Fresh back from my Cornerstones Writing course last week, I managed to get myself up early on Saturday to attend the one-day 'Getting Published' seminar in London, run by Writers Workshop and the writer Harry Bingham. It was a fascinating insight (again!) into what agents and publishers are looking out for. And we had a session with a book doctor.
Mine was Jeremy Sheldon, author and lecturer, and he was very helpful with pointers about building the turning points in my plot to more of a climax, and other fab tips.
He used a few rom-com examples – many were my favourite films, so I was very impressed with his knowledge! As he put it, he’s the only ‘non-gay guy’ who’s seen more chick-flicks than the average woman!
He liked the ‘cute-meet’ in my chapter one – that’s basically where the hero meets the heroine. Mine’s a case of mistaken identity and one night of passion on a super-yacht in Monaco (ok I live in a dream world!!).
Plus I was chuffed when he told me he liked my ‘voice’ – that’s your writing style – as it’s ideal for the genre I’m writing for. So I was happy-bunny-flinty when I sat down for the afternoon sessions, which were enlightening, to say the least.
For instance, one session illustrated that whilst one publisher (Hodder) is definitely NOT looking for children’s historical fiction, the publisher sitting right next to her (Piatkus) told us that one area she would like to receive good submissions for right now is adult historical! Excluding Tudor, since Philippa Gregory has pretty much got that era covered!. Plus, she wanted to see supernatural, but absolutely no sci-fi.
It's about quality, not quantity…
Agents, authors and publishers alike all rammed home the message about how much rubbish they get each year, and how few new novelists are taken on. (Like…. a couple a year out of thousands!)
So the more we read up about how best to achieve the impossible, the better informed we are, and the more likely we are to achieve our goal of being published. With a bit of luck we may become the next Dan Brown or Sophie Kinsella or Jilly Cooper! Ahem! Yes few manage it, but hearing about the success stories is inspiring none the less.
Here are a few words of wisdom from Harry Bingham…
And what does the future hold for the world of publishing?
Much is being made of e-books. Even in these credit crunch times, they say that certainly in romance and erotica (for obvious ‘reading it on the train’ reasons), book sales are increasing, mainly due to e-books. Being able to read digital versions of your favourite classics, or the latest blockbuster is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some it’s absolutely the way to go. There were lots of mentions of the Kindle, so I went off to research it.
The relatively new e-book reader is called the Kindle. I just found out all about it by watching a brilliant QVC-style review by a guy called “M.Carr Softdog”, about how it works.
It can connect directly to the internet and download books to read immediately on your Kindle! Hence the rise in popularity – no waiting time, perfect for our ever-demanding 'I want it now’' society! It will change forever the way publishing works. But how? And when?
At the seminar the jury was out about exactly how. Will there even BE publishers and agents in the ten years’ time? Or will everyone be selling their own work? Ironically whilst writing this blog, I then came across an interesting article about one such aspect of e-books. This new method of accessing our favourite novelists might indeed change the face of publishing forever. And maybe sooner than we think.
On a site called bubblecow.co.uk, there’s a whole feature on self-publishing – on the Kindle! You upload your own story, no cost; people pay to download; you get paid. Talk about cutting out the middle man!
I’m not sure the experts at Saturday’s seminar will be pleased to read about this method already being available, but it sure as heck opens up a whole new world for those who already have a captive audience wanting to read their work and don’t mind not seeing their books on bookshelves. Or in the remainder baskets!
I must say though, there’s something quite magical about books. The actual books. Long may they reign!! What do you prefer? Have you tried e-books? What do you think?
Hope all this info has been of interest. I don’t know, history geek one week, writing geek the next! Normal service will be resumed soon – including a puppy update!
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for a competition coming next week.