Archive | January 2013

To self publish

That is the question? I have spent the last week researching the various companies who offer self-publishing. Some of them are the offspring of mainstream publishers, which is an interesting development. One has been trying a very hard sell, constant telephone calls to try and persuade me to take up a package with them. Others are more laid back, and simply give the details of the services they offer and then leave you to make your own mind up. Barristers Wig
Of course like any writer I would love to have some publisher say they wanted to buy my book, but if I self publish does that mean my book is not worth any space on someone’s bookshelf or Kindle. There is a lot of snobbery about self publishing, that only books published by the big publishing houses are properly edited and marketed and therefore are ‘proper’ books. When I look at the diet of books in the bookshops I do wonder if that is correct, there is a mixture of chefs and celebrities everywhere.  Some very good books get little or no marketing when they are published. I can think of two books I have read recently that I had trouble finding in a large branch of Waterstones.
It seems to me that one of  the advantages of publishing ones own book is the time factor. Even of you get an agent it may take time for them to sell the book to a publisher and then the publisher will take some months to actually put your book into the shops.

Then there is question of the amount you can expect to earn from selling the book. I don’t know what writers earn, but not everyone is going to be a best seller and earn millions. Only three years ago we were told that the average earning for a writer were £6000. So stick to the day job seemed to be the message.

The problem is the cost of self publishing to the same standard as the publishing houses, my research reveals it could be around £5000, which I is rather a lot. That would include editing, copy editing, cover design, printing usually a limited number of copies, preparing an e-book and marketing. Still most people can’t afford that amount.

The first stage of self publishing is getting the book professionally edited and I have taken that course today. The first step on what I hope will lead to me having a copy of the book, Crucial Evidence, in my hands in due course.


Winter Birds

Yesterday I stopped at the front door and looked out at the two beds of roses that line the footpath. The roses are low-growing varieties,

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fairy and Ballerina, although there are no flowers only rosehips at this time of year. For a moment I thought the bushes were moving, then I realised the branches were full of tiny birds that looked like the ‘Snitch’ from a Harry Potter novel. They were Long Tailed Tits, small balls of feathers, mainly white with a black streak across their heads and pale rose coloured breasts. I watched them for some minutes as they flew between the bushes,  stopping to cling like acrobats as they pecked at the stems. It was difficult to count them they moved so fast, but I think there must have been about twenty. I have seen them in our garden before, eating seeds from the birdfeeder and flying in and out of our large oak tree, but never so many at once, although I believe they live in social groups. Whatever, they were a delight to see on a chilly winter morning.

By the Seaside

After I posted my haiku ‘Beach Life’ I just had to go to the seaside, so I pushed trying to write the synopsis of my novel to one side and we went to Padstow in Cornwall. After the deluge over the last few months we had a clear day. The tide was very low so we walked along the beaches of the estuary towards the sea. In the distance a line of waves breaking into surf showed where the bar held the sea back. The sand is a deep gold-beige, but as we got nearer to the sea it began to shift under our feet, and our footprints made deep impressions. Rudi, even on four paws, was unhappy, afraid of being held fast by the wet sand, so we headed back into town for lunch at a Michelen listed restaurant. Mussels in a broth, followed by mackerel with beetroot and orange salad.

Padstow HarbourPadstow is on the west side of the river and the sun didn’t flood the scene with light until after lunch, when I took this photograph of the boats in the harbour.

I loved the bright colour of the hulls and the buoys.

And how lovely  to feel the sun on my face.

PS has anyone got some good

tips on how to write a synopsis

Boats in Padstow harbour

Boats in Padstow harbour

Beach Life

A large promotional deckchair on the Western E...

A large promotional deckchair on the Western Esplanade at Ryde, Isle of Wight, there to promote a business hiring out deckchairs to tourists for use on the beach at Ryde. For a comparison, a standard size deckchair can be seen next to it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beach Life


Wet suited surfer

rides the wild and rolling waves

toward the sandy beach


Children build sand castles

with painted bucket and spade

by waters edge


Large male in white shirt

knotted handkerchief on head

sleeps slumped in deckchair


Teenage girl in shorts

turquoise T shirt and flip flops

slowly eats ice cream


Baby on all fours

crawling fast along the beach

pursued by father.


Dressed in purple

elderly lady wrestles

with striped deckchair.


Young woman wrapped

in beach towel wriggles

to remove bathing suit.

This time of year it’s good to dream.