Thursday, 20 August 2015

Festival Fun and a New Novel

Snippets from my recent interview with Steve Cooke and Norman Warwick of All Across the Arts was published in my local paper yesterday. 

It will not come to any surprise to my author friends that part of an author's role in this age of social media is to become involved in promotion and connecting with people. This fact was made very clear to me when dealing with agents and publishers during the past five years and they are keen to see a CV that proves it. They also look closely at how a manuscript is presented to them and they will not read past the first page if it doesn't jump out at them. They are, after all, in the business of selling books. Potential readers must be captivated by the story and characters.

I'm relieved to say, judging by the reviews against my books, that my readers are captivated and I created characters who stayed with them long after they finished reading. My stories may be unique but everyone can relate to them and they didn't happen overnight. It took up to a year to write a book then I spent six months ensuring that it was all that it could be - the "production" phase. Like any TV or film producer, I have to see my story and characters clearly in my mind as I read and if the scene I see is not quite right then I have to alter it. During this process I also learnt a lot about not only refining my characters and storyline so that they were all they could be but also when I think back, it was when I really learned to write. (Remember - you can't polish a turd. If you don't have confidence in your manuscript then there's no use trying to make it into something else).

I sometimes wonder if some people I talk to think that writing a book involves slaving away at a laptop or paper-pad for hours then reeling it off to an agent or publisher - OH IF ONLY!! 

My five year experience to date has taught me
You write a book, you do your best to present it correctly and do not despair if it's returned or refused. Every criticism or suggestion, no matter how small, is another step forwards for a writer IF they then choose to do something about it. Once crumpled feelings have calmed, a better writing-beast can emerge.

These are the things that went through my mind during the submission process: -

Why do they have such a low total word count limit for a book?
How on earth can I whittle mine down to that?

One publisher wants "unique and unusual" then says: "it's too unique and unusual and that their primary concern is selling volume."
Why can't they make up their minds?

Why on earth do they say on their website that they seek only quality literature then they publish a book that's plainly a quick-read and not like anything they've asked for?
What happened to their ethos?
 
Rochdale Observer - Snippets from an interview with Denise Greenwood