Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New authors and getting published

I had an interesting morning yesterday, at the hospital library! They have 'Six Book Challenge' which has obviously run before, through the local libraries from conversations around me, and involves a commitment to reading six books in six months. You are supposed to write a little crit of each and get it stamped at the library, in a diary which they give you, and after 6 you get a certificate. It is just about encouraging people to read but they organise things like visits from authors. The last one was Tess Gerritson but I did not find out about it in time. Today it was Bill Rogers, who lives locally and writes detective novels set in Manchester. His seventh book is due out soon. He has also written books on education and was a teacher and school inspector. Four generations of his family have been in the Metropolitan Police Force and he had strong links/contacts with the police having been involved with several initiatives to discourage youngsters from involvement with drugs, gangs etc.
As it was St David's Day we had Welsh cakes and brith with our tea and coffee and everyone who signed up for the challenge got a free copy of Bill's first book. I bought the second, which he also signed and after meeting him and listening to him I look forward to reading them. They do feature a particular detective and his team so there is some character development but he says it is not essential to read them in order. I will let you know what I think of his books but he, himself was a nice guy and interesting to talk to in the informal session and also in the short 'lecture'.I asked him if he fancied coming to Lanzarote and speaking to my writing group and he said, 'Certainly, if you're paying.'
What he had to say about the difficulties of getting published was interesting. A publisher wants x amount per copy if he publishes a book, and he wants quite a lot! The retailer wants to make a profit, the agent wants a decent return or it isn't worth his while and wannabe authors are under the impression that there will be some money in it for them if they can get into print. One major problem in recent years is that Asda, Tesco and the like are cutting the retail price to the bone. The publisher wants the same as before leaving very little for everyone else.The only way the agent is going to get a worthwhile amount is if sales are massive. So they will not take on new authors unless they are confident they have a blockbuster in the offing!
So while we may have enjoyed the lower prices for the books that we read it is a 'shoot yourself inn the foot' situation for writers!

Another suggested event is for everyone to read a particular book and then watch the film version together and discuss them. I think that sounds good and have floated it with my local book club, in Lanzarote.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I am interested in meeting people on Lanzarote who want to improve their writing. In the last year I have had a few stories published professionally, and some in semi-pro magazines and anthologies. I mainly write literary(ish) speculative fiction. Anybody interested in setting up a crit group of active writers in order to help each other write publishable material?

    Contact me at dame_damon(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Looking forward to hearing from you,