Sunday, January 28, 2007

The upward struggle

Sundays. Hmm. Not my favourite day: the day that ends the weekend.

Tomorrow I am going to the BBC to have a look around. I'm also giving an assembly.  I have the honour of talking about the environment at 8.40 in the morning.

On Saturday I received flyers advertising two of my new books with Classroom Resources. Look!

My other weekend news is that I've packaged up a query and sample of One of a Kind to send out to a few agents in the UK and I intend to target some publishers too.

Why do I persist in this? Well, a few years ago I went on an Arvon course during which I met Alan Gibbons, a well known children's author, some of whose books have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Awards and other literary prizes. He is a teacher-author and during our discussions, he revealed that it had taken him ten years to get published. TEN YEARS. For some, I'm sure it takes longer.

Alan didn't, at that time have an agent, and yet he had managed to get published without one, so I'm using his example as inspiration for me.

Finding someone who has succeeded in the business and following his or her example is definitely worth doing. We can all learn something from others can't we?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Philip Allan Updates Publications

Two of the co-authored English resource packs I wrote for Philip Allan Updates are showing on their website. Year 9 to follow. Yipee!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What are you?

Look what I found: a site with lots of really interesting blog things. It's great. I went a bit wild when I visited and here are the results. First is my art style:

You Are Surrealism

Dreamy and idealistic, you've created a world that is all your own.
It's very likely that you've either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.
You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.
You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.

This is my personality disorder (if I were to have one). Bit worrying! I always did have a thing for Kermet.

You May Be a Bit Histrionic...

Dramatic and over the top, you crave attention.

And you'll do anything it takes to get noticed.

You love to be seductive, even when it's inappropriate.

If you're ignored, you're easily hurt ... and act out even more!

My career type is no surprise! Reassuring nevertheless.

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.

And lastly, this is my thinking style. Let me open your minds to this!

Your Dominant Thinking Style: Exploring

You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

Thanks to Anne Frasier for pointing me in the direction of this fab site!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New discoveries and links

Today I got my free copies of the two latest texts that I published with Classroom Resources. Links to them are added in the margin. I've also been exploring a few new links which I found via a fellow writer's blog.

On Tuesday, I went to a new writers' group where I met Neil Somerville, who is a living, breathing full time writer- non fiction. He writes Chinese horoscope books and he's written loads! He's also a regular contributor to a writing magazine which I think is called The Writers' Forum and he's set up a new blog to help writers. It is very useful. I've added it to my linked blogs.

From this and my own explorations, I've also come across a really cool website called Writers' FM with advice and music for writers. Go there- check it out!!

Along my travels, I also discovered a website that checks your manuscript in a critiquing way- amazing. I've not used it myself but it looks interesting.

My new discoveries are all linked in the margin. Have fun exploring them, while you're not busy writing, that is.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to work blues

Today was my first day back at work. Bit of a shock to the system, I can tell you. I am seriously tired. To top it all, my house phone line is acting up and my mobile has decided to conk out on me!

Still, I managed to enter Jason Evans' Silent Grey writing competition on his Clarity of Night Blog. Mine's called The Summer of Sixty Five - I know, it sounds like a song. In fact, I think it is the name of one, but the title just seemed fitting for my story, so I went with it. I'm not sure when the story will be posted but when it is I hope you all like it!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Birthday time

It's my birthday today!! I won't say how old I am. Too old for my liking.

So far my pressies have included a chocolate treat basket with loads of cool stuff, a trendy bag and a bath spa kit. The best present, however, cannot be bought and it's something I hope will come soon.

I am currently cleaning my house. My birthday treat! Then I have a relaxing evening planned.

Have you seen Holiday? It's a fab film. I loved it. It comes highly recommended by moi. 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Intellectual property and second hand books

New Year, new goals!!

Mine for today is not to get agitated ahead of time with internet service providers. I'm back online. Looks like it may have been the router that was at fault not the ISP, despite my rantings to them over the phone :-(.

Tomorrow I'm hooking up a replacement router.

Oh well.

My study is looking well tidy (meaning really/ very neat in teen lingo). I'm a happy chicken. Cluck.

However this generally happy chicken does have one serious concern to air. (I'm not imitating you Atyllah really). I thought I would raise an issue that has been drawn to my attention recently, just to see what all of you think of the number of second hand book sellers sprouting up on the Amazon website.

Now, as a consumer I can see the benefits of buying a book for 30p, but as a writer I am all too aware of the fact that even the piddling sum of 3p that would normally be passed onto a writer from such a sale will not trickle down to us if the book is classed as second hand.

This is an issue that The Author - the Society of Authors journal raised in its most recent issue and one I am aware of. I need only to look at my York Notes on Amazon to see a bundle of apparently second hand merchants selling the title for less than its market value at almost new condition. I'm fine with discounted stock going to genuine sellers but I slaved over that work and I'd quite like to get paid for it.
Educational writing isn't well paid as it is. What is to become of us?
Luckily I teach so I have that income but what about all the full time writers whose works are sold as second hand and they never receive royalties on these books, as far as I understand it. The reason I say never is because these books seem to be being sold as 'new'. Did they fall off the back of a lorry? Were they freebies? I question where they've come from. What do you think?

I read over the holidays that the writer - or at least one of the writers of The Hardy Boys Series, a much loved (and I speak from personal experience) series of detective novels, died. I also read that despite their international sales, the books' writers were not paid via royalties. The writers received a flat fee, so they did not benefit from the world wide sales that I assume the publishing company, enjoyed.

Do you have any idea how much these writers were paid for creating these pieces of fiction? Guess.


Yes, $100. Even back then that can't have been much. It's criminal!

I really think that intellectual property is a highly undervalued commodity and I for one intend to make my views regarding this matter well and truly heard. Maybe I should become a publisher or book seller? Nah... I was born to write; no use fighting it :-)

Okay, rant over.

Enjoy your day!