Friday, 29 January 2010

Christian authors can find publishers through web site

A new avenue for aspiring Christian authors has opened up with the possibility of getting a publisher through a new Christian version of, the Web site that allows readers and publishing professionals to view unpublished manuscripts.

Zondervan and Baker Publishing Group said they would urge authors who sent them unsolicited manuscripts to post them at

Launched by HarperCollins UK in 2008, allows readers to support the work they like best. Zondervan and Baker said they would track the most popular manuscripts and provide feedback to the authors; the site is also open to other publishing houses and to agents.

Christian Publishers Back Online Slush Pile:

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Digital Book World: Piracy, Avid Readers and New Business Models

Digital Book World: Piracy, Avid Readers and New Business Models: "Macmillan president Brian Napack’s call for publishers to fight digital book piracy with a coordinated program of lawsuits, takedown pressure and anti-piracy legislation seemed to energize the crowd and generate buzz (and a barrage of response on Twitter) both pro and con at yesterday's opening sessions of Digital Book World."

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Largest number of books published since records began

An article in The Bookseller on line reports that last year saw the largest number of titles published since records began 15 years ago. The figures are compiled by Nielsen and show that more than 133,000 titles were published during 2009 - an increase of 3.2% on the previous 12 months - hitting the highest output for a single year ever.

Nielsen said: "The increases can be accounted for in part by growth in print-on-demand (POD) and digital product, which we expect to continue to increase in the future."

While this is excellent news for book lovers and authors, it also highlights the importance for authors (and publishers) of effective and consistent marketing to make certain titles stand out in an increasingly crowded market place.

To read the full article click on the link below.

UK publishes more books than ever in 2009:

Monday, 25 January 2010

Authors and publishers will still need marketing no matter the reading device

Amidst all the furore over e books, and with the announcement from Apple pending this Wednesday on its new tablet device, the Espresso Book Machine that allows the printing of a physical book while-you-wait has almost been forgotten, except for an article in the Independent on 18 January that announced a new partnership with Xerox. 

"The Espresso Book Machine, launched in 2009, offers a print-side answer to some of e-books' many advantages. Through a new partnership with Xerox that improves both the technology and its distribution possibilities, it may soon be clear whether or not the concept takes off."

The EBM presents an intriguing alternative to e-reading for those who prefer a physical book. From the reader's prospective, it grants quick access to a wide range of titles. On the author's side, the EBM - and technology like it - could offer competition in the growing area of self-publishing, a field where digital technology is increasingly replacing print-on-demand solutions."

No more expensive stock, storage or distribution problems - sound familiar?  It should, it's what they're saying about the e reader, and print on demand (POD). Then there is Amazon's offer to sell  the digital version of your book by-passing the publisher altogether and giving authors 70% royalties.

There are interesting times ahead for writers, publishers and all involved in the book trade.  And although this may be encouraging news for those who wish to self-publish there is one aspect in all of this that can't be replaced by a machine and that is marketing.

With hundreds of thousands of books already available and a possible explosion of material in the years ahead, the challenge for the author (and publisher) will be how to make the book/s stand out from the crowd and generate sales. It's all very well being published but if people don't know about you, or are not made aware of your work then it won't sell.

When it comes down to it I would rather have a publisher paying a lower royalty but with a full commitment to publishing and marketing my books worldwide, including actively selling rights.  This means an allocated marketing budget and plan, and full involvement and consultation with me.  This would be renewable on an agreed term.  This way at least I would be sure of exposure and therefore sales and an active partnership.  Perhaps the argument therefore should not be over royalties but an agreed level of marketing activity. And perhaps the time has come for a new type of contract and partnership between author and publisher. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Apple's tablet and e books

This is an interesting article for anyone interested in e books, and their future potential, which should be all writers. Click on the link below to read the full article.

Can Apple's tablet do it again?:

"Apple's latest product is the eagerly awaited 'tablet' electronic reader. But no one knows exactly what it will do, nor whether it can duplicate the runaway success of the earlier iPod or iPhone. So what might we expect?

"What is known is that HarperCollins and other publishers have already been negotiating with Apple to make their ­e-books, magazines and news­papers immediately available on the new device."

"'With big names like HarperCollins and Time magazine weighing in, the Apple iTablet is going to change digital publishing in a way Amazon's Kindle hasn't yet done,' says Peter Moore, ­director of specialist publishers PSP Rare. 'With a touch-enabled colour screen and a similar size format to ­current magazines, the experience should be almost physical – with the added ­benefit of live content and links through to websites.'

Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury Publishing, is eager to meet this new entrant in the e-reader market. 'The fact that Apple is coming in is terrific. E-books are already ­happening with the Kindle – we have been pleasantly surprised by the ­volume of e-book sales – but this will accelerate it.'

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The York Festival of Writing 2010

Cornerstones Literary Consultancy has joined forces with The Writers' Workshop to help spread the word about The York Festival of Writing 2010, 9 - 11 April 2010 .

The York Festival of Writing 2010 provides an excellent opportunity for writers to gain industry perspectives from a host of literary consultants, editors and agents as well as take part in courses and workshops taught by bestselling authors including a mini course on, 'How To Get Published' (Friday 9th April), run by Harry Bingham, Helen Corner and David Smith (Annette Green Literary Agency).

Writers can sign up to a "One-to-One" session where they will be able to pitch their book directly to an agent or editor to get professional feedback and can join in the fun with Authonomy Live (hosted by HarperCollins) and Saturday night's Literary Death Match (or just watch!).

The Festival is being held on campus at York University, 9 - 11 April 2010  For more information visit

Cornerstones Literary Consultancy are scouts for leading Literary Agents.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Waterstone's: the last left standing

Waterstone's is the last major chain bookshop we have on the high street in the UK and a lot has been said about it in the media lately with the departure of its MD, Gerry Johnson after poor trading results over Christmas.

The talk is now about whether or not Waterstone's will survive. Many publishers and authors, not to mention the staff sincerely hope so, but do the customers and potential customers? 

High street bookselling in this country has declined so rapidly that it seems in danger of disappearing. Small independent bookshops have struggled to survive.  Many have not done so, while Internet bookselling is thriving, which is indeed good news for authors. 

Waterstone's policy of looking backwards and following what sold well last year and only taking established authors and those whose publishers will pay for space, guarantees the same old thing: low results, stagnation and ultimately failure. If they are to survive it's time for re-thinking their marketing, buying and stock holding policies, for doing something drastic to tempt customers back and entice new ones into their shops. I hope their new MD and management team have the flair, imagination, courage and support to do this.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Judging Best Young Crime Writers with Talent

I’m pleased to announce that I am involved in an exciting new initiative from the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) of Great Britain, which represents the interests of published crime writers and library authorities nationwide.
I am one of the judges for the South Coast of England to find the South’s best young crime writer in the inaugural National Young Crime Writers’ Competition who will go forward for a national prize to be announced during National Crime Fiction Week, which starts on June 14.

The competition is aimed at writers aged up to 18 (born on or after September 1, 1991). Stories need to be submitted via the participating libraries across the UK between January 18 and February 19 and the word limit is 1,000.

Participating libraries for my area in the south of England, are all those in Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, and the larger branches in West Sussex, which includes: Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Littlehampton, Shoreham, Storrington and Worthing.

In this picture I am with Allison Kirby of Southampton Library.

Other libraries across the UK are participating in this exciting new initiative so if you are reading this and are under 18, or have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews who like to write then check out the library in your area or contact the Crime Writers' Association for a list of participating libraries.

Shortlisted entries for the south will be judged by me and each shortlisted entrant will receive a certificate while the area winner will be awarded a certificate and a £10 book token and will go forward for the national prize. The national winner will receive an engraved pen, a selection of signed books, and a weekend pass for the winner and one accompanying adult, including one night’s accommodation, and tickets to the Gala Dinner at Crimefest 2011 (19-22 May 2011) an annual convention which draws top crime novelists from around the world. I am at CrimeFest in 2010 and hope also to be one of the speakers in 2011.

As a child I was inspired by the likes of Enid Blyton to write my first novel when I was 11. I’ve no idea where it went to. My mother probably threw it out in one of her tidying fits! This is a great opportunity for all those young people who enjoy crime novels and stories to put pen to paper and have a go at creating their own murder mystery. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the library service because it was at my local library as a child where I first discovered the joy of reading so I am particularly delighted to be working on this exciting project with the library service.

Entry forms are available throughout the participating libraries. Good luck!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Book Sales Figures Boost for Christmas But Down On Year Ago

According to data from Nielsen BookScan, sales of books across the four weeks to 26th December period totalled £271.7m, up 67% on the previous four-week period but down 1.1% year on year.

The latest Nielsen book sales figures will be released later today. The British Retail Consortium said of book performance in December: "Book sales remained down on a year ago, amid strong competition, aggressive discounts for top titles and increasing popularity of e-books and e-readers."

Monday, 11 January 2010

New magazine for self-publishing industry

Freelance journalist David Howell has launched a new magazine focusing on the self-publishing industry.

Publish Now! will feature practical advice and guides for individuals considering publishing their own books, magazines and websites, as well as looking at the tools and technology driving the rise in self-publishing.

You can read more about this new magazine by clicking on the link below. :: Freelancer David Howell launches new magazine for publishing industry

Priced at £7.99 the magazine will be available from all branches of WH Smith and via mail order. If the new title performs well, Howell will publish two further editions in 2010.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Literary Agents profits take a tumble

This is an interesting and illuminating article for authors who would like to understand a little more about the finances of literary agents. The article, which appears in The Bookseller, examines the profits or rather losses of some of the big literary agents.

"Literary agents have seen their profits tumble, with the recession, dwindling advances and publishers' focus on celebrity cited as contributing factors. The split at PFD, which led to the creation of United Agents (UA), also hampered the performance of the two agencies involved, while an expansion in staffing costs affected both Curtis Brown and Aitken Alexander.The Bookseller looked at the accounts of six literary agencies, with only one, AP Watt, returning a profit in the latest financial year.The largest loss was incurred by UA, which in its start-up year to end-2008 made a loss of £2m on sales of £6m."

Click on the link below to read the article in full.

Agents look for turning point as profits take a tumble: "Literary agents have seen their profits..."

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Publishing Laid Bare Conference

A Publishing Laid Bare conference is to take place in Russell Square, London on 24th June 2010. The conference will be tailored to the requirements of the attendees, who are being actively invited to submit questions prior to the event.

Provisional speakers for this year include Profile M. D. Andrew Franklin, Alexandra Heminsley of Sky and BBC Radio 2, former books editor of the Telegraph Sam Leith and The Bookseller's Tom Tivnan. Steve Potter of The Book Depository and blogger and The Friday Project director Scott Pack - both of whom spoke last year - are due to return for 2010.

The conference is designed to offer ‘straight-talking’ advice and useful information from leading industry experts, while mapping out where the future of the book industry may lie.

The conference costs £125 (+VAT), with a current early bird rate of £95 (+VAT). For more information email

Monday, 4 January 2010

Rewriting is a vital part of the writing process

Reproduced from my author blog

Rewriting comes in many guises and brings with it both pain and pleasure. For me it all depends on when I am rewriting. If I have to rewrite on the editor's request then it is a pain, because, by then, I am already well into the next novel. If it is during the revision stages of a novel (before it has been sent to my editor) then it is often a pleasure with one BIG exception, and that is when I am struggling with the ending. Here I want to make the novel as exciting as possible and, it being a crime novel, I want to surprise the reader, and myself, which sounds a bit loony but although I often think I know who the villain/killer is, it sometimes turns out to be someone completely different. And that means a rewrite. Once I've cracked the ending though there is a certain pleasure in going back over the novel taking it apart, questioning each word and passage, exploring, and generally testing my prose until I feel it is the best I can possibly do, and even then I always feel I could do better!

I ask myself as I am rewriting if there are sections that I want to skip over, are there enough peaks in the novel and places where the reader can pause to catch his or her breath? Does each chapter finish on a hook compelling the reader to read a little bit more... and more...?

Is there a section that I am fond of but really adds nothing to the pace and body of the novel? If so then it has to go, no matter how painful. I simply dump it into another word file on the computer. Have all the loose ends been neatly tied up? Is the story told in the right voice?

I first wrote In Cold Daylight in the third person singular through the eyes of my reluctant hero, Adam Greene, but when I reached the end of the first draft I knew it wasn't right. So I decided to change it to the first person, but still through Adam's eyes, and that made it a much more gripping novel. It's fun sometimes to play around with different voices, chapters or sections and this is where writing on a computer with the cut and paste facility is such a boom.

There are many courses that aim to teach you how to write, or how to write better, and they have their advantages, but nothing beats actually doing it and then experimenting: taking it apart, exploring different styles of writing, trying out different words and different characters. This gives you an understanding of how you use words on the page. It is painful, but if you enjoy writing (and let's face it why else would you be doing it unless you enjoy it) then it is also a pleasure.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing all authors, booksellers, publishers and everyone connected with the book trade a peaceful, prosperous and productive 2010.