Publishing: Surviving the Scammer Minefield

Predatory Publisher Month at Indies UnlimitedBack in 2004, I began reaching out for an agent and or a publisher for my completed memoir, Surviving the Battleground of Childhood. Remember, this was still a time when the publishing industry was geared to snail mail and hard copy. Needless to say, we are talking about a turnaround time of six to twelve weeks or more for each query. After about a year and a half of what seemed like hundreds of rejections, I was feeling somewhat down about the whole publishing thing and, truth be known, I was probably a little desperate.

It was then that I came across the UK small press PenPress Publishers Pty Ltd, Publishing and Marketing. After sending the usual enquiry letter, I received a response expressing some interest in my book. They explained that, unfortunately, they were fully booked for the foreseeable future, but they would be interested in looking at my manuscript and, depending on the product of course, they would consider me for their partnership programme. Being pretty green, and did I mention desperate, at the time, I asked for more information regarding the ‘partnership programme’. Continue reading “Publishing: Surviving the Scammer Minefield”

Time in Writing

TimeIn the first part of my post, The Concept of Time in Writing, I talked about the malleability of time, and the way in which we, as writers, use it as a concept and a reference. In this second part I will focus more on the way it affects us physically, as sentient beings; sometimes it doesn’t seem fluid at all. In fact, sometimes it feels remorselessly constricting.

The skills you garner to become that iconic author – be that a university/college degree, or through the university of life and the college of hard knocks – regardless of which route you take, it requires time to master. It takes time to acquire the experiences that you write about or use as believable backdrops for your narrations, and there are the countless hours spent researching to assure the readers’ suspension of disbelief: time, time and more time. Continue reading “Time in Writing”

The Concept of Time in Writing

TimeAs writers we constantly deal with time, both as a concept and a reference point. We can write a whole novel about an hour in the life of a character, or we can cover billions of years in the same amount of pages. We can stretch a moment into a lifetime, go back in time, or forward; we can travel sideways (as in parallel realities) or into the depth of time (like a dream within a dream within a dream). In fact as writers we utilise and adapt every conceivable theory concerning time.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Time is relative, we are told, and just about everyone knows that; although not everyone understands it. If you ask the question, “What does ‘time being relative’ really mean?” It would of course depend on who you ask, but you are still likely to get a stock answer that may not be easy to understand. A physicist might theorise about the space-time continuum; some may even express concepts regarding the multiverse theory; whereas a philosopher might approach the subject from a totally different angle, postulating from a metaphysical or psychological standpoint. Continue reading “The Concept of Time in Writing”

Names in Books – How Much Do They Matter?

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  That is a classic of course from the Bard, but how true is it?
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That is a classic of course from the Bard, but how true is it?

From the name of your protagonist, your evil antagonist, your main and subsidiary characters and minions, your chapter titles (if you use them), right through to the title of your masterpiece – do the actual names matter? They obviously matter to the creator – the author – but do they really matter to the reader, to the general public? In my humble opinion: You bet your life they do!

Names have a certain ring to them, and unless you’re writing something that is deliberately farcical, or really tongue in cheek, like the old James bond movies, with Plenty O’Toole or Pussy Galore, you should use names that don’t immediately snap the reader out of their state of suspended disbelief. Continue reading “Names in Books – How Much Do They Matter?”