Apr 22nd

Will 99-Cent E-Books Destroy The World As We Know It?

By dgaughran

In today's post I look at Amanda Hocking, John Locke, and the rise of the 99 cent e-book. I cover criticisms that this is a race to the bottom that will ultimately devalue books in readers' eyes, and I finish by outlining strategies to succeed at higher price points.

There are a lot of people getting worked up about cheap e-books. But I am here today to tell you the sky isn’t falling.

Let’s rewind.

When an author or publisher uploads their work to Amazon (and the rest of the e-tailers), they are free to choose the price that they sell at. With most companies, the minimum price you can sell at is 99 cents. Until recently, only a small portion of writers were choosing to sell their work at this price, mostly new writers, without an established audience, hoping to build a following.

On paper, that’s a good strategy, although other writers have complained that this was a race to the bottom, and that they were being priced out of the market.

Read the rest of Will 99-Cent E-Books Destroy The World As We Know It?  

Apr 22nd

A prayer for Mrs Hooper

By Nibs

This blog isn't about me.

I'm writing this blog to request everyone who reads it to spare a thought and a prayer for Mrs Hooper who was a passenger in Denise's car along with Denises husband and both foster children as it skidded off the road and plunged into the depths of the lake whilst holidaying in mid Wales.
All but Denise perished in this terrible accident. 
The story has even reached the national news. 
Mrs Hooper had been a customer at my sisters hairdressers on Barry road for decades.
She was a deeply religious lady.
The fostered boys were well known and liked by everyone who knew them.
Denise's husband was also very well liked and loved.  It has been repeatedly and truthfully said that these were good kind people.
This accident has been a dreadful shock to fellow customers at the hairdressers and neighbours alongside the relatives and friends.

I'm also sure I don't ask too much of folk to send their love and healing prayers to Denise herself, to help her come to terms with it all.
And help her through this very sad time.
God Bless


added note
accident happened at Llyn Clywedog resevoir, near Llandidloes - Powys

Apr 22nd

Poetry: In The Way It Is Written

Something about not writing keeps me in touch with the desire to write. As if the manner in which we stay confuses me into staying more. As if now, without writing, we think about it less and less. Pretty soon, we will have to release the things we write about. The subjects are all shy, it seems, until you find worth in almost anything. Kindness you haven't previously seen.


Even then, just to confuse yourself, you let words in often. Now you are a poet because you could at last let poetry go for however it doesn't need you yet.


Sometimes you agree with yourself too much and it defies you. Poetry cannot be in a house with you now. You need it to be with you.


Poetry cannot wait in sequences.


And you cannot move forward, not yet—enough for poems to appear.


It used to come with intention. Now more often, it is leisure of the mind. You don't need to find it lazy or adjectival—you just know you have to.


It is public in the instinctual sense. And with this, you are ready, as ready to breathe words into something else too wordy to come to you as thought.


The evening is clearing and you've written something.


Not poetry. Only words.


And language you use so much. Not to affect anyone.


You realise too that no one may understand—and you care just enough. You thank the people with your speech, their attributes with your silence—your shyness remains shy even in language.


And you are not trying to be different from anyone. And some may consider it strange, pride misplaced. How else can you arrive with it, but with it?


When I think I've run out of poems to write, I forget everyone. There is a reason—then, there is not even that. No reason to write. Why should there be one for poetry? For writing poems. It just comes like a breathing delayed then remembered for what it is.


Poetry doesn't have me. When I think I don't have it, it is there at once with held breath and foregone decisions. Something to change like reason to further reason. Like power to powerlessness—in a second that flies by without you.


All you are left with is a blank page and poetry that exchanges language with words then nothing after that.


If it is written down, you read it like a second occasion. A second inspiration. It is finally not yours. Only something that came from you.


And also not only from you.


Poetry has an origin. You are not beginning nor anywhere it can end with.


Is it wisdom? Yes. Wisdom and knowledge taken together to forgive you with hope.


Wherever poetry enhances and where you falter, you calculate whatever cannot be confused. Where can you be? And there is no success when you expect so much of here, and none of what's here.


Then you arrange then's and there's and forget time and place. You reiterate the possible like the sun. Then the moon heats up the night while the dark sustains and suspects—and you are the witness to this falling, this wherever turning and never compromising.


Sometimes, just before you give up, there you are with nothing you want. Thankful for thankfulness, the way you can still live on the strength given you. How did you know luck when you seem excessively come upon like the dark which grows frantic with giving?


You want peace and war comes like peace for once.


For the one who courses into you lightly.


For the third twos who refuse like you are also there.

Anyway—a word to be disguised with everything.

Anyway—one compound word complex with vagueness.


Today, you hadn't thought of poetry until you wrote a few words. How is it with it? Handle with care the attitude involved with going about your business.


You like to let poetry be. Where it resides, you allow for nothing else. There is no suspicion in poetry—only what you can't be.


Here, poetry is eloquent along with your wisdom.


Can anybody take that away?


You write it down to remind you that where speaking allows, you cannot disavow. And poetry is silence in the way it is written.


Apr 22nd

high as can be, sittin' on a cloud.

By zomb00
Wrote the introduction to a new short story I'm working on, researched the characters a bunch, created a pretty likeable set of personalities to bulk them up a little, got the location all figured out . . . all that it's lacking is a story. Guess there's nothing else but for me to leave it for now, put it in that place where 'past-ideas' get to rest before a 'eureka!' moment immortalizes them in text for all eternity.

This seems a little empty, so, to stir some conversation, how do you encourage creativity?

I figure I'll just wait for another idea to come to mind, then just interlink them. Most of my stories are actually seperate past-ideas woven together. How do you do it?
Apr 21st

Our First Festival Freebie Favourites

By Harry
A happy Easter to one n'all - and some good news.

All Festival goers were promised that three lucky people would be picked for free extra help & support by the WW. We've picked the first two of those:

  • Kerry Fisher. Who won the comp on Saturday night, and got an agent very interested in her completed project ... but not quite interested enough to offer representation. That agent is, however, very keen to see Kerry's WIP, so we've promised to help Kerry with that, as soon as she's ready for us.
  • Our very own John Onceupon. His MS has dangled tantalisingly close to publication standard for a while, but he's got one agent very interested in his work - and with a bit more editorial work from him and a good old shove from the WW's finest, I've every hope that he'll finally gets the success he deserves
It's been brilliant being able to pick out people for help like this. Truth is, we've already had amazing success in securing Festival-goers representation (I've got more good news to announce on that front shortly), so it's lovely to be able to give a leg-up to the almost-but-not-quite-yet people.

Kerry and John have every chance of making the grade, I'd say, and it'll be an honour for us to help em get there.
Apr 21st

Judging a writing competition

By EmmaD
I'm judging the Frome Festival Short Story competition this year - details here -  and I was asked to do an interview on BBC Radio Somerset about it, which might interest people who are wondering whether comps are worth it, how (some) judges (well, this judge) think, and what it's all about. It's on Listen Again here:


and it's 1.40hrs in.

It was a good interview, which is chiefly down to the presenter. Whenever I do interviews of this sort I'm always impressed again by the professionalism that underlies this kind of daily general programme; how presenters can switch from topic to topic, with the briefest of briefings, talk to people in a different studio 100 miles away, and weave it all into something agreeable and easy to listen to, beats me

Apr 21st

"I've written something really stupid"

By Harry
Thought you'd enjoy this email that I recently received from one of our editors:

I thought you'd like to hear how my latest client, _____,  discovered your fine literary consultancy.
He says he knew nothing about getting published, but enjoyed Harry Potter, so the obvious thing was to ring Bloomsbury. So he rang Bloomsbury, as you do, and said 'Listen, I've written something really stupid.  What should I do with it?"
Their response?  "Well, whatever you do, don't send it to us!  Send it to The Writers' Workshop."
Which, of course he did.
Apr 21st

Double Agents?

By dgaughran
In our mad dash around the new publishing landscape, there’s one group we have only mentioned in passing: agents.

Nothing in the publishing world inspires more diverse reactions than the mention of agents.

For some, agents are the holy grail, the star-makers, the gatekeepers to the dream factory. Others are less kind, and I won’t repeat their opinions, but suffice to say they view agents as amoral Svengalis who, like recruitment agents, have created a need for their services where before there was none, and are an additional, superfluous barrier between writers and publishers (and readers).

The truth is somewhere in the middle, and agents, like any profession, run the full gamut of experience, ability, and propriety. There are some that can send your career into the stratosphere, and there are others where you would have been better off having no agent at all.

But what future do agents have in a digital world?  How will agents survive as more and more people decide to self-publish?  How are some agents preparing for the future?  And how is this causing the beginning of a split in the agenting community?

Read my blog post to find out: Double Agents?


Apr 21st

Eau de Book, anyone?

By Harry
A little spritz of Karl Lagerfeld's latest and you could smell like anything you like.

A splash of Conan Doyle? A whiff of Twilight? A drop or two of Wuthering Heights for the romantic-but-self-destructive?

So - let's have suggestions for (i) which book Lagerfeld should use as the basis for his perfume, and (ii) what the resulting product should be called ...
Apr 21st

Travel Insurance

By Gels
Don't you like it when your Insurance company just, says it like it is....thought this was funny :) taken from 'World Nomads Travel Insurance' :) 

Think they have had a a few annoying, past claims!

Am I covered?

The aim of the game is to do as much as you can to keep yourself safe. Having your medical bills paid is little consolation if you are stuck in a foreign hospital or have to cut your trip short.

Here are some general rules:

1. Pretend for a moment that you don't have any travel insurance.
How would you behave? Act as though you are uninsured! This mind-set is a good way not to ever have use of our excellent services.

Keep your belongings safe, and if they really mean a lot to you, don't ever let them get out of reach.

2. Accidents happen: stupidity doesn't
Say, you meet a 'friend', agree to engage in sexual activity and as a result wake up in the morning with no bag, passport and a headache, are you covered? It depends. MAYBE, you are covered for unprovoked assault by a third party, and you would probably be covered for replacement of your personal belongings, but NO, we wouldn't cover you if the "liaison" was illegal under local sex-tourism laws.

3. Is it safe to go there?
While we cover travel for most countries of the world, unfortunately the small print of travel insurance inevitably contains exclusions. The major one is if you go somewhere and you know it's not safe or your government's travel advisory advises you shouldn't go there. Bottom line: if you put yourself at risk or you place yourself in the crossfire, then you are unlikely to be covered.

4. Feeling adventurous and being adventurous are two different things
The adventure sports and activities we cover depends on your country of permanent residence and your particular level of insanity (and more importantly, skill).

If you are wildlife-watching in the extremes of Alaska and are attacked by a polar bear, are you covered? It depends. You see, if the bear attacks you while you were watching them as a part of a wildlife safari or trekking, then YES we would cover you (assuming the bear didn't catch you of course), but if you were chasing the bear having had a beer too many the night before and you thought it would be a laugh... err... then NO, we wouldn't.

If you are skiing and you're caught in an avalanche, are you covered? It depends. For example, if you leap out of a hovering helicopter while trying to pretend that you're in a Hollywood action movie, then NO, you aren't covered.

Got the message? If you are unsure about anything, ask us and we'd rather clear up a grey area before you have a claim.


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