Believe me, I know how it feels to be a writing competition addict.
You wake up with a burning urge to flip the computer on and sniff through your email to see if news of any fresh ones have surfaced.
Your mental traffic lights flash from amber to green with ideas and you find yourself people watching as you stand in the queue for the bus, scrutinising fellow passengers for their quirky mannerisms.
But what happens if your excitement gets the better of you and you upload or post your entry and fee, only to find out after the event that you forgot a crucial, silly, tiny, eenie, weenie detail that could have invalidated all of your hard work?
Simon West, our resident super-geek, is in the middle of creating a fancy widget thingie (don’t ask, it’s all alchemy to the rest of the team), which will allow you readers to have a sneaky peek through a few pages of our titles when you view them in our shop.
We haven’t a clue how he manages to make all these whizzbang gadgets and can only imagine he was very contented as a child when armed with a glass of milk, a chemistry lab kit or Meccano!
We’ll let you know as soon as our latest toy is ready to unveil, however, in the meantime I thought I’d let you know that we’ve just received a new consignment of Ant Ravenwood’s most excellent book for children, The Breathing Wheel!
We are delighted to let you have a sneak peak of the finished cover for our latest title, ‘Action Plan for Living With an Alcoholic’ by Lilly Laine, due for publication on 10th March, just before St Patrick’s Day.
The subtitle leaves the reader in no doubt about the content. It’s, ‘A Survival Guide for Partners and Spouses’ and has been penned with refreshing clarity by a lady who knows all about how it feels to live with a serious alcohol dependent, in Lilly’s case it was her husband.
After years of trying all the usual tactics to get him to stop drinking, Lilly realised she was physically and mentally at her rock bottom, just like her husband.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that our latest new author Izzy Robertson will début her short story “When Joe Met Alice” before the end of the month.
Izzy was born in London and grew up in Slough. She read and wrote voraciously as a child, but took the science route at school. Trained as a physiotherapist (which suited her bossy streak) at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, she worked in the NHS for about 15 years in Slough and in Ealing, treating patients with musculo-skeletal problems and long term pain. In 2006 she and her family escaped from the urban jungle of the south east to the deepest, darkest wilds of Dorset. She now works freelance as a complementary therapist and writer, and dabbles in jewellery making to satisfy her inner magpie.
When not gainfully occupied with the above she is often to be found chatting to her chickens, taming tomatoes in the greenhouse, having a nice cup of tea with her husband or driving her musical teenagers and their amazing band around in the ‘tour bus’ (read old Vauxhall Agila, bright yellow to boot).
Izzy’s stories reflect her love of the unusual and magical, and are aimed at young adults (whatever their age). “Maybe I never really grew up” she says. “I love the thought that anything’s possible. Someone once told me that magic isn’t all whizz-bang theatrics, or even very complicated – it’s the occurrence of the unexpected. We just have to open our eyes and look.”
It’s all very well writing a wonderful novel but when it comes to distributing your carefully crafted words, that’s when the questions start.
Traditionally, you would need to decide on a paperback or hard cover, with the ensuing difference in price. Today, you still have that question (although hard cover books seem to be disappearing almost completely) but you also have the question of which e-Book formats should you choose?
The manufacturers of e-Book readers all seem to want to create their own format of e-Book with their own set of must-have features, so which format is best?
When Magic Oxygen Editor, Simon West, published his first book last year, he was bitten by the bug.
The book sold well and the process of taking it from raw file through to finished product was an arduous learning curve but one where he realised a great many things that have shaped the foundations of Magic Oxygen.
Traditional publishing methods – write the book, print the book, sell the book – have generally left the author with a fairly minimal slice of the financial pie. Strange really, when you consider they are the ones that do the lion’s share of the creative work.
The print on demand method that we use changes the dynamic considerably and Simon does all he can to involve the author in some of the fundamental decisions regarding their body of work and it’s potential earnings revenue. Decisions like the level of discount a publisher has to give to the bookshops of the world, standard practice of course, but what levels do you go to? These are questions you as the author will be involved in if you wish.
If you’re thinking about publishing your work via Kindle or a similar e-reader, you might find it interesting to cast your eye over a report from this week’s The Bookseller.
I respect of a new report out by Nielsen, they state:-
Nielsen is predicting that fiction e-books will overtake sales of fiction paperbacks, but not until 2014, according to its latest digital report based on the Kantar World panel. It has also noted a further slowdown in e-book growth, with year-on-year sales falling for the first time.