The Myths of Publishing

Jan Ruth

Self-Publishing is a Last Resort.

No. To self-publish or operate as an Individual Publisher or an Indie, is often the best creative choice. Without the shackles of commercial pressure, genre-blending or your own personal genre, is the new kid on the block! The author retains global selling rights across all platforms and retains the majority share of any royalties. Most importantly, the author is in complete control of the entire process, from designing the cover to organising events, to advertising and pacing the release of new material. The more you invest of yourself the greater the opportunity for growth, development, and experience, not only as a writer through valuable on-line networking but in all aspects of the publishing world.

Depending on your technical skills, it’s quite possible to design your own covers and 13735790_873470892758672_4699674544226635043_opromotional material using a range of high quality software, some of which is accessible for free…

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Being on the Radio


Today I’ve been talking about the Live Age Festival  on Curtain Call on 6Towns Radio. For once I had to manage without my sidekick, Jan Edwards who is at Fantasy Con in Scarborough.

It seemed very odd to be driving to Burslem at four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon on my own. Even stranger when nothing went wrong in the studio. Jan has a way with electrical stuff that is nothing short of spooky.

I missed our banter, but Becs and Rob more than made up for my lack of partner. Talking to them is like chatting to friends. It’s all so easy and friendly that I soon forget that there are other people out there listening to what I have to say. So much so that I might just have let a guilty secret slip, but if you want to know what that is you’ll have to catch up with the programme.


How to sell ten books in an afternoon.


“Picking up the Pieces” is a novel about friendship, cake and the mutual support that only lifelong friends can provide. What could be better than to launch it with a tea party inviting friends old and new to celebrate my new book.

For those friends that lived some distance away, I sent emails, for those close by I printed out invitations which I attached to promotional postcards I’d had printed.

Handing these to old friends was easy, what was more difficult was knocking on my neighbours, doors to ask them if they’d like to come to the launch. To my delight they all accepted. The offer of coffee, cake and wine may have had something to do with it, but I did make it clear that books would be on sale. Buying one, however, was not compulsory.

As it turned out, everyone did go home with a copy.

So ten books were sold and I had a great time doing it.It was good to see friends I’d not been in touch with for a while, but what was even better was the way they all got on together. I even managed to introduce people who had lived in the same street for years but had never met each other!

What did I learn?

First, target your readers. “Picking up the Pieces” is about three women of a certain age and more likely to appeal to a female readership, so all my guests were women friends, though I did allow cakes to be taken home for the men in their lives.

Secondly, bake. Cake is always good, but if you can’t bake then buy.

Thirdly, wine. Helps to break the ice and is good for the toast.

Fourthly, treat the launch as a social occasion, rather than a selling opportunity.

And last of all, enjoy. If you have a good time, your guests will too.



Does J K Rowling do Housework?

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone

Does JK Rowling do Housework?

The thought came to me while I was vacuuming the other day; does J K Rowling do housework? She must have done at one stage, before she became mega-famous and super-rich. A state of life many of us writers can only dream about.

Years ago, to be a full time writer was the height of my ambition. It would, surely be bliss, not to have to go to work every day, but to be able to sit and write the stories that whirled around in my head at the moment they made their presence felt, instead of making a hasty note or two and hoping there would be time after tea, when the kids were finally in bed and the next day’s preparation completed.

Now, I’m not so sure that sitting at the computer all day is such a good idea. This is where housework comes in. The writer Margaret Forster was famed for cleaning her own house and not delegating household chores. She never said, as far as I know, why, but I’m beginning to understand.

Doing housework frees the mind. Many of my best ideas come when I’m doing some practical day to day task. My sub-conscious gets to work and I often have to stop to run to the computer, or scribble something down on paper. These mundane jobs also give me time to reflect on the progress of a novel, or story, in way I simply don’t when sitting in front of a screen.

Housework also takes up time. This may seem counter-intuitive, but like many other writers I can find it hard to resist the temptation of social media and the internet. The less time I have, however, the more likely I am to get down to the writing. I will also concentrate more intensely, if my time is limited.

So I’m with Margaret Forster; a moderate amount housework is good, a useful tool for a writer.

As for J K, I suspect she has other people to clean and tidy her house. Perhaps they even deal with social media on her behalf. Who knows?

Annie’s Adventure in Agnone

Reading this put a smile on my face. Thank you Barry.

Being Britalian

Once a year my friend, ‘The Lovely Annie’ as I refer to her comes over to Italy to join me in an adventure. Now our adventures are not high octane or feats that could prove life threatening. There’s no diving from ridiculous heights into vats of cooling tagliatelle or climbing Italian mountains dressed in traditional Alpini uniforms, our adventures are of the more sedate variety. This year’s adventure is to visit a town neither of us have been to before.  We mix the excitement up with a decision to leave the safety of our region of Abruzzo and cross the border into Molise. So on a hot and sunny August morning we set off for Angnone, a town we’ve randomly chosen – gripping isn’t it?

The journey takes us about 45 minutes and very soon we’re over the border into the Isernia province of the much maligned and often ignored…

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