Monday 11 September 2017

Would You Use a Book Doula?

We're probably familiar with the word 'doula' being associated with pregnancy and birth, but until I read this Guardian article (courtesy of a writer in a Facebook group I belong to- thank you PR) 'Book doulas: the new way to push your writing into the world', I'd not heard of it in connection with books...

My first reaction was good grief!

It sounds a great idea, having that support and one to one contact, but there is a cost involved and you'd still need to research the person to assess their experience to take on the role- and how do you decide whether they're good enough?

We know the writing world has changed so much in the past 10 years.

Self-publishing has lost most of the taint of vanity publishing, and serious writers going this route know they need to write the best story they can, produce a good manuscript and get an editor who knows what they're doing- and can prove it; along with a book cover designer-among the numerous items to tick off the self-publisher's list.

Numerous services for writers have emerged, and only the individual writer can decide what they think they might benefit from.

But consider the following first (and I'm referring to the UK here):

We already have: mentoring, critique groups, regional writing organisations (offering lots of choices for developing your writing skills and bringing your book to life), genre specific organisations (with conferences, local groups and numerous opportunities to network, even take part in agent 1 to 1's etc), podcasts, book festivals...

reading together...
Even mainstream publishers have got involved: The Faber Academy, and Penguin Random House with The Writers Academy are just the two that come to mind.

Then there's universities offering creative writing courses, and degrees.

Writing Magazine has been running their writing courses for many years.

Yes, even writers' groups and clubs; choose wisely and you'll find published writers who belong to them and will pass on advice, encouragement and help writers develop. Often, those writers were gifted with the generosity of their peers when they were first experiencing those qualms.

You can learn from any of these, with support and advice to develop the skills and resilience you need to produce that book, or other writing.

Of course there's a cost to all these things too, but you can mix and match as your needs - change.

Doulas may find their way into the vast world of writing services and opportunities, but when there's already so much available, are they really needed?

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

Monday 4 September 2017

Friday Night at a Book Launch...

After weeks of hard non-writing work, it was lovely to go out to a local literary event, a book launch.

In Nottingham the Waterstones branch is in a tall building, and only a short walk from two tram stops and lots of bus routes, and with easy access to the railway station (for those travelling from further afield).

The Alan Sillitoe room is on the top floor of the building, and it's a popular venue for literary events, book signings/book launches, author events, workshops and more.

On Friday night it was the Nottingham launch party for the paperback of Cathy Bramley's The Lemon Tree Cafe.
The Lemon Tree Caf (Paperback)
out in

The launch was a mixture of invited guests, and other readers who had a ticket to attend. I was there with a few of the Belmont Belles.

A small glass of wine always goes well when you arrive...

Cathy was delightful, and her great sense of humour came over in her introduction.

She read an extract from the book, a scene between Rosie and her Nonna- her Italian grandmother who owns The Lemon Tree Cafe in "the rolling hills of Derbyshire". There were certainly moments of laughter and big smiles all
round during the reading.

Afterwards there was a long queue for the book signing, it nearly reached the back of the room.

Lemon cupcakes...

It's good to be able to celebrate with friends and fellow authors, especially when it's a local venue.

And the cupcake was delicious too...