Thursday, February 25, 2010

Website Updates!

You read Claire's post on Self Publishing last week now come check out her bio! It's up on the site here!

Then when you've finished reading up all about Claire you can check out the latest article by Megan Andrews. This time she's all about the emotion! You'll find the article under the On Writing section here.

And if you're not really in the mood for a lot of reading and you'd rather sit and drool over the pretty pictures - check out our hommage to Antonio Banderas here!

And when you're done with all of that come on back here and tell us what you liked and what you'd like to see more of!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Self Publishing

Hi all, I'm Claire Robyns and will be doing the odd post now and then. So, I'm just going to jump in with the topic on my mind today: Self publishing. I'm not going to go into the whys and wherefores of self publishing. Most aspiring authors have probably looked at this, considered the ups and downs, and are well aware of what the realistic expectations of self publishing are.

This is something I've flirted with for some time, and recently jumped in and self published my contemporary romance Love Lost and Found in aid of breast cancer fundraising. But some interesting facts turned up while I was researching and wanted to share...

Amazon Kindle has a self publishing platform that is completely painless to use and FREE. Yes, you're probably not going to make any money from self publishing unless you've got a very clever and probably time consuming marketing plan in place, so chances are you don't want to cough up the thousands that most packages are asking. Of course, Amazon gets their bucks when you actually sell - you only get 35% of the list price, they take the rest. But the important thing here is that you can play around and take some chances, because it's not going to cost you anything up front. All you need is your cover image and your manuscript in MS Word, and you're good to go.

This is something I read about on a couple of blogs, but haven't actually seen it done and don't know of any authors. Yet. But it seems that some midlist authors might start using self publishing for genres they'd like to test the waters in and where their publishers don't appear to want to back them. This sounds like an excellent opportunity for midlist authors, and also for us as readers to have something different available from our favourite midlist authors. These would be authors who already have a respectable following, and want to break out in another area. eg a romance author might want to try hard SCI FI. This has the potential to open the door to more readers, and also to 'show' your publisher that you'd be a success in that genre so they'd consider contracting you in that area

And lastly, talking to various people, I got the distinct impression that the whole taboo of self publishing thing is mainly limited to writers and other people immersed in various aspects of the publishing/writing world. The average reader out there does not automatically shut down at the mention of self publishing. Maybe because they're not as clued in as to how much editing is required to produce a polished book, are not as aware of the seeding out process of the publishing streams... who knows? On the other hand, though, I also got the distinct impression that many of these readers have their fav authors and would not easily give a new author a chance - this is more of an issue than whether you've self-published, e-published or whether you're traditionally published. So marketing and getting your name out there, pulling in reviews and recommendations are critical, and you have to work a lot harder at this if you don't have a traditional publisher behind you.

Any comments or thoughts? Please share


Monday, February 1, 2010

Writing Courses

Radio 702 listeners might have caught Jenny Crwys Williams' show last week in which she interviewed the organiser of an online writing course. Sadly I missed it, but I've had a few friends mention it to me and it piqued my interest. I've heard of this course, and a few others, but I'm struck time and again by the costs involved in learning to write novels. For most of us writing starts as a hobby, growing with time into an obsession and finally, hopefully, into something we can make a living at. But who can afford to spend several thousand rands on what is still effectively a hobby?

I've learned a lot from the internet, from reading 'how to' books and from networking with other writers. But writing is a lonely business and online interaction is a poor substitute for the real thing. I drool over adverts for those glamorous writing courses offered overseas, like Sharon Kendrick's Tuscan romance writing course or the Fishguard weekend with Kate Walker. Am I alone in wondering how long it will be before an esteemed romance writer decides to do a course in the inspirational setting of the bushveld?

Have you been on any writing courses or done an online course? Would you do it again? If you haven't yet done any courses, would you like to and what sort of things would you want to get out of the experience?