Before I forget, here are some bits and pieces that I picked up over the weekend:
If you want to read about how you can spend thirty years trying to get a book into print, and eventually succeed, click here for Paul Clayton's account.
New self-publishing option
Publishing News ran a piece about Susanne McDadd's Publishing Services company. McDadd has had a bumpy ride in publishing, but has doubtless learnt much along the way. She is a former non-fiction director of Faber, and was a founder of Metro Publishing; that firm was eventually sold to John Blake. Now she runs a company which offers a range of valuable services for small publishers and authors.
Anyone who has a book which they would like to see in print should take a close look at this option. I say book, rather than novel, because the company specialises in non-fiction. There is much valuable, and free, advice on this site and it would repay study. All in all, it seems to be one of the best self-publishing possibilities that I have come across, but I get the definite impression that they are looking for writers with a professional approach; out-and-out amateurs and dreamers would, I suspect, be given a polite but brisk brush-off.
Daily Mail self-publishing offer
On Saturday morning I found myself in a coffee shop where there was a copy of the Daily Mail's Weekend section. This included the second in a series of three articles on how to write your own blockbuster, or some such title. The article does not seem to be posted on the Mail's web site, but you aren't missing much because it was pretty feeble. However, the article did repeat the Mail's offer to print some copies of your book for you. The details of that offer are available online: click here.
Unlike the company mentioned immediately above, the Daily Mail offer seems to me to be aimed very firmly at complete amateurs who know nothing at all about how to get into print. The instructions on how to prepare your digital file for the printer seem to me to be likely to lead to endless confusion, correspondence, and unhappiness. And why the Mail is bothering I really don't know. Presumably someone in their marketing department has noticed that there were 46,000 entries for Richard & Judy's recent competition for would-be novelists, and has decided that there is some benefit to be had from making offers to this group.
I wouldn't go that way myself, but I thought you ought to know.
Million Writers Award
The winner of the Million Writers Award, which I wrote about on 24 February, has now been announced. It is Alicia Gifford's Toggling the Switch. You can read the winning story, and the nine runners-up, on the storySouth web site.
Blogger hits big-time!
Or so Publishing News would have us believe. PN tells us that Gollancz editorial director Simon Spanton 'has plucked 26-year-old Scott Lynch from obscurity, launching him to potential stardom.'
This, it turns out, is just a grandiose way of telling us that Spanton has read some of Lynch's novel in progress, on Lynch's blog , and has put the guy under contract. To be precise, Spanton has signed him up for four books -- no doubt with some get-out clauses which we are not told about.
(By the way, Lynch's blog, Newbie writes a novel, does not seem to have been updated for the best part of a year. Perhaps because he's been too busy writing for Spanton. Or perhaps he's migrated it somewhere else. )
Scott Lynch's first book The Lies of Locke Lamora, will be published in January 2006. 'It is going to be a big book for us,' says Spanton.
Well, maybe. And then again, maybe not. Sometimes these things happen, and sometimes they don't. As I've said many times before, good luck to all involved; I wish them well.
Another small publisher
Before we leave the subject of small publishers and opportunities for new writers and self-publishers, you may care to take a look at the Black Fountain web site. Don't get too excited, because this publisher is not open to submissions at the moment. However, the site does contain a lot of good sense for those who are looking for a home for their ms, and offers some useful links.