Showing posts with label Waterstones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Waterstones. Show all posts

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Sorting the Office Out...

You may have noticed I've been absent for a while. Well we're having a massive sort out at home.

Lots of things are going into boxes and into storage so we can create as much space as possible for the Electrician/Plumber to do the work needed.

This week it's the Living Room and Office.

It has given the opportunity to shift furniture around to improve the space we have.

Of course it's meant no writing is getting done- not what I'd planned for the summer- but it has given me the opportunity to catch up on my to be read list that was building up.

I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's 'The Road to Little Dribbling'. I picked up the paperback in Waterstones a few months ago, and friends have said how much they enjoyed his books, so I thought I'd try one.

I'm enjoying it so far, and I do like his writing style/voice.

Yesterday, keeping out of the way while the new storage unit was being put together in the kitchen, I read Stephanie Laurens 'An Irresistible Alliance' on Kindle. This was much better than the first of the three Devil's Brood Trilogy, and I'm looking forward to having time to read book 3, 'The Greatest Challenge of Them All'.

And a few days before that I read the first two books of Debbie Young's Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries ( Best Murder in Show, and Trick or Murder?). This is cosy crime with murder but no graphic detail. It as much about Sophie, bookshop owner Hector and the assorted villagers as the murder involved. Fun to read books most definitely.

That's my time up, back to sorting and packing...

sorting & boxing...

Sunday 24 April 2016

Workshop- Writing Historical Fiction...

Saturday- St George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday I spent indoors at a workshop- except for a brief foray outside for food and to admire St. George, and his two fellow knights on horseback outside the Council House, as I passed by.

Author Judith Allnatt was running a writing historical fiction workshop, held in the events room at the Nottingham branch of Waterstones. The events room actually has a name- the Alan Sillitoe Room.

(It's on the top floor and is large enough for a book launch/ talk if you ever have need of one.)

There was also a good supply of tea and coffee to keep us alert...

I must admit that I always find workshops a little scary, as well as worthwhile.

Ready to workshop...
Scary because I worry I'll freeze when it comes to writing exercises, but thankfully I didn't have too much problem. And there were times when a few of us attending found a particular item problematic, but that was okay.

The warm-up bit was fun as we were able to choose from a selection of postcards of shoes (from assorted time periods) and used that as a starting point for creating a character. It was ideal for me as so often visuals connect with the room of waiting characters in my sub-conscious. The pair of shoes I chose were from 1912.

There was one exercise I will definitely use again. My new character, how do they sleep, what is around them in their bedroom or room they sleep in? My character didn't have a first name at this point, but I was soon realising her circumstances were dire.

When you think about it, the place where you sleep is very telling, as are the objects around you, their neatness or an incongruous item or two.

I'd never thought about it that way before, but I will now.

By the time we reached the senses, I knew my character's name, and a better idea of the time setting- late Victorian rather than early 20th century.

(This was when a missing scene from my work in progress popped up and resolved one of my niggle points.)

Judith read an extract from her third and lately released in paperback, The Silk Factory, to provide an example of how the senses could be used.

We looked at published extracts and how they convey information without it being obvious, even if you don't know what event it may refer to- such as a national/world event.

As the workshop drew to a close Timelines were mentioned,  and between us we compiled a long list of research resources. There were a few I will be looking into, especially

With time running out there was a Q&A to finish.

Everyone seemed to leave inspired to continue writing their historical novels.

Personally, it was enjoyable, I learnt more, but it also reassured me that I'm doing the right things for the historical side of my romances.

Have you been to any workshops this year?

image courtesy of noppasinw &

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Bonus Material in Bookshop Books- Will it Get You to Buy?

I was interested to read an article in The Telegraph online today, about bookseller Waterstones offering exclusive extra material in books, and according to The Independent online, they have signed exclusive deals with some authors for a version of their latest book with extras, which can only be obtained by buying from Waterstones (or other bookshops that authors may have contracted to)...

Which authors you ask?

"Anyone who buys the new Joanne Harris paperback Peaches for Monsieur le Curé from Waterstones will find it contains an extra chapter not included in copies sold elsewhere."

The hook in this case is that "The chapter, which Harris says can be read either as an epilogue or as “the prologue to an as-yet-unwritten story”"

(Both quotes from The Independent article.)

They mention other recent exclusives from Claire Tomlin, author of the biography published last year about Charles Dickens; and Alexander McCall Smith who included and extra short story in a booklet with his last book.

Now forgive me for cynicism, but the mainstream publisher/author has a big advantage with a bookshop- they can get their books distributed to all the branches, and are guaranteed to be stocked, and Waterstones would probably let themselves be walked over if the writer was able to go instore and do book signings.

E-book buying is increasing, and the book shops are coming up with these ideas because so many are buying their books digitally.

Why go to a book shop looking for a particular book only to find: they don't stock it; they will have to order it and it will take a week, or even more- so that would be another trip; when with a few clicks of a mouse, or press of buttons/symbols, that book can be on your e-reader and ready to start reading within a few minutes..It's the one big advantage that e-books have over a bookshop.

So what can self-published / e-book authors do to compete? In fact, do they need to compete?

It is as easy for them to include an extra short story, or the first chapter of their next book too.

If Waterstones want to make it more attractive to buy a solid book from them, then they'll need to do a lot better...

So, what do you think about extras to attract book buyers? And what extras would tempt you?

Monday 31 December 2012

Not Got an E-Reader Yet?

Yes, I'm back...

E-readers seem to have been a popular Christmas present again this year, but I think Christmas 2012 will have seen the biggest choice of devices available.

In the UK the choice has previously been Kindle or Sony- despite Sony readers having been available first, they couldn't compete with the Kindle once it became available to UK readers.

(You may even have taken to reading your e-books on your smart phone...)

But this year there's been an explosion of devices available from new e-readers to tablets.

Publishers have finally got their act together this year too.
You can buy e-books direct from many publisher now- the big mainstream publishers will likely cost more than you'd pay at Amazon, but buying direct from a small independent publisher is a great way of discovering new writers and supporting these important organisations too.

Tablet devices were selling well before Christmas, as they offered the practicality of reading books and being able to access the Internet (though you are paying a higher price).

In October I bought my kobo glo and I'm really happy with it. (It has much better battery life than the first generation Sony e-reader I had.) With the adjustable font and text size, along with the front light, it's great for reading in the car as daylight fades- I couldn't do that with my previous reader.

How do you choose the right e-reader for you if you're finally venturing into e-books? The answer is as usual, research.

Don't be put off by the variety of technology discussed on the TechRadar website, it has some interesting reviews on Tablet devices and e-readers, so type in the name of the device you're interested in finding out about in the search box and go from there.

There are lots of online reviews available, so compare views.

You can try out Kindles in Waterstones book stores, and Kobos in WH Smith's. In fact wherever e-readers (of whatever make) are sold instore you'll find them on display to try out. (Talking the UK here.)

This Christmas (over 3 days) I read 2.25 novels, and at least 10 previews of books I was interested in. It was lovely to spend Boxing Day curled up on the sofa reading - and my books didn't get bent or creased by something resting on top of them in my bag...

I do still buy paper books- just ask my family - but you can't beat e-books and readers for space saving. :-)

Happy New Year...

Friday 10 August 2012

More Waterstones, 'Dear Agent' and an Agatha Cristie Moment...

You may remember that's my post last weekend mentioned that book seller Waterstones were changing their store guidance on events in response to complaints, and also 'handselling' authors.
If you missed the item you can read it here.

Well today the Bookseller website has an article saying that the Society of Authors (SoA) and Waterstones are "engaged in dialogue" about creating a list of guidelines.

(Sadly the article is only available to subscribers (with a subscription cost of £186) so we'll have to wait for public release of information at some point in the future, either by Waterstones or the Society of Authors.)

Unfortunately I'm not yet within the eligibility criteria for even Associate Membership of SoA, but it's an organisation worth joining if you're eligible...

*   *   *

If you've bought and read any of Nicola Morgan's books, or e-books ('Write to be Published'; 'Tweet Right'; and 'Write A Great Synopsis') then you'll know her books are invaluable for the serious writer- and worth every penny.

Well today (Friday) is the publication day of her latest e-book, 'Dear Agent'. For this weekend it is only 77p on, so a great opportunity to get a helpful advice in clear language that we can all understand and act upon.

It's also available on here.

Agents better watch out, because they're going to be receiving some sharp submissions as a result of this e-book.

I've only had enough time for a brief scan, but I'm looking forward to having some quiet to read it and absorb the advice.

*   *   *

E L James may be selling million of her 50 Shades trilogy, but she can't compete with the Queen of crime fiction, Agatha Cristie- she's apparently sold 4 billion books, and not only is it in Braille but in 50 different languages...

"Westminster council this week granted planning permission for a statue, designed by sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies, to be erected. It will be placed in the heart of Covent Garden, between Great Newport Street and Cranbourn Street. The location, in the middle of London's theatreland, was chosen to represent Christie's contribution to the stage." (The Guardian Books)

Good to hear of a statue being put up to celebrate a writer, rather than some strange obelisk of modern sculpture.

Have a good weekend.

Friday 3 August 2012

Waterstones, Pocket Novels and Other News...

It's been a strange week, with the Olympics almost taking over the news, but don't worry writing news hasn't been forgotten.

So here's a round up of what's been happening.

There's been the sad news about the passing of two well known writers: Maeve Binchy and Gore Vidal. While I have to admit to never having read either author, I remember snippets of one of Maeve Binchy's stories on the radio, her words conjuring up the Dublin of her youth and the attitudes of society.

*    *    *
The My Weekly Pocket Novels are undergoing another change. Anyone buying copies recently will have noticed the more modern covers which are certainly more appealing to a potential reader.

This week Womag and Sally Quilford have been sent the new information on the major changes taking place.

Basically there's a name change to Easy Read, with 2 Romance genres: Caress and Liaison; and 2 Crime genres labelled Intrigue and Suspense.

You can read the explanations for each category over at Sally's blog- just download the flyer at the link on the page.

If you're unsure about some of the requirements Sally has a follow up post here, Maggie Seed has clarified a few aspects of the changes.

Like every magazine editor there comes a point when you have to modernise to reach a younger market but hopefully not change too much and lose your regular buyers.

They seem to be going for a Mills and Boon effect cover with elements of 50 Shades starkness. But I like the covers shown on the flyer, so it will be interesting to see w they look on the shelf.

(Meanwhile People's Friend isn't changing- see here.)

*    *    *
For those who have books to promote and have been fortunate enough to arrange book signings in Waterstones stores, you might like to follow this Bookseller report up.

"Waterstones has issued new advice to its bookstores on running author events, after concern that customers were being put off by writers handselling their own books, and that signings were lasting too long. One author was told that going forward author events should last no longer than 90 minutes, and be staffed by booksellers." (the

Now I'd assume individual store managers will decide what happens, but one blogger reports cancellations of book signings already (link within the Bookseller article).

There's not enough staff in stores now, so I can't see branches wanting to provide an assistant for authors selling their books.

Authors with first books to promote don't naturally know best practise, or signing protocol. So perhaps Waterstones would be better having a standard sheet of what they do and don't expect of authors doing signings.

Waterstones need book buyers to keep them on the high street, that's a fact of life.

Yes, Waterstones is a business so it's understandable that they have concerns, and want people to buy books from them.

But you have to give people a reason to step inside the bookshop in the first place, and author signings do that.

If a 'handselling' author has promoted their book signing well then people may just go along, and once they're in the bookstore you might just find them buying other books from the shelves and display tables, or even deciding to come back again later.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Friday 13 January 2012

Non-Fiction, Apostrophes and Sad News...

It's been a while since I did a round up of interesting items I've come across while scanning the literary news, so here are a few links for this weekend...

I came across a short piece on the Bookseller website about the 'stand-out' books commissioning editors are looking for this year.
The Andrew Lownie literary agency have the views of twenty editors on what they are hoping for this year in non-fiction.
* * *
Apostrophes- especially when they're missing or in the wrong place completely.

Well there's been mixed views on bookseller Waterstone's intention to drop the apostrophe in their name. Managing Director James Daunt said that it was "a more versatile and practical spelling" for the digital age of e-mails and URLs.

You can test your skills with apostrophes at the start of  Philip Hensher's article 'Leave the apostrophe alone – it makes sense' in the Telegraph online. Admittedly now that Waterstones is no longer owned and run by its founder Tim Waterstone, the remaining bookstores are technically Waterstones...

And after all the comments about them changing the big W to a small w in 2010...Well they're going back to the big W.
* * *
Sadly, the death has been announced of crime writer Reginald Hill. His Dalziel and Pascoe characters were brought to the screen by actors Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan.

Though I haven't read any of his books (crime fiction not being my preference) I tried not to miss Dalziel and Pascoe when it was on the BBC.

What was probably unknown by many (including me) was that he wrote other work using a number of pseudonyms.

Monday 19 September 2011

Would You Pay More For the Same Book in a Different Waterstones Branch?

It's been some time since I mentioned high street bookseller Waterstones. It has been featuring a lot in the bookselling press since it was sold to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut’s A&NN Group.

James Daunt, owner of independent bookseller's 'Daunt' was put in charge as managing director of Waterstones and since his arrival changes have been announced, and decision made that will effect the staff, book buyers and authors.

We're all realistic enough to accept that when there's a new boss in charge there will be changes; we might not like those changes but sometimes change is for the good. Bookselling is no different from any other type of retailer, you need footfall and resulting sales...

Since early September, Waterstones has been announcing this and that change; staff contracts changing, getting rid of 3 for 2 promotions, and closing a few branches. They even want to launch their own e-reader.

But among the ideas is increasing the percentage of discount they get from publishers- which means that the author will get less royalties if the discount percentage is raised. Makes me wonder if new authors' whose books get into Waterstones will get much in royalties from their sales...

Then last week 'differential pricing' raised its head. Example: a book by popular author X could be sold cheaper/dearer in Luton than the price asked in Bath, but both are being sold by the same retailer.

Now I can understand the reasoning that because of demographics you might sell a book better in one area that's more prosperous, than elsewhere in the country where that book will sell few copies.
(So stock less in the poor selling branches.)

But is that demographic issue a good enough reason to charge differently?

Personally I would be extremely annoyed (to put it mildly) if I went to buy a book in my local branch in Nottingham and then found out it was cheaper in their Manchester store.

You might ask how would you know? Well I'm quite sure it would be easy enough to check with a friend using social media or on a forum; and I wouldn't think it would be long before there was an online price comparison site.

At the moment it is only an idea, but I'm wondering what the next improvement idea will be...

Later this week I will be going into my local Waterstones so it will be interesting to see if there have been any further changes.
When I last visited the comfy chairs had returned (hurray- my back thanks you Waterstones) and areas were less crowded by tables and mobile book stands than earlier in the year.

So over to you, would you be happy with differential pricing?

Friday 2 September 2011

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Finally I've got some time to post.

It isn't just me that has been having one of those days- when things just don't go as you planned.

A few days ago The Bookseller announced that the expected result of whether the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) will refer the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository to the Competition Commission  was being delayed until Friday 2nd September, rather than the end of August as expected.

Then on Thursday further delays were announced. No reason has been given and the list of merger cases on the OFT's website just shows the date as to be confirmed (TBC). They generally state that
" the timetable of a given case may change during the merger assessment process due to different reasons."

The merger attracted widespread opposition from many writing and publishing related organisations. I'm sure many individuals would have voiced their concerns too.

* * *

Meanwhile high street bookseller Waterstones (now under new ownership) announced that they will no longer be running their 3 for 2 promotions.

Seems a lot of people, me included, only ever found two books they wanted. I found that less of a problem with the 3 for 2 in children's books.

The scheme that will replace it sounds interesting, but whether it is good for all writers or just some, time will tell...

* * *

I've spent today looking at washing machines. Our current one finally packed up yesterday and it did it with my swimming costume and a number of large towels inside.

My dear other half rescued my costume and hung it up so it would be ready for my aqua class, but there are now a lot of very wet towels to dry, and my new machine will not be delivered until next week...

Sadly the tribulations didn't stop there. I'd just got on the bus (to go to my aqua class) when the traffic ahead slowed to a halt. A flat-bed wagon loaded with large bales of hay had stopped just off the roundabout and partially blocked the slip road my bus had to use.

The bus was going nowhere- too wide for the remaining gap- and as I wasn't going to get to my class in time I got off and went home- that was when I saw the bales on the path and others hanging off the wagon...

The wagon is gone but the escaped hay is now in a big heap, on the top of the banking which runs along the edge of the road, waiting to be retrieved. (If it's still there tomorrow I'll take a photo.)

So at least it wasn't just me having one of those days...