maybe two), online printer-publisher companies such as Lulu and Createspace, among others, appeared allowing authors to self-publish their work with ease and for free. Suddenly everyone and their neighbour became a writer. Yet the process was still straightforward: you either go with a royalty-paying traditional publisher, or you go-it-alone.

More recently a third option has been thrown into the mix: hybrid publishing. This is where an author submits work to the hybrid publisher and if accepted, the author pays a contribution towards publishing costs. The hybrid publisher then pays the remainder of costs to have the book produced. This type of publishing is often known as partnership publishing. It’s relatively new; as far as I’m aware, it has only been around in the last few years.

For an author at the start of their career, which option is best? Ultimately that decision comes down to the individual. However, I can certainly share my experience and the costs involved, to help others make informed choices. With that in mind, here is my experience of being published traditionally, with a hybrid publisher and through self-publishing.

Traditional publishing:

I have been traditionally published 3 times, each time by a different publisher. I define ‘traditional’ here in the sense that I didn’t pay any money to have my work published; some also include receiving an advance as indicative of traditional, though in this post, my definition is inclusive of only the former, rather than latter.

COSTS: None. The publishers paid for production costs of typesetting, cover art, ISBN, editing, etc.

Continue reading

Publishing news: my third poetry collection is coming soon from Cyberwit Publishing!

Cover reveal! Finally I can share my big news. My third poetry collection, The Redundancy of Tautology, is forthcoming from Cyberwit Publishing. This is exciting news as it marks the publication of my first full book of poetry: A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017) were both chapbooks.

I’m definitely thrilled. Hope you can share my exciting news. I’ll post links to buy a Paperback copy once it’s published. For now, if you want a taster of some poems in the collection, here are links to read them, for FREE, in the magazines where they were first published:

The Redundancy of Tautology” first published in Dead Snakes Magazine, 2016.

New-sense” first published in The Open Mouse, 2014.

A faraday cage will keep you safe, Thou dost protest too much, Life is a-changing, Long haul, Show not tell, Ripe fruit” first published in Mudjob Magazine, 2013

Landmass” first published in Jellyfish Whispers, 2013.

English Litter-ature” first published in Boyslut Magazine, 2013.

And now I’m off to do a happy dance. Whoop, whoop! 💃

Happy Valentine’s Day 2021!

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day the Japanese way, as we always do, which is for girls to give chocolates to guys – and await their turn on March 14th, or White Day. Here’s a chocolate cake that I made for the special guys in my life. As you can see, I’ll never be a professional cake decorator, but it’s the thought that counts! This one is made with almond flour, a perfect low-carb, high-protein treat.

Thank you to my new subscribers who have opted to receive email updates for my Newsletter. Your readership is very important to me and I hope you can stay tuned as I have some exciting publishing news coming soon…

Thanks also to my wonderful readers who have bought copies of my poetry or debut novel as part of the Valentine’s Day promotion I’m running. Remember, there is still 24 hours left to grab a book at an awesome discount – and on top of that, you’ll get free shipping with code Y5NLNJ. Such a steal!

Happy Valentine’s Day, hope it’s a good one for you! ❤️

Doing novel edits for a publisher

In my earlier posts on 8 December and 27 January, I mentioned that my novel (WIP 3) is under consideration by a US publisher. After my work is done each day, I’ve been taking a couple of hours in the late afternoon and early evening to read through my final draft, which I printed on Lulu last year, in preparation to make suggested edits that the publisher recommended.

Editing a novel for a publisher. I’ve got my work cut out for me!

Having a fresh set of eyes to look over my work is a good thing. I was so absorbed in the final draft and then the process of sending it out to publishers that I overlooked some issues with the characterisation and point of view that, thankfully, are minor and fixable. The point of view issues were intentional to show an unreliable narrator, but the publisher felt they could be too confusing for readers. I’m willing to straighten these out since it doesn’t take anything away from the story in the process. In addition to that, the opening chapter needs tweaking a little and a scene towards the end of the novel needs cut; on the reread, it wasn’t a good scene and doesn’t fit the protagonist’s character arc.

What could possibly be a distraction from my work? The Chalk Man! This book has been on my reading list for a while and arrived today in the post. To edit, or to read? Ah, the dilemma! One way or another, lots of tea is in order!

Happy World Read Aloud Day 2021

Happy World Read Aloud Day 2021! To celebrate, why not listen to a poem from my debut poetry collection and an excerpt from my debut novel. After all, sharing is caring! 😉

Since we’re still in lockdown here in Northern Ireland, I haven’t been able to do any live book events as I had planned, therefore I still have a few paperback copies of my novel for sale. I’m running a Valentine’s Day promotion on both A Model Archaeologist and Gods of Avalon Road until February 14th with free shipping using code Y5NLNJ.

Enjoy! 😊

Valentine’s Day Promotion – Meandi Books on sale!

Valentine’s Day is almost here ❤️ To celebrate, both my debut poetry collection, A Model Archaeologist and debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road are on a discount offer at my online shop, Meandi Books, as a February promotion just to spread a little love! Both have archaeology-themes so would make a perfect purchase-couple if bought together, though equally will give you a good read as solo and proud! On sale until February 15th, and you’ll get a dedicated poem written, just for you with any purchase. 😉