Writerly Round-Up: January 2019
A New Year, a new title, a new logo. I’m retiring the Potluck Club and replacing it with a monthly Writerly Round-Up. As before, it’s going to be a mix of my own news, plus other snippets from the literary world. I might include occasional articles or interviews, and there will be recommendations from my recent reading.
At the start of this month, I ran through last year’s achievements and the plans for this year. Not a huge amount of fiction writing planned, at least until the back end of the year. But I’ve been keeping my hand in with daily prompts from The Writer’s Toolbox (a Christmas present from some years ago). I’ve turned out one or two pieces of flash fiction recently that I’m quite pleased with – and even had a go at a horror story, which is really outside my comfort zone. I can certainly recommend this sort of exercise if you’re feeling a little blocked or your writing might be getting on the stale side. I’m even having a go at a few short story competitions.
The first draft of The Business of Writing Part 4 Independent Publishing is sitting unfinished on my laptop and tutting at me. I’ve neglected it this month, but will be getting back to it soon. I hope (sorry, I mean intend) to publish it in the summer. More news next month.
Sales and Marketing
I’ve been spending a lot of time this month working my way through the training modules on the Ads for Authors course from Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula. There’s a huge amount of material to digest and I’ve yet to put most of it into practice, but even so, I can report that this month has been one of my best ever so I must be doing something right! And I’ve also started putting my ebooks up directly on some of the major platforms. I’ll talk more about that in the coming months.
Planning has started for two literary festivals I’m involved in this year. Chudleigh Literary Festival will be on Wednesday 10th July and while the programme is still in the early stages of development, we have announced our first guest speaker as Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, aka The Black Farmer. I’m very excited at the prospect of hearing him speak.
The Exeter Literary Festival will be in November for the second year running. Last week, we were delighted to hear that ELF is a finalist in this year’s Exeter Living Awards. This is a well-deserved accolade for the team that started the festival last year, and we will be waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the winners on 7th March.
This year’s Exeter Writers’ Short Story Competition is open for entries NOW. The first prize has been increased this year to £700 and there are other great prizes as well. You have until 28th February to get your entries in.
Book Launch News
Congratulations to Margaret James on the publication of her latest novel. Best-known for her Charton Minster sagas and for her collaboration with Cathie Hartigan on a series of textbooks for Creative Writing students, The Final Reckoning is her first foray into the world of thriller writing. Less gritty than some in the genre, but much more than a cosy murder mystery, the romantic threads sit well within the overall story.
Writers Are Readers Too
I read a lot of Fantasy novels. Or should I say, series, since few books in this genre are ever stand-alones. And most of the books are huge – running into hundreds of pages. I spent several years reading my way through Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. Originally meant to be six books, it grew into a fourteen volume series published between 1990 and 2013. Jordan died in 2007, but left sufficient notes for the series to be completed. The writer who took on that task was Brandon Sanderson. And a huge task, it turned out to be. The intended final book ended up as three volumes. And so well-written were they that the transition from one writer to the next seemed to me to be seamless. If you are looking for a good, meaty read, then this series could be a good one. And it’s about to be turned into a TV series, so it could well be the next Game of Thrones.
But my recommended read for this month is Brandon Sanderson. I have recently read the first two books in his Mistborn series, The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension. In a genre that takes its ideas from mythology and is often accused of being derivative, there are some innovative concepts here. And some great central characters. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and highly recommend them for any lovers of the Fantasy genre.