Monday, 31 January 2011

Constructing a strong central character - DI Andy Horton in the Marine Mystery Crime Series

"One of the essentials for a good novel is a strong central character, someone the reader can have empathy with, urge on, sometimes get angry and frustrated with and someone the reader can get close to and believe in. I was recently asked to provide some tips for creating a strong central character for the web site Write On and thought about my own central character in my marine mysteries, Inspector Andy Horton, and the protagonists in my two thrillers: Adam Greene in In Cold Daylight and Alex Albury in In For The Kill.

I like heroes so I guess they have to be that, but heroes have flaws too, and can sometimes be reluctant heroes, they are human after all, and so too are my lead characters, to me anyway. Below is the background to my central character in the marine mysteries, Andy Horton. In two blogs this week I'll look at what shapes Adam Greene in In Cold Daylight and Alex Albury in In For The Kill.

Main characters need to take control. They should not give in under pressure and should take an active part in solving their own problems. They can have faults but they change and grow throughout the novel. They make mistakes and learn from it. They have a cardinal quality and a trait/s that holds them back.

DI Andy Horton, the main character in my marine mystery crime series, is fearless in his search for justice but he's not one for conforming which means he runs the risk of being isolated in the police force, or worse losing his job. Being alone is his greatest fear, and yet he is alone. In Tide of Death, the first in the series his marriage has broken up, he's living on his small sailing boat in Southsea Marina, and in this and subsequent novels he's in danger of losing his fight to gain access to his daughter.




The author also needs to know what has shaped his or her characters. What is their background, family, education and experiences?

In the Horton marine mysteries, Andy Horton's mother walked out on him when he was child. He's never seen or heard from her since and he never knew his father. He's been raised with the tough and the manipulative, rejected and hurt.This is what makes him self-contained, unable to completely let go. He's been betrayed once he doesn't want to be betrayed again.

And where will he be at the end of the journey? What will he have learnt? Has he changed? At the end of each case, Horton has solved a crime, but along the way he has learnt more about himself, and his colleagues, their loyalties and ambitions. He's also moved a step closer towards discovering what happened to his mother when she left him in their council tower block to fend for himself, and it's not always what he wants to hear, each revelation reveals something about him and his past. He's left asking should he continue his search for the truth or is it a past that is better left alone? But already it is too late to go back. He has to press on despite or perhaps because of what he has learnt and get to the truth.

The latest DI Andy Horton Marine Mystery Crime Novel, number six in the series Footsteps on the Shore is now published in hardcover.

To see the marine mystery series visit http://www.rowmark.co.uk/


 

Friday, 28 January 2011

Frances Lincoln Children's Books looking at publishing more commercial fiction

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books is refocusing its list away from picture books towards more commercial fiction under the direction of new editorial director Maurice Lyon. Fiction output will nearly double to 20 titles this year while its picture book programme will be cut from 45 to around 25 titles.

Lyon said: "Frances Lincoln is known for specialising in multicultural picture books and fiction but we are aware that we need to position ourselves as a publisher for all readers, without loosing sight of our roots."

Frances Lincoln’s new fiction list will have more "trade appeal" said Lyon, while still appealing to librarians and teachers. It will cover age ranges from eight to 14 years.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Arielle Ford: Is It Just Too Much to Ask of an Author? Social Media and Internet Marketing

This article is by Arielle Ford and first appeared on the Huffington Post. I thought it was worth re blogging here.


Is it just too much to ask of an author by Ariell Ford

For the past twenty years I have been fully immersed in the publishing world as an author, book publicist, and literary agent. I even filled 23 hours of CDs with all of the incredible information I have learned about succeeding in this business but this weekend I finally hit the wall.

I'm not sure I can take in any more information on what I need to do next to succeed as an author using social media and internet marketing. I think it's all just too much for one mere author to handle.

Here's what I just found out that I am either doing wrong or don't know how to do:

  • My websites are not meta-tagged
  • I don't have any plug-ins (what is this anyway?)
  • I am not using auto-responders at www.soulmatesecret.com
  • I haven't a clue about social book-marketing (but I hear Google wants me to use this to get higher rankings)
  • I don't know how to tweet from my Blackberry
  • Apparently tweeting and posting to Facebook a couple of times a day is not enough according to the experts I have yet to figure out how to post photos or videos on Twitter
  • My articles aren't online in enough locations NOR do I have enough backlinks (why is this important and what if my content isn't relevant to a backlink?)
  • I have a few videos on YouTube but I don't have my own channel yet
  • I still don't get what an RSS feed really is.
  • The Call to Action buttons on my sites are lousy
  • Even though I know what an ethical bribe is I still haven't put one any of my websites...
... and this is just a partial list.

When I look at this list I just want to throw up my hands and go to a tropical island and say goodbye to technology. It's making me crazy. It used to be that being an author meant having excellent writing skills and great communication skills and some basic marketing 101 chops help sell the book. No, it is not enough. Now you must also be a certifiable tech geek or a zillionaire to hire a team of tech geeks. Oy!

I am sure some of my list items are easy to fix and it would only take a few minutes to implement, but the fact that the list keeps growing and online strategies keep getting more involved stresses me out.

Ok. Deep breath. Think positive. All of the above may be true and my book The Soulmate Secret continues to sell. My radio interview and best seller campaigns are in really good shape so what am I so panicked about? I think I am developing so new kind of author anxiety... anybody out there have a remedy?

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: http://www.howtowritemybook.com/

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

People in Publishing

Random House is working with Pulpwood Queens Book Club founder and author Kathy Patrick
to start an online book club featuring interviews with RH authors.

At Graywolf Press, Erin Kottke has been promoted to publicity director.

At Hutchinson, publicity director Emma Mitchell has been appointed to the additional role of associate editorial director.

At Penguin Canada, Andrea Magyar will take on the new role of publishing director, business and lifestyle. Magyar launched the company's cookbook publishing programme and also started a Canadian version of the Penguin Portfolio imprint last year.

Don D'Auria joins Samhain Publishing as Executive Editor. He will oversee the company's new Horror line, which launches in October 2011. Previously D'Auria was executive editor for Leisure Books at Dorchester Publishing.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Book Depository sees growth soar by more than 70% and will launch self publishing web site

The Book Depository grew sales by more than 70% in the half-year to December 2010, with revenue now expected to be £120m in its full year, almost double what it achieved the year before.Sales increased to £60m up from last year’s sales of £35m.

Kieron Smith, managing director of the online bookseller, said sales growth was "across the board", with the weakness of the pound a fillip for the business. The company ships free of charge to more than 100 countries, with overseas sales making up about two-thirds of the overall business. Smith said he was "very pleased" by the growth, adding that "it will be even more interesting this year" with the development of foreign language title sales. It will also assess whether it needs a physical presence overseas. At the moment all books are shipped via its Gloucester-based warehouse.

Smith said the business had also been picking up sales from the UK, with home sales expected to be about £30m in its full-year.

Developments in the shorter term include the public launch of its self-publishing website Espressio and a separate site selling DVDs and video games.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Bookseller launches Fight for Libraries Facebook Campaign to oppose UK library closures

The Bookseller has launched a campaign to oppose the "wantonly destructive cuts to the UK national library service".Called Fight for Libraries, the campaign will be centred around a Facebook site where news about library cuts and opposition to them will be reported, and which will also function as a hub for all news, sites and information on the struggle against library cuts.

"The next few weeks are critical to the future of libraries in this country, and to the literary culture they help support. Up to 800 libraries are faxed with the axe in the coming days. The Government back-down over Booktrust over Christmas, and its watering down of tuition fees, shows that it is not immune to pressure, whilst history has shown that local councils will back down on library closures once they realise the depth of local opposition. I don't think David Cameron wants to be remembered as the Prime Minister closed down all the libraries," says Editor-in-chief of The Bookseller Neill Denny.

The Facebook site hosts a manifesto and a set of demands, with The Bookseller supporting the calls for a national public enquiry into the library service, demanding a halt to the unfair and disproportionate targeting of libraries for cuts, and calling for the 1964 Libraries Act to be observed in letter and spirit. It also has a poll asking people to commit to supporting libraries."Libraries are under threat right now. A library lost today will not be re-opened tomorrow - the book trade has to take a stand," added Denny. "

Please use the Fight for Libraries site to see what is going on and update it with developments in your own area.

Minister for culture Ed Vaizey has said he will "consider the use of statutory powers" in support of public libraries, but only on a "case-by-case basis", appearing to rule out the growing calls for a national inquiry into the service as it faces what library campaigners have said are disproportionate cuts.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Constructing a strong central character by crime author Pauline Rowson

I was recently asked to provide four tips for creating a strong central character for the web site Write On and thought they might be useful to some readers of this blog, so here they are:

Tip one:
Main characters need to take control. They should not give in under pressure and should take an active part in solving their own problems. They can have faults but they change and grow throughout the novel. They make mistakes and learn from it.


Tip two:
Main characters have a cardinal quality and a trait/s that holds them back. DI Andy Horton, the main character in my marine mystery crime series, is fearless in his search for justice. In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett is courageous. But Scarlett is selfish; Andy Horton hates conforming and so risks being alone, his greatest fear.


Tip three:
What has shaped them? What is their background, family, education and experiences? They should be people the reader can love, admire or find interesting, people whom the reader can sympathise with, because readers will not enjoy a novel if they do not care what happens to the hero or heroine

Tip four:
Where will your character be at the end of the journey? What will he have learnt? Has he changed? He will have a goal, dream or ambition. It can be mistaken at first and replaced by something more admirable as the story unfolds.

http://www.paulinerowson.com/
http://www.rowmark.co.uk/

Thursday, 20 January 2011

People in publishing

Marjorie Braman is leaving Henry Holt, where she has been vp and editor-in-chief since September 2008. Prior to that she was executive editor at HarperCollins for 12 years. She is leaving on to concentrate on freelance editorial projects, and her last day is January 31. Holt will name a new editor-in-chief at a later date.

Christina Ward of the Christina Ward Literary Agency and Richard Balkin of The Balkin Agency have merged, to form The Ward & Balkin Agency.

Adrienne Lombardo has been promoted to audio rights agent at Trident Media Group. She was formerly the assistant for Ellen Levine and Don Fehr.

In the Harper Children's publicity department, Allison Verost joins the unit as assistant director of publicity. She has been at Penguin Children's for almost 8 years.

Aitken Alexander Associates will open an office in Delhi, India, on January 17, with Shruti Debi as senior agent. Debi worked for seven years at Picador Indiaand will also be a director of Aitken Alexander Associates India Pvt Ltd., along with Gillon Aitken, Clare Alexander and Andrew Kidd. She will sign new clients as well as 'provide local support for Aitken Alexander's existing roster of outstanding subcontinental writers.'

Random UK is renaming its CCV division, changing it to Vintage Publishing. MD Richard Cable says in a statement, 'The decision to rename ourselves Vintage Publishing is but another stage in a long line of evolution within the company.... We recognize that the name Vintage is now a key defining brand in our publishing lives, as it is for our readers, and perfectly reflects our commitment to publishing of the highest quality.'

In Germany, Silvia Kuttny-Walser, a 21-year veteran of Random House Germany and publishing director of Blanvalet announced yesterday she is resigning to move to Luebbe Verlag as publishing director.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Choosing a location for the setting of a crime novel by Pauline Rowson

I wrote the following article for the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Debut Dagger Award and thought it might interest readers of my blog. The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. All shortlisted entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries. The first prize is £700. The 2011 Competition will close on 5th February 2011. If you fancy a stab at it, and the chance to be a published crime writer, you can now submit the opening chapter(s) – up to 3000 words – and a short synopsis of your proposed crime novel. More details are on the Crime Writers' Association web site.

Winning the Debut Dagger doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. But it does mean your work will be seen by leading agents and top editors, who have signed up over twenty winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger competitors.

Choosing a location for the setting of a crime novel by Pauline Rowson

We all know that when choosing where to live location is an important factor for many reasons. It's also equally important in crime novels and believe it or not Sweden is not the only place in the World for setting atmospheric crime novels! While everyone seems to be obsessed with things Swedish there are many great crime novels set in various parts of the UK from gritty Glasgow to captivating Cornwall, and of course in many countries across the World. There is also marine mystery country, the location for my crime novels, which happens to be the Solent area on the South Coast of England. Here my rugged Harley Davidson riding detective, Inspector Andy Horton, pitches his wits against the criminal classes, which takes him, and others in the team, into the harbours of Portsmouth, Langstone, Chichester, and to the Isle of Wight.

Every known murder scene has a detective combing for clues. Every detective has a prime enemy - and it's not always the criminal. For the detective, the first enemy is often the crime scene itself. It is here that the battle begins to uncover the grim truth about the murder. And a detective's 'nightmare crime scene' has got to be a place where all the best clues could be swept away by the tide. There couldn't be a better place to set a crime story or perhaps a worse depending on your viewpoint.

For me it has many advantages. The sea is never constant. In one day it can change from being calm to turbulent thus providing a great backdrop for pace in a novel and great settings for a climax, which I’ve used in Deadly Waters and In For The Kill.

It’s also dangerous, misleading and evil like many villains, and although it can look safe on the surface underneath can be a sandbank, a rock, a wreck, a dangerous current all of which can cause havoc and kill and be used to good effect in a crime novel. The sea is also completely uncontrollable. No matter how much you think or wish you can control it, you can't but you do need to respect and fear it. In life sometimes you need to go with the flow and other times swim against the tide, the trick is knowing when to do which. My detective, Andy Horton, hasn't quite got it sussed, or when he thinks he has something happens to throw him completely off course, just as in life.

The sea provides great inspiration. Many of the marinas and harbours around the Solent are featured in my novels. I can't pass a boatyard, beach or cove without thinking there must be a dead body or a skeleton here somewhere.

The great variety of locations also provides diversity of scenes within a novel. Horton can be on a stony or sandy beach, at an expensive marina or a rotting boatyard, on the police launch in the Solent or crossing on the ferry or Hovercraft. In choosing a waterfront location such as Portsmouth I also have the contrast of a modern city with a historic one complete with a Roman Fort in Portsmouth Harbour; a nature reserve and sites of special scientific interest rubbing shoulders with modern tower blocks, as well as a diverse multicultural population, commercial ferry port, historic dockyard, fishing fleet and home of the Royal Navy – what more could a writer wish for?

But surely you must need to know a lot about sailing and the sea, I hear you ask? Well, actually no. In fact you wouldn’t let me loose on any boat and to be perfectly honest I am a terrified sailor. It’s the opposite case here of a little knowledge being a good thing. Sometimes the more knowledge you have the more you are tempted to show it and put it in your novels and in so doing you risk the danger of it ending up reading like a manual. The same applies to knowledge of police procedure. OK, so I need some knowledge of how the police work for my crime novels but if I explained exactly how a major investigation is run then it would end up reading like a police manual, it is FICTION after all. And if I explained every nautical detail then it would be as stagnant as sludge.

There are things that I need to know though and for this I draw on my husband’s expertise (an experienced sailor) and I consult navigational charts. For example, I need to know whether or not it is feasible for a body to be found where I have placed it and if the time frame is correct, which means consulting tide timetables and charts. If the murder occurred in the past then I need to know the tide timetables on that day. In Footsteps On The Shore I have a body on the coastal path on Hayling Island on 20 September 1997. So when a witness claims he saw someone suspicious on that day I need to know if the tide was in or out and what the witness saw. If he claims he saw yachts sailing in Langstone Harbour at 2pm and it was low tide then is he lying or have I got the detail wrong? That’s for me to check and for me to decide.


In Dead Man’s Wharf I have the dredger moored up at the wharf at the same time a body is discovered but the dredger can only navigate the narrow channel at Langstone Harbour on an incoming tide so timing is everything.

And it’s not only the time of the tides but the height that could make a difference to the plot or subplot. Can the type of boat the victim, suspect or my hero, Horton, is on board get into a certain harbour on a certain day at a certain time. How deep is the harbour? Does it dry out at low tide? If so then I can’t possibly have the police launch motoring in and out of it whenever it suits them. The reader will, of course, be unaware of this research and perhaps no one will ever check that I’ve got the details correct, but I’m banking on there being one bright spark who will crow with delight on an Amazon review if I’ve got it wrong, if only to show off their superior knowledge.

I don’t consider this research a drawback. On the contrary I enjoy it and believe it’s important to get it right, because if it is real to me then it will be real to my reader. Wherever that reader is, the heart of America, China, or the UK, close to or thousands of miles from the sea, I want them to be able to smell the sea, see it, feel it and taste it through the words on the page, and if I can achieve that then that’s what I call a good location and an atmospheric crime novel.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Protest about Library Cuts in the UK Snowballs

A countrywide web of protest about library cuts continued this weekend, as a day of action was planned for 5th February. The tag #savelibraries was one of the top trending topics on Twitter over the weekend, as campaigners mobilised and the press soaked it up. Both Tory culture minister Ed Vaizey and MLA chief executive Roy Clare got caught up in the media maelstrom with Vaizey claiming to "very active" in defending libraries, and Clare threatening the Daily Mail over a report that claimed he'd dismissed libraries as the preserve of the middle-classes.

Annie Mauger, chief executive of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip), said: "This is not just about what libraries do, it is about what they represent: free access to knowledge and information for everyone. It feels Orwellian that we'll wake up one day and a third of all the libraries are gone. Is that the type of society we want?"

Read the full article: Library campaigns on the rise, Vaizey is dubbed 'Evaisive":


The Bookseller magazine has also launched a campaign to oppose the "wantonly destructive cuts to the national library service".Called Fight for Libraries, the campaign will be centred around a Facebook site where news about library cuts and opposition to them will be reported, and which will also function as a hub for all news, sites and information on the struggle against library cuts.

The site will operate from http://bit.ly/fight4libraries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fight4libraries

The next few weeks are critical to the future of libraries in this country, and to the literary culture they help support. Up to 800 libraries are faxed with the axe in the coming days.

"I don't think David Cameron wants to be remembered as the Prime Minister closed down all the libraries," says Editor-in-chief of The Bookseller Neill Denny.

The Facebook site hosts a manifesto and a set of demands, with The Bookseller supporting the calls for a national public enquiry into the library service, demanding a halt to the unfair and disproportionate targeting of libraries for cuts, and calling for the 1964 Libraries Act to be observed in letter and spirit. It also has a poll asking people to commit to supporting libraries.

"Libraries are under threat right now. A library lost today will not be re-opened tomorrow - the book trade has to take a stand," added Denny. "

Monday, 17 January 2011

New report says UK e-books market will grow but sales of e readers will taper after 2012

E-book sales in the UK will grow ten-fold over the next five years, but generating profits from digital will not be easy, according to a new report "Turning the Page: The Future of eBooks", by global accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers.

The report argues that e-book sales in the UK will continue to lag behind the growth seen in the US, and that sales of e-book readers will begin to taper after 2012 when most avid book reader will have bought a device.

The report argues content owners, and retailers should act promptly to secure leading positions in the e-book and e-reader marketplace, and not concede ground to participants new to the industry. But it suggests that in US publishers appear more "amenable" to e-books because they generally offer lower costs and higher margins than print, and that European publishers are more likely to express doubts about digital. On price, it argues that publishers should look to design a pricing strategy that attracts customers without undermining the value of content, and says the strategy of offering ebooks at a price lower than that of printed books is "a step in the right direction".

The report argues that traditional bookstores face the risk of exclusion from the expanding market for digital content. "More than ever, the traditional bookstore will have to emphasize its strengths in terms of customer knowledge, customer retention, and competence. And it will have to distribute book content in all formats and all channels."

Read full report: UK e-books market expected to grow ten-fold over five years:

Friday, 14 January 2011

More moves in the publishing world

Mary Ellen O'Neill is joining Workman Publishing as a senior editor. Most recently she was publisher of Collins Lifestyle and editorial director of cookbooks/executive editor at Morrow.

Cynthia Zigmund is now representing authors exclusively through her own company, Second City Publishing Services.

Tamson Weston has left Disney-Hyperion to found Tamson Weston Books, an editorial consultancy. She will be working with agents and publishers to develop book projects and help new authors fine-tune manuscripts, proposals and picture book dummies.

As of February Susan Sandérus will join Bruna in the Netherlands as commissioning editor. She has been at Fontein Publishers and worked before that at Archipel. Sandérus will focus on crime fiction from the US, UK and the Scandinavian countries.

At Hachette Book Group's Nashville, TN division Adlai Yeomans has been promoted to assistant editor for Center Street and Jaime Slover has been promoted to junior designer for Faith Words and Center Street.

Mary Anne Thompson Associates has been appointed US literary scout for Schibsted in Norway, Crown Culture Corporation in Taiwan, and Phoenix-Edita Media in mainland China (a new company, which merges Feel/Blue Horse and Yiling Press).

At Hyperion, executive editor and editorial director for ABC Synergy Gretchen Young has been named vice president and is expanding her role as as chief editorial liaison for the publishing unit with ABC.

 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

People in Publishing

Joanne Wyckoff has joined the Carol Mann Agency as an agent, continuing to represent a wide array of nonfiction and selected fiction. Since 2005, she has been an agent with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, in their Boston office.

Adam Korn is leaving literary agency DeFiore and Company to return to the editorial side, rejoining HarperCollins as executive editor for William Morrow, starting January 18.

Penguin UK Children's managing director Stephanie Barton is leaving to 'embark upon a new challenge' after 26 years with the company. Puffin managing director Francesca Dow moves up to fill Barton's position.
 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

How to write a good crime story by Pauline Rowson

I've written a fact sheet primarily for young people interested in entering the CWA'sYoung Crime Writers’ Competition sponsored by CRIMEFEST, an International crime convention held in Britain. It's available on my website along with details about the competition, which is open to young people under 18years in the UK.  Entry is via participating libraries in the UK. I thought I'd post  the checklist here as it might be of interest not only to participants of the crime short story competition but to others who wish to write crime stories or novels.
How to write a good crime story by Pauline Rowson

There are many different types of crime stories from gritty gruesome, cosy comfortable to cops, robbers and gangsters, racy, action-packed thrillers, historical or contemporary, detective or private eye…

 Then there is the setting: the city, the sea, countryside, mountains, home or abroad, and the theme – what message are you trying to get across? And whose story is it anyway?

So -
  • Choose your location
  • Choose your type of crime story
  • Think about a good theme or message you want to get across in your story
  • Choose who is going to be your main character or characters (Note: Don’t have more than two main characters otherwise it will be difficult to write and difficult to read).
  • It should be well written with a truly surprising ending.
  • You need to plant clues throughout the crime story – not too many but just enough to get the reader thinking.
  • One critical piece of information is usually held back until just before the ending.
  • The best stories are those that have a theme/message and are firmly based on character.
  • Beginning: the main character is introduced immediately, so is the tone and setting and the problem
  • Middle: Build the motivation and tension.
  • The climax – this is the worst possible moment of the story.
  • There should be unities of time, place and action which means that the story should take place over a very short space of time, in the same place and ideally through the main character’s eyes. This results in tight construction and a successful short story.

You should have:

  •  a likeable, interesting main character one the reader can have empathy with, one they want to trust, feel his/her pain and disappointments, root for him/her throughout the novel.
  • a good supporting cast - the suspects, the villains and the walk-on parts who all need characteristics which are believable even if they are eccentric. The cast must be real to the writer and therefore real to the reader. Don’t choose too many characters in the short story or you will find the story difficult to write and your reader will get confused. Keep it simple.
  • a cracking good plot with motives. The plot needs to have twists and turns which will surprise the reader. But the plot and surprises spring from the characters' actions and motivations so we're back once more to creating great characters. 
  • memorable settings. A sense of place and atmosphere so the reader can see, feel and smell it.
  • a mixture of narrative and realistic dialogue 
  • a strong central theme.What message are you trying to convey in your story?
  • a satisfying, surprising ending. All ends neatly tied up, a twist, a sense of leaving the reader wanting to read more, or feeling satisfied.

Plus:

It must be well written. Check your spelling and punctuation.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The CWA launch the second Young Crime Writers' Competition to find the UK's Best Young Crime Writer

The best young crime writers in the UK are being sought out in a national competition launched by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and sponsored by CRIMEFEST, an International crime convention held in Britain.

Organised by the CWA, which represents the interests of published crime writers, and library authorities nationwide the competition will appeal to writers aged up to 18 (born on or after September 1, 1992). Stories should be submitted between January 10 and February 18 and the word limit is 1,000. They must be entered through participating libraries across Britain.

The entries will be judged by members of the CWA and local winners will be considered for the national prize to be announced during National CrimeWriting Week, which starts on June 13.

CWA Chair Tom Harper said: “Many of the UK's biggest crime writers got the bug from books they read as children, whether it was Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, the Famous Five or Alex Rider. For the second year running, the Young Crime Writers Competition gives budding authors the chance to dive into a world of suspense, mystery, excitement - and fun.”

Crime writer, Pauline Rowson, author of the marine mystery series featuring Inspector Andy Horton, is the judge for the South Coast of England. Pauline Rowson says, ‘This is a great opportunity for young people to create their own murder mystery or thriller.  Last year the stories were outstanding and it was a tough competition to judge.  I’m looking forward to reading this year’s entries.’

There is more information on Pauline Rowson's web site which also gives details of the participating libraries in the south of England. 

For press enquiries or more information on the CWA, please visit the http://www.thecwa.co.uk/, or contact media.enquiries@thecwa.co.uk

Friday, 7 January 2011

People in Publishing

Kimberley Cameron and Associates announces that their agency has amicably parted ways with April Eberhardt, who established her own literary agency, effective January 1. April Eberhardt Literary will focus primarily on high-quality women's fiction, and will also assist authors in assessing and accessing alternative publishing channels.

Liz Gately has been appointed the US scout for the UK's Headline.

In promotions at Little, Brown Children's: Alvina Ling moves up to executive editor; Audrey Sclater is now marketing creative director; Victoria Stapleton is director, school and library marketing; Ames O'Neill is publicist; Lola Harley is associate project manager; Alison Impey is associate art director; Maria Mercado is designer; and Erin McMahon moves up to junior designer.

At Random House Children's, Dennis Shealy has been promoted to editorial director of licensed publishing. Shealy started working at Golden Books 17 years ago.

 

Thursday, 6 January 2011

It's a messy business writing a crime novel but it's fun, Pauline Rowson explains why and how

It's a messy business writing a crime novel but it's fun, Pauline Rowson explains why and how:

 "There are different types of writing when constructing a crime novel, (apart that is from having the idea, doing some research, and working it up into an outline plot with a smattering of characters).

First comes the free flow type of writing when I'm eager to bring the idea and characters to life by getting words and actions on to my computer screen as quickly as possible. Often these are not the correct words, the description is hazy, the characters not fully formed, the grammar and punctuation incorrect but there is something there that can be shaped later. This is what I sometimes to refer to as the brain dump phase when I wish I could simply download words on to the computer without having to type them. The aim of this phase of writing, the first draft, is to get something written as quickly as possible.

Second is the mixing or shaping phase when I go back through the novel (which might not yet be complete) and I move chapters or sections around because I realise they're not in the correct place. I might also ditch some chapters and characters or build minor characters up more, who, as the novel has progressed, have started to become more than just a walk on part. I might even create new characters, or a sub plot might take on new meaning and significance adding colour and interest. Sometimes this second phase overlaps with the first. It's messy but gradually the novel begins to take better shape.

Once I'm happy with the first and second phase it's then time for revisions. Now I need to trawl through the novel to make sure that all the characters are fully formed and the clues are firmly planted and sometimes cleverly disguised; that all the unanswered questions are answered, the red herrings are in place, the setting and research are correct and it all hangs together.

Once that is done it's final revision time, which involves checking every line of the novel to ensure that I've used the most appropriate words and phrases at the appropriate time and have not over used certain words. The computer 'find' function can be very helpful here.

Over the Christmas and New Year I spent a considerable amount of time completing the first and second phases of the seventh in the Inspector Andy Horton crime series. I was pleased that I met my self imposed deadline of 31 December. Now I'm on phase three, making sure it all adds up, fleshing out the key characters, checking that plots, sub plots and clues all hang together, ensuring tension and atmosphere abound, answering all the unanswered questions and tying up the knots... I may be some time.

 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Update on Waterstone's Closures - Twenty stores to shut

Waterstone's has confirmed that 20 stores will close over the next twelve months as part of cost-cutting measures across the wider HMV Group. Results published this morning (5th January), which showed Waterstone's performing better than sister chain HMV over Christmas, included the warning that full-year profits would be at the lower end of expectation, and that the group was close to breaking its loan agreements.

"We've nothing to say beyond that," the Waterstone's spokesperson said. The group comprises 312 Waterstone's outlets.

David Hochman: Ten Surprising Ways to Thrive as a Freelance Writer

Thought this very good article was worth reposting here.

David Hochman: Ten Surprising Ways to Thrive as a Freelance Writer: "

I just made these up. It only took me eighteen years of freelancing to think of them. Here's how to survive and thrive in challenging times as a freelance writer:

1. Stop Being Paranoid. People aren't stealing your ideas, they don't hate you, they're not being passive aggressive. And if any of these things actually are true, move on. Life's too short and brutish to be eaten up by pettiness and small-minded paranoia.

2. Set fake deadlines and meet them. The editor wants the story December 15. Great. Your deadline is now December 12.

3. It's about relationships, stupid. Good pitches will get you assignments. If you want an actual career, work on nurturing and building your relationships with editors instead.

4. Lose the Emotions. Rid your emails of the following: your smiley faces, your inspirational quotes, the websites of your 15 different businesses. It makes you look flaky.

5. Be nice. Why would you want to work with someone who's cold, whiney, hard to reach on the phone, sloppy with the facts, defensive or a drama queen. Exactly. Editors don't either.

6. Go back to school. Specialize in something that will give you an advantage over everyone else in your field. Afterwards, you might decide to go for that career full-time and bag freelancing permanently.

7. Have a kid or buy a house. Adding big incentives to making money will force you to behave responsibly and meet your financial goals in ways child-free, mortgage-free people can't quite imagine.

8. Meditate. Every morning. For at least a half hour. Doesn't matter which god or non-god or spaceship you pray to. Just do it for thirty days and see what happens.

9. Ixnay the naysayers. By 5pm today, remove or block all the negative grumps on your Facebook and Twitter lists; make an appointment to see one person who's been really supportive of your work; whenever good or positive thoughts or people emerge, think of ways to sustain, develop, nurture, augment and encourage them.

10. Put others first. Say thank you. Do things without expecting thanks. Surprise people with your generosity. Give more money than you expected this end-of-year tax season. Do things for free even though you don't think you can afford to. Say 'yes' when people ask for your support and help.

Cross-posted on Herman Miller's Lifework blog
"

Hope you enjoyed reading it!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sad news for Waterstone's staff and customers in Slough and Maidenhead with the closure of branches

2011 kicks off with sad news for Waterstone's staff and customers in Slough and Maidenhead after  the company has decided to close both branches for "commercial reasons".

The Maidenhead branch will shut on 8th January, affecting 12 people. Slough will follow suit in March, affecting five staff. A spokesman for the company said the closures were for "commercial reasons" but said the retailer was trying to find work for booksellers at other branches.

The news follows the closure of the Edinburgh Princes Street branch on Christmas Eve because of the building's landlord choosing to redevelop the site. Seventeen staff were affected.