Sunday 29 March 2015

My Day at the Writing Conference - Part 1...

I'm finally recovered enough to share my review of Saturday's writing conference. Yes, it was busy, and it was a few hours before the 'buzz' faded; probably the best way to describe it is a low level of background adrenalin that lasted beyond the conference, but didn't make dinner time. By 8 pm I was yawning- despite telling myself it was a bit too early for bed...

(In the U.K the clocks also had to be put forward an hour, so my Sunday lie-in didn't help any!)

Where to begin? I'll do this in two parts because the day covered so many subjects, but even so they will only be snippets from each session.

Generally I've paraphrased, but where I've used quote marks that's exactly what was said by the named person.

On arrival delegates received a Writing East Midlands (WEM) cotton goody bag- WEM had organised the event and had support from a number of other organisations, ALCS, The Writers' Guild, Writing Magazine, the Arts Council and others.

Each bag contained a variety of literary related promotional flyers, a neat little booklet detailing all of this year's Arvon writing courses, a copy of the April issue of Writing Magazine and a book- my bag had a copy of Sue Moorcroft's 'All That Mullarkey'. Another writer friend had a poetry book in her bag, so it was pot-luck what you received.

The keynote speakers were both brilliant, Maureen Duffy, and Kerry Young. And I was fortunate to attend a few of the panels that Maureen Duffy was taking part in and sharing her considerable experience from her long writing career.

Onto the panels: I started with Finding Your Place in the Writing Community. Each panel only had 45 minutes in total, so it was more about the writing community that various social media sources can provide. The editor of Writing Magazine, Jonathan Telfer, emphasised that writers should be themselves, and don't be " a spam monkey". He suggested that a 10 to 1 strategy was useful; for every ten constructive posts, have one sales pitch.

While Aly Stoneman (Poetry Editor at LeftLion Magazine) suggested once a year take an overnight trip to another festival, or a workshop, as it helps expand your network, and also find out what's happening elsewhere, or what magazine/publishing opportunities there may be. Join writing organisations, and support other writers who in turn may support you.

After a 30 minute break- more coffee, tea, fruit juices, and biscuits, we moved on to the next session...

I went to, Myth Busting- Self-Publishing Be Damned: Maureen Duffy shared her experiences of the changing attitudes of publishing that she herself has experienced, and has, with the help of her agent, self-published. She emphasised the importance of a good cover design. To sum up she said you need to "dedicate yourself to it to make it work."

Author of the romantic-comedy 'No-one Ever Has Sex on Tuesday',Tracy Bloom, explained how even having an agent doesn't guarantee success, despite foreign rights selling well, a decision made by Tesco in 2012 not to stock new authors, made self-publishing viable for the book- which went on to sell 200,000 copies. But she did emphasise that a book does need to be good enough - to "have a level of quality."

Key points: covers need to stand out when they are a THUMNAIL size; blurb- snappy, catches the attention and leaps out, as you only have seconds to capture the readers attention. Book bloggers, you could send individual emails to individual bloggers. Don't forget local media, as they want local stories, so give them a local hook.

And "is it the right thing for you.'

There was a lot more from the other panel members, but at the end of the session Maureen Duffy mentioned that books should be accessible for the visually impaired too. E-books need to be produced in the e-pub3 format to be easily convertible for those with visual impairment, but at the moment producers like Amazon and others do not yet use it, so readers have a limited choice of books available.

Then it was time for lunch; to eat and absorb the first half of the day...

I'll post part 2 in a couple of days, which covers the panels on earning a living as a writer, and why having an agent is important...

Thursday 26 March 2015

It's Conference Saturday Soon...

This Saturday I'm off to The Writers' Conference in Nottingham. It's been held annually for quite a few years now, but this will be the first time I've attended. I leave the men of the family at home too.

The East Midlands has a strong writing community, so events like this conference are well attended and book up early.

As with other literary events there are one-to-ones - I'm not ready for that stage just yet. And the two workshops taking place booked up very quickly, and I missed out on the one I would have been interested in.

There are lots of informative panels too, so I'm going to be kept occupied...

The keynote speakers are Maureen Duffy and Kerry Young. While the Chair of the Conference is Stephen Booth, the successful crime fiction author of the Cooper and Fry series.

There are three panels running in each 45 minute slot, and it's a case of being there in good time to ensure you get in to the one you want.

Unfortunately it looks like there might be some disappointed writers for the seminar on the Importance of the Synopsis, as this does have a more limited capacity apparently - so fingers crossed.

There are other events and services running throughout the day. I won't be using the Poetry Surgery, but if I'm at a loose end I'll pop into the Blogging Booth.

I suspect the panel, 'Why is Having an Agent Important?' will be another popular event.

This year's conference is sold out, so make sure you're on the mailing list for notification next year if you're interested.

I'll tell you how the day went in my next post on Sunday...


Sunday 22 March 2015

Domain Name Sorted...

Following on from my earlier post, all it took was a minor adjustment at the technical end and a short wait, and my new blog address is now functioning.

It does mean that I'm going to have to re-do my blog list, as that has disappeared, and if my blog is on your list I assume it may not be accessible now, so you might need to re-apply it - if you would like to. :-)

If you do have any problems accessing my blog do let me know, either via the contact form or via one of the other social media methods.

I'll be updating a few things on the blog, and making sure they work okay this week, and hopefully will be back to my normal posting routine of Sunday and Thursday...


My blog list has been re-installed this afternoon, and there's a few more additions - hope you find them interesting and useful.

I'm Still Here but Working On It...

So far it's been a nightmare.

Buying my domain name was the easiest part. And reassured that my domain could be applied to my blog even if it wasn't hosted was reassuring...

But my issues; some of it has been my fault, some of it is Blogger.

The day I began the process- Monday- was also the day that I discovered that the relevant Blogger help page hasn't been updated, so the important blue link text doesn't actually say what the help page says it says... :(

But I got through that and began the first stage, and then following the instructions inserted the CNAME information into the appropriate boxes over on my domain management section (from the company I purchased my domain from).

Unfortunately I missed an important full stop off, and that had to be corrected for me, so the countdown started again. Although the info on Blogger says it's about 24 hours for everything to be updated, it was actually up to 72 hours- I assume it's just a busy spell.

Google has my domain in the system, but I just need to make the final connection...

And that's where I've come to a halt, as what is displayed in my settings - the Publishing bit - is not what the instructions say will appear so that I can complete the process. I'm still getting an error message.

So I've done my first screenshot and sent it to the support section of my provider, who can hopefully tell me what I need to do to complete it- is it a Blogger issue, or just me?

I suspect opting for a hosted domain may actually make the process simpler...

Anyway, I will get it sorted.

Meanwhile my shiny new business cards will be arriving any day, so fingers crossed, nothing else goes wrong.

UPDATE: Although I now have a domain name address it is still the same blog.
If my blog is saved on your 'My Blogs' list.: if you're still seeing this post, and none of my newer ones, you will need to update the URL in the gadget where you control your blog list. It will be in your blog's Layout. Click on the blue edit and substitute the with carol-bevitt (DOT)co(DOT)uk, and don't forget to click SAVE.

Sunday 15 March 2015

The Next Step...

Well I've embarked on the next stage in my writing career.

Nothing major, but if you try to find my blog in the next few days and it says it's not there, don't worry, it will only be temporary; the likely cause will be me, struggling to get my recently purchased domain name attached to my blog.

If only we were able to swallow a pill and, as a result, instantly understand the instructions that go with these important tasks.

I actually have two domains, one for me, and one for Serena, but I won't be using the latter for a few months yet.

While I've been trying to get on with my current work in progress- the contemporary romance- Serena's stories have temporarily taken a back seat.

Her ideas and characters are still simmering and developing, so there's lots to look forward to...

So keep your fingers crossed, and if it all works I'll be posting as usual on Thursday, if not, I'll post when I can...

If anyone has applied their domain to their blog, and has any useful tips, either comment below, or email me. You can use the contact form on the right hand side of the page.

Thanks. :-)

Thursday 12 March 2015

Extra Income for Writers...

UK writers like the first quarter of a new year, because that's the time they find out how much their books have earned from Public Lending Rights (PLR) and from the various forms of written work eligible for Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society payments (ALCS).

Every year when these payments are mentioned among groups of writers on social media there will be a handful who didn't know their work was eligible for these secondary payments, and are quickly encouraged to make sure they register qualifying work.

In February it was announced that non-print material can now be registered for UK PLR. So if you are fortunate enough to have any of your novels as audio-books, then you need to register them before the 30th June 2015 for inclusion in the 2016 payment.

Now, it would be wonderful if e-books lent by the library service qualified for payment too, and if they are actually downloaded on library premises to fixed terminals and taken away for loan, fine.

Sadly this won't apply as generally those libraries that do offer e-book loans do them remotely, so borrowers download to their devices away from the library.

PLR say on their website: "PLR is unable to make payments for remote e-book lending as it continues to be covered under copyright law."

So they are recommending authors not to register e-books.

All writers know the value of libraries. Public libraries nurtured the majority of today's writers, and hopefully will continue to develop the writers of the future.

But sadly with cuts to funding of local authorities, libraries have often taken the brunt of these cuts, and many have closed, restricted opening times, or are now staffed by volunteers.

There was a government-commissioned report into the future of public libraries in the UK- dated December 2014, with a recommendation that, "the government seek to secure changes in European and UK copyright law" to include remote e-book lending.

You can read the report by following the link on the PLR News page, or here.

Whilst it's not necessarily good news for the moment- there's a general election in May and no one can guess if the next government will be able, or have the inclination, to seek those vital changes.

Nevertheless, it is also a big step forward, as a couple of years ago there appeared no hope of anything being done in relation to remuneration for e-book lending from libraries, let alone discussions...

Sunday 8 March 2015

Another Online Festival...This Times it's Crime!

Last month it was an online romance festival, and now for March there's an online crime festival.

It's being run by event teams from Waterstones, and the HarperCollins imprint, Killer Reads, and takes place Friday 13th March from 2pm, to Saturday 14th March at 8pm.

You can sign up free on their eventbrite page, and that will ensure that you'll get all the details via email to your inbox.

The festival will be a mix of live and virtual events. The live part comes via a number of Waterstones branches that will be holding events with crime authors, so if you're near a Waterstones branch then check with them to see if they're hosting any events.

A few of the branches involved: Liverpool, Brighton, Plymouth Drake Circus, Edinburgh West End, and Romford.

Apparently, Ian Rankin will be on a Twitter Q&A.

The virtual events will be taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and on the Killer reads blog. You can find their blog by going to this page.

On Twitter follow @HarperCollinsUK, and most Waterstones branches have their own twitter accounts so you should be able to find your local branch.

But for full details of all events you need to sign up via eventbrite, and as everything starts Friday, sign up as soon as you can so you can plan your time.

If it is anything like the romance festival was, you'll be torn between events, wanting to do everything, but having to make decisions on which you choose- or madly keyboard hopping between Facebook and Twitter!

Look out for the festival hashtag: #KILLERFEST15

Enjoy the experience...

Thursday 5 March 2015

Pinterest at Last...

Hope everyone is well.

It's been taking me longer than usual to get over this latest bug, and actually I think it was a slight bout of flu - considering how worn-out it's left me.

Having lost a couple of weeks writing time I now need to catch up, so I'm going to have to be very strict with getting back to the work in progress.

The end of last week wasn't totally wasted though, as I finally got around to doing something with Pinterest.

I'd actually signed up toward the end of last year, but hadn't had time to actually learn how to do anything. Once I understood the mechanics of it, it isn't that difficult.

(Though there's a lot I haven't yet explored.)

I've created a few boards, begun to follow boards, and other writers I know. Pop over to look at my boards if you are interested.

If you've not looked into Pinterest before, I'd describe it as an online scrapbook, but you aren't restricted to just looking at your own version...

My creative mind does work better with visual stimuli, but of course if I saved every link that triggered something it would be pages and pages long. :D

So now I can assign it to one of my boards- or create a new one.

You can even put together a private board that only you can see, or allow certain people to see it too.

My favourite is my Costume board. There are so many sources of costume and accessories around, so I'm probably adding to that every day because I see something in passing. I haven't just limited it to 18th or 19th century items, but included early 20th century pieces too.

No doubt I will eventually discover why I felt the need to make a board about chocolate; types of, the history of and pictures of chocolate in lots of forms. :D

A couple of weeks ago, on her blog, Rosemary Gemmell was talking about how she uses Pinterest, and how her works in progress benefit from its use. Read her recent post over on her Reading and Writing blog.

Pinterest seems to have developed quite a bit since it first started, and it now has a useful place in social media.

If you're on Pinterest do let me know, and I'd enjoy hearing what you like about it...