Tuesday, December 18, 2012
For writers used to presenting a book manuscript as a Microsoft Word and having
it appear on the bookshelves, the DIY of e-publishing can be daunting.
But not impossible. If you're short of time or not into digitalising, employ the experts. Okay, so it costs money - varying amounts, and of course you've to find that expert. But as writers we're used to research -and e-book publishing is a project that needs to be researched.
I bit the e-publishing bullet a few months ago with these titles, and can report that so far I'm pleased with sales which wouldn't otherwise be happening if they weren't available in e-book format.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Novelist and playwright Jennifer Johnston whose books are a constant delight,
was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Joseph O'Connor. John
|Jennifer Johnston with Joseph O'connor|
politician Mary O'Rourke's autobiography, was RTE John Murray's Show Listeners'
Choice; Crime Fiction Book of the Year is 'Broken Harbour' by Tana French - no
surprise there, it's unputdownable; a writer to watch and Newcomer of the Year is
Donal Ryan with 'The Spinning Heart'; Eoin Colfer's 'Artemis Fowl: The Last
Guardian' takes Children's Book of the Year, Senior, and the last in the series,
The Bord Gais Energy bookshop of the Year is Bridge Street Books in the town of Wicklow. It is run with passion by Hilary Hamilton who is surrounded by a dedicated team of book lovers who are as passionate about reading as they are at recommending 'reads' to their customers.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Gormley and Caroline McCall, was launched last night with great gusto. Dubray's
book shop in Dublin's Grafton Street was packed to the rafters with well wishers,family, friends and writing colleagues. As a token of Caroline and Eileen's thanks, Penguin's Patricia Deevy accepted a rose, a white feather and an unknown object in a dainty box which caused blushes and laughter in equal measure.
As the wine and conversation flowed and the tills rang with sales, The Pleasures moved for the second week into no. 3 in the Irish best seller list and its running at similar in iTunes. Yes, it's succeeding where so many other titles failed in knocking all those Shades...off their perch.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Fiction sales have dropped 2.1 per cent to €25.5 million and non-fiction is down a whopping more than 14 per cent to €35.6 million, although non-fiction sales are expected to rally for Christmas.
But the good news is that sales of children's books are up 1.1 to €21 million.
Friday, October 26, 2012
She is giving a talk on Saturday 3 November at the Pavilion Theatre in Dunlaoghaire and I hear there's still a few tickets available
Thursday, October 25, 2012
• "We do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market"(Moby Dick, Melville)
• "The work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples" (Virginia Woolf, then
editor of the Hogarth Press, rejecting Joyce'sUlysses).
• "No reader interest" (W.H. Allen & Company's reason for rejecting Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal, which would go on to sell over ten million copies).
• J.R.R. Tolkien's manuscript of The Lord of the Rings was refused by three
publishers; in 1954, only 3,500 copies of it were published.
• One Hundred Years of Solitude by García Márquez was rejected by Seix
Barral in Barcelona and impolitely returned to him initialled by "an obscure official".
• The first Sherlock Holmes book, as Conan Doyle recalled, "returned with the regularity of a homing pigeon".
The world would be a poorer place without the above titles. I interviewed Frederick Forsythh when he was living in Ireland and if I remember rightly he had about 18 rejections before finally hitting the jackpot!
Monday, October 22, 2012
English woman winning with a sequel - but what a sequel. Bring
of Anne Boleyn and gives a new meaning and twist to historical fiction.
Elsewhere in prizeland, the Orange Prize has lost its long-term sponsorship, is being renamed the Women's Prize for Fiction and rumour is that it will be funded by private donors including Cherie Blair; author Joanna Trollope and Christopher Foyle of Foyles bookshops. The 2012 award worth £30,000 was won by Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles.
The Pen/Pinter awards went to British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy who nominated A Woman in the Crossfire by Syrian writer, Samar Yazbek, who fearful for her daughter's safety has fled Syria and is living in exile. Interestingly this award is unique in that a British winner is selected by a panel of judges and then chooses an 'international writer of courage' to share the prize.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Pleasures of Winter, hailed as 'erotic and sensual', is the book tipped to knock '50 Shades...' and it sequels off the bestseller list. And I am holding an advance copy hot off the presses.
Evie Hunter is the writing name of Eileen Gormley and Caroline McCall, both talented writers who work successfully on their own and together within a varied range of genres, though most recently both are tickled by erotica.
The story is one of the obsession and torment of ace reporter Abbie Marshall with Irish actor Jack Winter.
Monday, October 15, 2012
First time author John O'Keeffe had a packed launch for his debut novel Searching for Ami in Dublin's Royal College of Physicians, attended by Dublin's medical glitterati, family and friends. The hallowed book-lined walls of its library rang with laughter and echoed with chat and reminiscences as wine was drunk and nibbles consumed.
The formality of launch speech was by ombudsperson Emily O'Reilly; publication was by Red Rock Press; the reviews so far are hailing Searching for Ami as a superb and compelling thriller; it's available in all good bookshops and online.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
All you have to do is log onto bordgaisenergybookclub.ie and vote for your best loved bookstore.
Don't we love our bookstores and aren't we delighted to enjoy browsing, getting advice on the best, most compelling and spiciest reads from the every knowledgeable staff?
So in these recessionary times why not give them a boost by casting a vote...
More than 240 stores are vying to be named Ireland's favourite bookstore in the competition which is decided by your online vote.
You have until Sunday October 14th to cast your vote, and there's a selection of prizes including holiday vouchers and free electricity for some of the lucky voters
Friday, October 5, 2012
Felicity's Wedding is the story of a contemporary Irish family. Felicity's wedding is the catalyst that causes havoc, wrecks relationships and forces everyone to reassess their lives. It is based on fact, on a story I heard as an 11-year old child with a penchant for eavesdropping.When first published is was book club choice in Germany.
A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton is too based on fact but has ended up as a somewhat fictionalised account of the short, colourful life of Kate Kelly who lived from 1854-1882. She was mistress and muse and only love of French painter Jacques Tissot and their very open love affair scandalised Victorian morals.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Information was exchanged, tales told, publishers and agents analysed, book sales scrutinised, trays of sandwiches devoured and a great time had by all.
Main Panel Sessions with Q & A were the topical What Sells HF? The Lying Art - tensions and issues at the fact/fiction interface; Brawn v Heart and The Many Faces of HF. The panelists were lively mix throwing out tips on getting published, the current market, the power of sandals, sand and sword v the Tudors, and the situation regarding e-books and their marketing came up again and again.
Monday, September 24, 2012
The good news is there are still places for Spring and Summer 2013 where we'll be covering Characters and Editing.
This course which is geared towards writers and would-be writers is part of UCD's Adult Education Programme. It takes place in Carysfort Campus - the nicest campus and with the best coffee in the country - on Wednesday mornings from 10 o'clock to noon.
Further details from Adult Education: phone (01) 716 7123 or www.ucd.ie/adulted. And of course you're welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, September 22, 2012
But a well designed website works wonders.look no further than best selling author Cecelia Ahern's website owned by Greenlight Go Ltd which in turn is 99 pc owned by Cecelia with the other 1 pc owned by her husband. Started in 2010 the company by September 2011 had accumulated profits of €1.5m.
Not satisfied with this success the enterprising duo have set up Red Robin Productions to make and produce movies.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Last evening saw the launch of Marita Conlon McKenna's Love, Lucie. Despite having made her name as a children's author, this is her first children's book in a while. Judging by the attendance, enthusiasm, marketing, posters and general air of excitement at the launch which was held in the Grafton Street branch of Dubray, it will be yet another success for her.
Friday, September 7, 2012
is the biggest publishing phenomenon since Harry Potter hit
But no longer is EL James, the English housewife author of
those Shades having it all her own way. In a surprising move
for such a traditional publisher Penguin Ireland commissioned
two Dublin women from to write an Irish equivalent.
Eileen Gormley and Caroline McCall took the call to arms seriously. They spent much of the summer locked in writing combat battling to get the required 95,000 words. In keeping with the dedicated writers they are, they succeeded.
The Pleasures of Winter is scheduled to lift sales of the Christmas market for Penguin who has not had a happy summer and autumn sales-wise. Meanwhile Eileen and Caroline, prolific and skilled writers of various genres, are busy penning another...Well we'll just have to wait and see.....Won't we?
I should assure on the broad bases of the Irish Times, Independent
Group, Irish Examiner and the majority of magazines ranging
from women's to business - I'm following with keen interest the
rise and rise of digital journalism.
Recent ABC figures make grim reading with sales of most titles heavily down: The Irish Independent plummeted to below 100,000, The Times in region of 70,000, Belfast Telegraph around 40,000. Given the additional slump in advertising, now is not a good time to be involved in newspapers.
Enter salvation in the form of Leslie Buckley who last year made Irish corporate history by being voted off Independent News & Media (INM) and now in an extraordinary reversal of fortune he has been reappointed INM as chairman.
His plan is to bring the newspaper business into the digital sector. It's already being done and well buy the Irish Independent under the editorship of Noirin Hegarty who did such a splendid job at the now defunct Sunday Tribune. Another newspaper on the up and up digitally is the Daily Mail, edited by Martin Clarke; it has loads of celebrity gossip, lifestyle features and women's interest stories than it's print cousin.
(Note: I am indebted to Stephen Price's column in the Sunday Times for some of this information)
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton who lived from 1854 to 1882 and packed so much living into her short life has hit the e-book market. It's a great read - if I, as its author, may say so.
Kate is such a delightful character that when I finished researching, writing and the interminable editing I missed her company.
All I need now is for e-readers to buy. When first published it was well received on all fronts, garnered good reviews and I'm having a great time giving talks, seminars etc about Kate and the Victorian era.
Getting A Type of Beauty professionally uploaded is an interesting exercise. I used eBookPartnership.com - Matt and Diana Horner were both professional and helpful.
Friday, August 31, 2012
The more I think about this course, the more pleased I am that over the year from September to May we will have the opportunity to complete and self-edit a work of long fiction. Of course, that's for those attending who wish to achieve that. Others may just want to write short pieces or short stories and feel their way along the many pathways of writing.
One aspect of these Wednesday mornings I'm sure of is that the combustive power of the group will benefit anyone even remotely interested in writing. You can' get but be caught up in the heady joy of creating...
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Today I came across Kirsty Stonell Walker, art historian, based in the UK with a fascination for 19th century artists and their women. She's particularly interested in Kathleen Newton, of course the subject of my last book titled A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton who lived from 1854 to 1882, now available as a Kindle edition.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
But writers are still writing and unknowns continue to polish their skills.
Out of the blue comes Irish Penguin flapping excitedly. The publishing giant suffered all summer when sales of their 49 bestsellers plummeted while erotic best seller Fifty Shades of Grey and its follow-ups dominated the holiday sales market. Here it has to be said that Penguin's e-book sales have grown by a formidable 33%. Basking in that success it determined to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas market. With this in mind it commissioned blush fiction writers Eileen Gormley and Caroline McCall to pen a blockbuster that would knock Fifty Shades... off its perch.
The two Irish writers who are primarily published in e-format by USA publishers holed up both together and separately. They wrote and wrote. Within a few weeks and on time they delivered the 95k manuscript which is due out in November. The title is believed to be The Pleasures of Winter...
What more could we want???
Having self-published A Type of Beauty - well with the help of a UK publishing consultancy, the next logical step was to have it available as a Kindle edition. I duly adapted the pdf version and downloaded it and the cover. Inside it looked a mess and didn't sell well, whereas I am consistently delighted with sales of the paperback.
But now...e-hope is riding high as both mobi and epub editions make it available even more worldwide than previously.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
This year I've a new course titled Anatomy of Writing Successful Fiction with focus over the 3 terms interlinked and complimentary, running from September to May. My idea is that those attending Carysfort Campus on Wednesday mornings from 10 o'clock to noon - coffee break too - will end the year with a book, if they so wish.
Yes, a completed book. But participants will have to work as novels don't write themselves!!!
Over the first term we're looking at Plotting & Planning, the current trend in publishing being away from primarily character-led fiction and into page-turning plot. But as writers we can't get away from Characters and setting various scenes in the right Locations adds immensely to any story; so over the second term our title is People & Places. And I am delighted to be able to tell all of you who so often ask - we've a few intensive weeks of Editing in the third term.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
So far I've avoided it but couldn't avoid hearing that Box of Grey is a newly set up company who delivers bondage kits to your door. And I hear on the grapevine that the business is shuddering to an impressive climax....
Friday, July 27, 2012
There appear to be fewer internationally acclaimed award-winning writers speaker at the Festival this year. A pity as these names are a huge draw and they are guaranteed to attract the interest of novelists and authors
Writer of award winning historical novels, Phillipa Gregory speaking on Friday evening is my first choice. She holds a PhD for her work on 18th century novels and their readership, and in Ireland she's probably best known for her Tudor series including The Other Boleyn Girl. I've also booked for the two Americans: Elizabeth Stroud and Richard Bausch who are opening the Festival on Tuesday evening. Elizabeth won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009, as well as a raft of other accolades. Richard has written 10 novels and seven collections of stories, and his work receives enormous critical acclaim. My last but by no means least choice is titled 'when Borgen met Mad Men', chaired by Rachel Flanagan. I adored the Mad Men series and can't wait to hear what the Emmy-award winning creator of that and other highly popular TV series such as Murphy Brown, Living Single has to say on the creative process.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Broken Harbour by Irish author Tara French - author of superb crime novels - has achieved this distinction. Last week Broken Harbour hit number 99 on Amazon's US chart thanks to the strength of its pre-orders. It may not be due for publication in the States until next week but already it has garnered a rave review from The New York Times
Thursday, July 19, 2012
He points out that from the time of Aristotle, through to Shakespeare onto Elizabeth Bowen and bang up to date with the the customers of Xtra-vision, plot is one of the most important components of fiction but that it's being neglected for character. He maintains the main function of character is to produce plot.
Literary agents Darley Anderson agree with him. Some time ago the word went out that if anyone had a great story line they should approach the London agency. And no it was not necessary to write the story: having a plot was enough. I never heard what, if anything, happened.....
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I think fondly of Sunday Miscellany, one of RTE 1's longest running, most successful and best loved programmes. After all it was where I cut my broadcasting teeth under the generous wing of Maxwell Sweeney, producer at the time. He brought me to the radio centre and with the greatest of patience explained the difference between writing features pieces for newspapers and magazines, which I was doing at the time, and for the listened word. He taught me well as I went on to write scores of SM pieces, made radio documentaries and wrote a few plays as well as short stories, all for the radio.
Friday, July 13, 2012
The society is primarily USA-based but has a strong UK arm. Courtesy of the indefatigable Dianne Trimble we have an Irish arm - democratically operated too as we meet in both Belfast and Dublin.
HNS's London conference has an incredible line up of authors and industry experts with loads of opportunities for networking and socialising, as well. With the changing face of publishing we writers need to know everything we can about the industry...and more.
Speakers include Sarah Dunnat, internatonal bestselling author of 11 novels, translated into 30 languages: J D Davies, author of ‘The journals of Matthew Quinton’, series of naval historical fiction and Elizabeth Chadwick, author of 20 award-winning novels.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Apparently our Office of Public Works commissioned Dr Desmond McCabe in 2002 to write a history of the OPW. The completion date was 2004 and the budget a whopping €76,184. Time passed and costs mounted to €400,000. Dr McCabe's request to extend the deadline to 2019 led to the decision to scrap the project.
But our canny OPW thought again; it could not allow all to be lost. So in October 2011 a book titled St Stephen's Green 1660-1875 by Dr Desmond McCabe emerged from the ashes of the project.
Copies retail at €35. To date less than 500 have been sold. The net cost to each Irish taxpayer works out at €900. Nice work Dr McCabe, if you can get it!
Monday, June 25, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
I love writing fact-led fiction or novelization, as I've seen it recently described.
Before leaving Dublin with a series of maps I plotted Bruce's likely route to Eileen Gray's apartment. I wanted to be sure of the most minute detail - cobblestones or asphalt, street width, buildings and above all atmosphere.
I retraced his footsteps from the Louvre, crossing the Seine by Pont des Arts, imagining the way he looked through the slats of wood at the cold green river beneath his highly polished shoes - according to his wife, Elizabeth, he had a thing about polished shoes, with the domed elegance of the Institute de France facing him. He'd have turned right onto Quai Conti and into Quai Malaquaise where'd he'd have crossed the street to rue Bonaparte, walking up along the left footpath to no 21, the impressive hotel particuler, where #EileenGray lived for more than 70 years.
The high green gates leading to No 21 are opened, trucks are pulled up outside, workmen moving backwards and forwards, carrying various plastic-wrapped packages through the canopied entrance to the right, where I believe Eileen had her 4-roomed apartment. It looks as though the tiny entrance hall and that apartment is undergoing a giant renovation. I ask for permission to go into the apartment. The men look at me incomprehensibly - I go in anyway. It's quite wonderful - her ghost still lingers - I'm sure of it, but I can't stay as the 'boss', a sturdy, no-nonsense man is thumbing me out of the door and down the stairs.....
Monday, May 21, 2012
It is the first time councils bundled their library services into one big contract and Irish booksellers are fearful other authorities will do the same. Booksellers argue, and rightly so, that it is environmentally inefficient for Bertrams to import books from Ireland, apply library date labels, stamps and barcodes; cover or laminate teh books, and then ship back to Dublin. Even worse it looks as though Irish publishers could be expected to give bigger discounts to Bertrams as a wholesaler.
Dunlaoghaire/Rathdown is unaplogetic, saying it is legally obliged to pursue EU procurement procedures when buying library books.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Title: Anatomy of Successful Editing - 17 April to
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
WRITING WORKSHOPS, 2012-2013
Where: UCD Adult Education : Carysfort Campus
When: Wednesday mornings 10.00 am to 12.00 pm
Title: Anatomy of Writing Successful Fiction (1): Plotting & Planning - 26 September to
Writing successful contemporary fiction is an acquired skill. The purpose of this course is to assist writers to complement their creativity by finding and use the skills of Plotting & Planning to construct dynamic storylines and to realise their writing dreams.
Successful Plotting is the keynote of contemporary fiction and thrives on good Planning. Plot is what happens in the story, the sequence of events that occurs as characters attempt to solve problems or reach goals. But successful Plotting needs shape and form. This is where the Planning part of Anatomy of Writing Successful Fiction comes in to ensure vibrant arc of story, dynamic beginning, middle and end; purpose, reason for being and ensuring at the end of the plot that change has occurred. Skilled Planning of Plotting maximises storyline.
Title: Anatomy of Writing Successful Fiction (2): People & Places - 30 January to
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
The “classical” language regions of the brain are involved in how the brain interprets written words. Scientists now realize that narratives activate other parts of our brains, suggesting why words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those dealing with smells. Researchers in Spain had participants read words with odour associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned. The words “perfume” and “coffee,” caused the subjects’ primary olfactory cortex to light up; whereas with “chair” and “key,” this region remained dark.
Recently it was discovered that when people read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, becomes active. Metaphors like “The singer had a velvet voice” and “He had leathery hands” roused the sensory cortex, while same-meaning phrases, “The singer had a pleasing voice” and “He had strong hands,” did not. Confirming the golden rule of fiction to show, not tell.
words describing motion stimulate different regions of the brain from the language-processing areas. The brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like “John grasped the object” and “Paul kicked the ball.” The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body’s movements. This activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement was arm-related and in another part when it concerned the leg.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life - the same neurological regions are stimulated. Fiction — with its similes, metaphors and descriptions of people and their actions offers a rich replica of life. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter into other people’s thoughts and feelings.
The novel is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.
a psychologist at York University in Canada, concluded there was overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks navigating interactions with other people. Scientists call this “theory of mind.” Fiction offers an opportunity to engage in this, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies.
Studies show that readers of fiction are better able to understand, empathize with people and see the world from their perspective, even accounting for the likelihood that more empathetic people read novels. A 2010 study found a similar result in preschool-age children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their theory of mind.
This material originated by Annie Murphy Paul and passed to me by Mary Ann Williams, currently studying writing at Trinity College Dublin.
Monday, March 19, 2012
I have to decline to comment on poetry, as I don't know what's regarded as good and what's bad. But I do enjoy reading it and my taste varies from contemporary to the work of poets from centuries past.
Out of the Fog, an Illustrated Poetry Collection, is Galway-based dentist Brian O'Connell's second anthology. His first was Inside. Both are published by Blurb (http://www.blurb.com/) and available to read or/and to buy from that website. Illustrations are by his wife, Pam, a successful artist in her own right and who has showed internationally.
The verses in Out of the Fog are dark, short, poignant and cut-to-the-quick. Titles include Shadow, Invitation beyond Pain, funeral, Bi-Polar, Lazarus. There is no laugh-aloud or feel-good factor in them. They are sparsely written, with each appropriate word moving forwad the subject matter.
Brian O'Connell and his poetry would be a welcome addition at any of the many poetry festivals that will be taking place throughout the country over the next few months.
Monday, February 27, 2012
It's the story of heroineTanith Jasson's betrayal by human Jake Svenson on the orders of his Captain. Tanith being a strong Cyraelian woman with "a little extra something" takes her revenge and in the process has a series of gripping adventures.
Cover features Beckham lookalikes - not a bad ploy!!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
His titles are Kembali - Return of the Mystic and Kembali - Into Unchartered Waters. Book 3 is due to be launched within the next few months. These beautifully written stories are thought-provoking and gripping. It is well worth taking a wander through the Magic Forest with its Dragon and Unicorn which may be beyond our conception of reality, as may be the worlds of Malaysian and Indonesian magic with Sky Walkers and Talking Ants. Taki's stories are indulgent fantasies of delight.
Dr Taki is self-publishing and aiming for the e-book market in the future. Originally from Singapore but now living in Ireland, he is a medical doctor and practitioner of accupuncture, as well as writing poetry, painting, student of martial arts and a linguist.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
It's edifying to be able to report success. And I can. Over the past year several of the emerging writers I've worked with have had a spate of publishing contracts followed by the mandatory and so enjoyable book launches as well as short story prize winners.
On 1 February I'm back on my favourite campus. UCD's Carysfort with a writing course titled Building Story People - Creating Fictional Characters. Characters are the royalty of fiction. This course facilitates the creation of memorable characters and ensures participants acquire the skills to do so.
Due to popular demand I'm also running an updated version of online course titled Writing Historical Fiction which already has resulted in success. Congratulations to Patricia Byrne whose story, Veiled Woman of Achill which will be published by Collins Press in the spring.