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This Week on Writers Abroad 29th January
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

January is almost over, thank goodness. Here in SW France it's been one of the gloomiest I can remember in 20 years. At least the evenings are starting to draw out and I've had plenty of time for writing.

Yesterdayís Formal Chat was somewhat sparsely attended, and I am one of the culprits with a last-minute commitment. Lesley will be posting up the minutes soon, so take a moment to read them and to look through the Skype chat if you have time.

Bruceís blog post bemoans the need to shovel snow, since he lives in Sweden where itís abundant, but it has provided him with some inspiration for snow poems.

Nicola has posted this weekís Monday Muses, a great selection to choose from with something for everyone, including Ė quelle surprise! Ė a horse picture. The usual drill: 500 words-ish or a poem in 20 minutes or so. Just let it flow.

The Bragging Stool is, as ever, groaning beneath the combined weight (no offence intended!) of Bruce and Debbie, who both appear in the latest issue of ArtAscent (Portraits), Chris and Sue whose flash pieces were accepted by Ad Hoc last week (how many weeks is that, Sue?) and Angela, who has had a flash fiction piece accepted by Cake Magazine.

STOP PRESS: Ad Hoccer par excellence Sue's interview with Ad Hoc is now up on the Bath Flash Fiction Award website. You can read it here.†

The February Challenges and Opportunities will be posted up this week and there is still Jillís piece for the Swanwick Comp in the January forum. Iím sure she would appreciate additional comments.

In addition, there are various pieces posted in the Works in Progress forum, including Bruceís ongoing ĎMedium Rareí novella, so critiquing comments would, Iím sure, be welcome.

Thatís all this week. If Iíve missed anything or got anything wrong please let me know.

Have a creative week. Iím off to get on with novel no. 3.

Self-publish and be damned? Tags: writing Writers Abroad self-publishing Kindle Amazon

This yearís NaNoWriMo is approaching the halfway point. Congrats to everyone taking part. Even if you donít make the 50K words, the commitment is still a great achievement.

Once the month is over, the dust has settled, youíve added another 30K words, rewritten it, had it beta-read and edited it again for the nth time Ė what do you do then?

  • Chalk it up to experience and put it in the proverbial drawer?
  • Submit it to agents or to the rare publishers that accept unagented submissions?
  • Self-publish it?

The first option would be a pity after so much effort, but itís your novel. We all know how difficult the second is. So what about the third option?

Self-publishing became a lot easier after the advent of e-books and print on demand. For some time, though, it was widely regarded as an option for work that wasnít good enough to be published by traditional means. Fast forward to 2017 and some of the most successful authors are self-publishing their books. Itís not necessarily an either/or: some of those authors, such as our own Nicola (Nina to her fans), continue to be traditionally published as well.

The stigma that once applied to self-publishing has been largely dispelled. There is still a quality issue in some cases, but that also applies to traditional publishing.

I never thought I would self-publish a book, because I was afraid of everything that went with it. You are responsible for the whole thing: writing, quality control, editing, production, cover design and sales and marketing. This is not to say that you do all of these things yourself Ė in fact, I would always advocate commissioning professional editors and designers Ė but you are the driving force behind the project.

I dipped a toe in the water when I recently self-published via Amazon a collection of my short stories set in France. Having already been traditionally published, this was an experiment and I started off with something short (itís 104 printed pages) and uncomplicated.

A great deal of advice exists, but sometimes you donít find it until itís too late. I learned many things in a short time, but these are the key ones:

Research as much as you can beforehand.†Amazon provides guidance, but itís always good to talk to other authors who have done it. This can save you from irrevocable mistakes.

Allow enough time to do everything and do it in the right order.†I almost came a cropper here. For various reasons, I wanted my own ISBNs. Since I live in France, I had to apply to the French ISBN agency. They said it would take three weeks. This almost scuppered my already-announced publication date. Fortunately, after I pleaded urgency, they emailed them the following day.

Donít try to do everything yourself.†A three year-old has better design skills than I do. Amazon provides its own cover design templates, but itís difficult to make them look professional. In my view, a professional-looking cover can make a lot of difference to potential buyers, so I commissioned a designer and was delighted with the results. As I said above, a professional editor is also a good idea.

Fortunately, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace (Amazonís paperback production arm) allow you to amend and upload your manuscript and cover countless times before you hit publish. Itís still a scary feeling when you do. Then you have the nail-biting wait to see if anyone will buy it, but the marketing side is another story.

Clearly, thereís much more to self-publishing than I can go into here. But if I can do it, anyone can. Here's the result and it looks like a book!

This Week on Writers Abroad 25th September
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

The news feed is whizzing past at the moment, so it is not easy to keep up, but great to see so much activity. I have added an image at the top to see if we can stop Facebook posting our mug shots! (It didn't work...).

First and foremost, we have two new members this week, both of whom have contributed to Writers Abroad anthologies. Welcome aboard, Susan Eames and Bruce Dodson!

Monday Muse this week is a great selection of word prompts and picture prompts from Crilly. Alyson has posted them on behalf of Crilly, who is recovering from a hip operation Ė see below. Usual drill Ė 500 words (or poem) in 20 minutes or so. Just go where the inspiration takes you.

Richard is down for this weekís blog post and we wait with bated breath to see what topic heíll cover.

Apologies if Iíve missed anything, but the Bragging stool was unoccupied last week. Considering the fabulous run of WA successes recently, members have to have a break sometimes! But I can mention that Nicola has a new release today: Unspeakable in her ĎBeyond Humaní series. Dianne recently released the fifth book in her WWII series ĎThe Yankee Yearsí, Only One Remedy. Those are certainly worth a brag.

Contributions are due for the WA Magazine 7th edition by 30th September. Ideally, please post yours onsite for others to comment on if you have time. Mea culpa, just about to post mineÖ

The October Challenges and Opportunities are still on, but the November ones will be posted soon. If you know of any appropriate competitions or opportunities, please post details and links in the forum once itís up.

Crilly has been out of action for a short time while having a hip operation. We wish her all the best for her recovery and trust that she is using any period of immobility to get a lot of writing done!

Thatís all this week. If Iíve missed anything or got anything wrong please let me know.

Have a creative week.


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Monday, March 12, 2018
This Week 12 March 2018 posted by Debbie Hubbard
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