New Edition September 2016

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PG 6 GREAT IDEAS DON’T MAKE GREAT NOVELS. IT TAKES WRITING.

PG 12 AUTHOR STUART REID IS ON A MISSION TO MAKE KIDS LOVE BOOKS.

PG 16 LESS REALLY IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO SUMMARIZING YOUR BOOK.

NEW EDITION CONTEMPORARY

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MAGAZINE

ISSUE 30, SEPTEMBER 2016

Jenny Waller repaints the classroom, with lessons on how to teach art in order to create artists.


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Welcome to the September 2016 issue of New Edition, our publishing magazine for authors. This quarter, award-winning author and editor Peter Salmon explains in Editor’s Note why you need more than just a good idea to write an excellent book. Jenny Waller provides helpful tips on how she turned her university study on why art is important into a fully realised book. Author Stuart Reid tells us how he’s got children the length and breadth of Britain enjoying reading on their own terms. Plus guidance for brevity, top tips for writing feature articles for publication, author interviews and more!

- Josh Hamel, Editor of New Edition Magazine 3


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Book Benches

Bimingham, England www.thebigread.org.uk/booked-16-july-13-september-2016 Over 150 benches have been individually designed by nurseries, schools and community groups and are being exhibited inside libraries, galleries, museums, cultural venues and book shops throughout Bimingham in an effort to promote literacy. In addition to the displays, there is also a whole host of literary-themed events and activities taking place to spark everybody’s interest in reading.

Henley Literary Festival

henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk With the River Thames in the backdrop, the 2016 Henley Literary Festival will host a bumper line-up of talks, Q&As, performances and workshops to mark its 10th year, featuring regular participants of the festival, in addition to new talent, top children’s authors and literary greats.

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19-23|

Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt, Germany www.book-fair.com/en/ The Frankfurt Book Fair is a meeting place for the industry’s experts and the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. Around 4,000 events are expected to take place during this book trade fair, and while it remains predominantly business to business, there are some talks and events designed with authors in mind.

November 13-20|

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Miami Book Fair

Miami, Florida www.miamibookfair.com/ Over the course of eight days, hundreds of authors and thousands of readers will converge on Downtown Miami. During Street Fair weekend, more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibit and sell books, with special features like the antiquarians, who showcase signed first editions, original manuscripts and other collectibles.


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News In Brief Authors’ book fair fees increase to promote fairness Since the start of 2016, there has been an increase in the number of authors pulling out of book festivals over controversies concerning their contracts, ranging from exclusivity clauses to compensation costs that fail to cover their transport and accommodation outlays for the event. This includes Phillip Pullman resigning as a Patron of the Oxford Literary festival, over continued refusals from organisers to pay their contributing authors. As of 1st January 2017 however, the Scottish Book Trust will pay writers £175 per session in addition to their travel and subsistence expenses, which will include all Live Literature events. Previously authors had been paid £150 per session, and the increase in the fee is the first for the Live Literature programme - which works with people across Scotland to bring authors into local communities - in nearly ten years. The Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society

revealed that the median earnings for writers is “well below the living wage”. “Many of the authors on the Live Literature database make their living primarily from writing and are facing extremely difficult times. Scottish Book Trust believes that writers, storytellers and illustrators should be paid fairly for the important work that they do and we want to support them.” said the Scottish Book Trust earlier this year. The organisation states that it has not received any additional funding for Live Literature and that the hike in fees is only manageable through “careful spending”. They will not be passing on the cost to the groups who apply for sessions, nor will they be reducing the overall number of sessions they provide; Scottish Book Trust are committed to supporting 1,200 events per year through their Live Literature programme.

UK library usage falls significantly across all groups

1.5 Million books being moved to underground lair from the New York Public Library

For the first time since records began, there has been a “significant decrease” in the proportion of UK adults who engage with public library services, across all demographics. Research carried out by the department of Culture, Media and Sport has revealed that 33.4% of adults had visited a public library between April 2015 and March 2016, which is down from 33.9% a year earlier, and from 48.2% in 2005/06 when records began. The South East has seen the greatest decline, from 51% in 2005/06 to 31.9% in 2015/16. The decline could of course be attributed to the widespread closure of libraries in England, with a recent investigation revealing that a total of 343 have closed in the past six years, with 111 further closures planned for the coming twelve months. Ian Anstice, editor of Public Libraries News, told The Bookseller that the “dramatic” fall in usage comes as “no surprise when we have witnessed often dramatic cuts to library budgets and a disinterested government.”

Twenty five years ago, when the New York Library first expanded its home underneath Manhattan’s Bryant Park, construction crews were charged with carving out two mammoth underground floors to house its vast collection, but at the time, only the higher level was actually completed. Previously partly abandoned as an unlit hollow, renovations started in April 2015 to transform the second floor of the underground library, digging deeper down in order to create an archive-quality storage facility, which has now been completed. The vault has space underground for over 2.5 million books, which can be ordered and delivered up to the Library’s various reading rooms in the main building above, in bright read carts which feature as part of a new electronic trolley system. Over this summer, several times each week, a thirty-foot truck filled with wooden shelves each one full of books, has arrived early in the morning at the New York Public Library’s flagship research library. Contained in each truck load are thousands of titles which have previously spent the past three years in storage. 1.5 million books, which were formally stored in the old stacks beneath the Rose Main Reading Room.

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NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

Editor’s Note The value of ideas

So, you’ve a great idea. That means you’ve got a great novel on your hands, right? Editor and author Peter Salmon explains why that’s not always the case and reveals what writers should really focus on to make their work shine.

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“Style and Structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.” - Vladimir Nabakov “I’d like to be a writer, I just can’t think of a good idea.” Ever heard anyone say this? Ever said it yourself? I have a reasonable social life, I go to the odd party, and sometimes I have someone tell me this. My response is always the same – I immediately spray them with whipped cream, and then pull a rubber chicken out of my trousers and beat them on the top of the head with it while singing ‘Roll Out the Barrel’ at them through a megaphone. Actually I don’t do any of that, as much as I wish to. I just smile wanly, and look for an excuse to talk to someone else. There are a lot of myths about being a writer, but there are few more pernicious than the notion that writers have good ideas. I’ve spent time around writers and, frankly, good ideas are not what I would call their strong suit. This may be a problem for their friends and family, and anyone foolish enough to lend them money, but in terms of their writing it’s not really a negative. Why? Because, put simply, there is no such thing as a good idea for a novel. To put it more bluntly, all novel ideas are crap (some aren’t of course, but go with me for now). Let’s take an example. Anna Karenina is generally regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time. The idea of the novel – spoiler alert – is this: ‘A woman has an affair, feels sad and throws herself under a train. Meanwhile a local landowner has some interesting ideas regarding agrarian reform in late nineteenth century Russia, which he’d like to share with us, at some length. He ends up quite happy.’ Now if you, like Tolstoy, happened to be sitting in your local Café Nero with a skinny latte and a MacBook, desperate for a good idea for a novel, it’s unlikely you would find yourself thinking you’d hit the jackpot with this. It’ a crap idea for a novel, like all of Tolstoy’s ideas for novels. And yet he wrote one of the great books of literature. And not just Tolstoy. take some other great books. Ulysses? ‘Man without father meets man without son, they get a bit pissed together, and then the older guy goes to bed.’ Remembrance of Things Past? ‘A man dips his cake in a cup of tea and it causes him to remember his childhood, and he realises over the course of 1,267,069 words that memory and reality are quite different.’ Mrs Dalloway? ‘A woman spends the day organising a party. It’s quite successful, but during it she finds out a friend has committed suicide. She is sad.’

Again, none of these would have you rushing for your iPad. They are, all of them, terrible, terrible ideas for novels. Because, as Nabokov says, there are no good ideas for novels. And why is this? The answer is both simple and important. Because novels are better than ideas. Let’s face it, most ‘philosophical’ ideas we have day to day are pretty banal. Such as, I think there is a God. Or I think there probably isn’t a God. Or I guess people are pretty different. Or I guess people are pretty similar. Or from our literary friends, I guess if you murder an old washerwoman you’ll end up feeling pretty guilty (Dostoevsky), or, if you put a load of boys on a desert island, things are probably going to get pretty ugly (William Golding). Fiction is not, then, just ideas. it does something different. It explores ideas, and by doing so tells us something about the world that just thinking doesn’t. It breaks ideas down, gives them to different characters, different minds. ‘I think there is no God’ is a banal thought when I have it. But when, for instance, a character I’ve written, who is about to be executed for his faith in Mexico in 1943, and has renounced the love of his life to follow a political ideal, has that thought just before the firing squad shoots, it is, possibly, profound. This is something people have no trouble understanding about visual art. ‘I have an idea for a painting – a bowl of fruit!’ is a ridiculous

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thing to say. It is how the fruit is painted, how the elements relate to each other, that constitutes what the painting is about. I have no trouble thinking of the image of a bull. But no one would mistake my idea for a painting by Picasso. So, how do you come up with an idea for a novel? Simple and difficult answer – START WRITING ONE! Get a blank page and begin. A thousand words, straight down. At word 870, you might start to see what it’s about. Or word 4562. Even word 15,895. At word 11,265, a character might wander into your novel who turns out to be the main character. So you get rid of 11,107 words and focus on her. Then she meets someone at word 19,456, and you realise that it was their relationship in 1972 (not 1993 which is when the novel started – cross that date out, you can change the hairstyles later) that is the crux of the novel. Had you not written those 19,456 words you would not have found this out. You would never have realised that when Ruth and Edward met at the volleyball game it would have set in chain events that would have repercussions for Judith forty years later. Here’s an analogy. You’re at the pub with your friends, and you really fancy the person opposite you. A discussion starts about, I don’t know, frying pans. You say something so gloriously intelligent, so wonderfully witty about frying pans that everyone collapses in laughter, and you win the heart of the person you fancy. Had you not been there, had the discussion not turned that way, were you not feeling attractive, had you not had a glass of wine, you wouldn’t have said that line. You wouldn’t have thought of it, sat at home, gazing out the window. You had to put yourself in that situation, to come up with that line. Similarly, you have to get a novel up and running to get to the idea of it. Think of it as being like when you were a child, playing with dolls. You didn’t make a plan of how the game would go – you sat down and started playing, and three hours later when you were called for dinner you had created a world of dazzling complexity, with fascinating inter-doll relationships, in a universe with its own fundamental rules which absolutely had to be followed (and woe betide a sibling or adult who broke one of them) – all out of a Batman missing a leg, a Barbie, two shoeboxes and the cat bowl. None of which you could have done by just thinking about it. And here’s the really special thing. Not only are novels better than ideas, they are better than you. They are funnier. They are wiser. They know things about the world that you don’t know (because until you were writing the novel you never had to imagine what it is life being a hungover spy in his

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“Fiction is not, then, just ideas. It does something different. It explores ideas, and by doing so tells us something about the world that just thinking doesn’t.” 70s waiting at an airport for a flight or a woman or both). They teach you things about the world that no amount of thinking will ever teach you. They are not just ‘what you reckon’. They are what a bunch of fictional characters in fictional situations reckon. Or, as Rebecca West put it, ‘I write to find out about things’. So, here’s what you have to do. You have my permission to finish the rest of this excellent magazine, and perhaps make yourself a cuppa. Then, go and get a pen and paper or your laptop, and start to write a novel. Just like that. Then keep writing it. My rule is no editing or panic attacks until 30,000 words. If what you’ve written isn’t working at that point, throw it away and start again. This is art, not accounting. Keep going. And write complete novel. There will be tricky bits. But you won’t know what they are til you’re writing them. And, if you happen to bump into me at a party, don’t ever say you’re waiting for an idea. Because if that’s what you’re doing, you’re never going to be a writer. And you just may get clobbered with a novelty rubber chicken. Peter Salmon is an Australian writer and editor living in the UK. His first novel, The Coffee Story (Sceptre, 2011), was a New Statesman Book of the Year. He has written frequently for TV and radio, and for broadsheets including the Guardian and the Sydney Review of Books.


Publishing Your PHD You’ve worked for years studying and developing brilliant ideas in your chosen field, culminating in a thesis good enough to earn yourself the title of doctor. But what comes next? Jenny Waller walks us though how she turned her academic work exploring the importance of art in the 21st century, into a fascinating new book.


NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

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t was a good moment. After five years of reading, researching and worrying, the PhD was done. The examiners were happy, there were no major revisions. Champagne. And then the external examiner’s suggestion, ‘You should publish. No, I don’t say this to everyone. But your work is interesting – it should be out there.’ Every PhD student has probably thought about publication at some point. Once the thesis is done, it seems like the next logical step. But how to go about it? In my case, I sent a summary of the PhD to a publishing friend to see if there was any interest. There wasn’t. To be fair, it was always going to be a hard sell, an interdisciplinary book which wouldn’t fit easily with established lists. So that left self-publishing. A friend recommended Authoright. One problem solved. But then came the next. What exactly did I want to publish? The thesis itself was clearly designed for an academic audience. Even though it was probably clearly written by academic standards, it was hardly an easy read. It would need to be revised to attract a wider, more general audience. But what would that look like? Given that publishing is something most PhD students think about, and the quantity of advice out there about how to write just about everything, it was surprisingly difficult to find any guidance about how to transform an academic text into a readable book. In the event, Authoright arranged for an editor to read through the PhD and report on what they thought was interesting and what wasn’t, what was clear and what was obscure, what should stay and what should probably go. That was the impetus I needed to start rethinking my material in a radical way. A year later I finally had a new manuscript ready for publication (thanks for your patience on this one, Authoright.) And yes, it does take that sort of time. So fresh from the process, what insights do I have?

Writing style

An obvious change is in writing style. The academic style is notorious for its difficulty: its density, precision, and specialist terminology, all wrapped up in long, complex sentences. Academic style is not designed to allow its readers to skim through it: on the contrary, it’s designed to move us slowly, carefully and logically through the field, point by point, reference by reference. I had come to enjoy using it in a perverse sort of way, but it obviously had to change. But if not the academic style, then what? Steven Pinker’s book, The Sense of Style, is a good discussion of the styles available to nonfiction writers. Ultimately, Pinker is a proponent of Thomas and Turner’s ‘classic style’. In their book Clear and Simple as the

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Truth, Thomas and Turner observe how French academic prose has become ‘as incomprehensible, elephantine, and turgid as double-Dutch’ and argue for a return to the classic prose of the seventeenth century – hence the name ‘classic style’. This style is essentially conversational, treating readers as educated colleagues who are looking for a distillation of your argument conveyed in a style which is ‘pure, fearless, cool and relentless’. Your readers may not agree with you, but they want to be clear about what you’re saying. So that’s what I’ve aimed for. Some of the original academic style probably remains. But I think the overall effect is very different from the original. Rather than trying to impress an academic examiner, I’ve tried to write as if I’m talking to an interested colleague in a coffee shop using much less formal language, shorter sentences, and even contractions. In the end I really enjoyed doing the rewrite and found a new enthusiasm for the ideas in the book which had become all too familiar.

Structure

Every PhD follows the same kind of structure which sets out the research problem, describes the research methods and ends with the results of


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Research data

the research. It’s essential to spell all this out very carefully for the PhD since examiners are quick to challenge methods which seem unsafe, for the very good reason that research results are only as good as the methods used to obtain them. The problem with this structure in terms of a book, however, is that readers are really only interested in your conclusions, and don’t have a lot of appetite for reading about how or why you reached them. In effect, you need to turn your thesis back to front and start at the end. The need to restructure in this way came through very clearly from the Authoright editor’s comments. My thesis works its way up to a model which, in my view, provides a triumphant ending, an ‘aha’ moment well worth waiting for. It came as something of a surprise to hear that in fact readers would not be prepared to wait for this revelation. According to the editor, the model was the most interesting thing about the book which should be introduced right away. Restructuring in this way was quite challenging and indeed worrying as focusing on the model upfront meant leaving out a lot of the material leading up to it. For example I had a chapter assessing alternative research questions – no longer relevant. This resulted in the book being much shorter than the 80,000-word original. But once I accepted this (and stopped worrying about it), the new structure started to emerge more easily. In the end I got quite ruthless at taking out material which didn’t seem to fit anywhere. Restructuring affected the title too. The thesis title was about the research problem; the book title now is the solution. This only became clear after the restructuring.

Finally, there’s the question of what to do about research data. As we have seen, the research component is at the heart of any PhD submission and there’s probably no such thing as too much data or data analysis. In my case, research data consisted of a discourse analysis of hundreds of lines of text, coded for multiple analyses and presented as bar charts. I loved my research data. After all, I’d spent a year collecting and analysing it. But what to do with it all in the book? In the end, I kept the bar charts and some shortened analysis in a research section at the end of the book which people can skip if they’re not interested. Which is exactly what happened with my first reviewer, a journalist who read up to that point. I think my discourse analysis is probably doomed. To conclude, turning a thesis into a book takes time. It’s about rethinking style, structure and content. You may need an outside perspective. But if you want to get your ideas out there, you’ll be glad you did it. I know I am. Since completing her PhD in Fine Art at Reading in 2014, Jenny Waller has been developing her practice as a textile artist based in Frome, Somerset. A former English teacher and Sixth Form Head, she is responsible for educational development at the notfor-profit organisation The Simplification Centre. Waller holds an MBA from Cranfield University and has worked at Coventry University as Head of Graphic Communication as well as in the private sector as a change communications consultant; her clients included Guinness, British Steel and DHL. Waller is co-author of The Quality Management Manual (Kogan Page, 1993) and The TQM Toolkit (Kogan Page, 1995). Art As Extraordinary Science: A Paradigm For The 21st Century by Jenny Waller (published by Clink Street Publishing, 28th July 2016) is available to buy online and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

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Spreading the word Not every child naturally loves to read. Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragment. Author Stuart Reid travels the UK giving children just that, using his relentless enthusiasm to teach them that reading is hugely beneficial and can also be fun!

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Since 2001, more than two million pupils left primary school without the ability to read well. Reading well, and with enjoyment, is a skill that unlocks opportunities at school and in life. If children do not read well, and enjoy reading, by the age of eleven they are likely to suffer social, economic and cultural exclusion as adults. Children were once taught to become readers on the laps of their parents but now it is believed that currently six million British children under the age of fourteen years old do not have a role model to inspire them to read books. Adults who struggled as readers in childhood are less likely to inspire their own children to pick up books. It is often too easy for busy parents to hand over a tablet, an iPad or a mobile phone in order to amuse their kids. Electronic gadgets and game consoles are the babysitters for the 21st century, and failure to address this quickly will result in not only falling sales for publishers but future generations of mindless, illiterate adults. Schools, parents, governments, libraries, the publishing industry and even authors have a duty of care to inspire children with a love for reading. As a full-time children’s author, I am proud to have presented at nearly 1,000 schools, libraries and book festivals throughout Britain, Ireland and internationally. It is my responsibility to engage, inspire and excite children with the same enthusiasm that I have for books, obviously starting with my own titles, but hey, reading is still reading, isn’t it? I have found that in many schools the reluctant

readers are the ones groaning as they enter the assembly hall, complaining that ‘it’s just a boring author’ but the pupils bouncing out of the hall, desperate to buy my books afterwards. Of course, they will have ‘forgotten’ their money because they thought it was ‘just another author’. A literacy coordinator from Bolton wrote to thank me recently. She summed up the success of the day by quoting a conversation with her most reluctant boy reader, as he read one of my books he bought the previous week: ‘Zak! Playtime, out you go.’ ‘Please Mrs. Horrocks, can I finish my chapter first?’ RESULT! I screamed, and this is what I aim to achieve in every school I attend. Events at book festivals and libraries and easier, as the audience are generally little readers anyway, although I was delighted to be described by a senior librarian “as the most exciting, enthusiastic and inspirational author ever!” My presentations have to be entertaining and dynamic, in order to capture every child’s imagination for up to an hour. I use video, music and pictures from my books, some colour, some black and white. I talk about alliterations and use visualisation to help children picture the pages in their heads as I read. Having the skill to turn words in a book into movies in their minds is essential, I believe, in becoming an avid reader. Keeping eye contact with the whole audience is also vital to ensure total engagement with my audience, so I have memorised every page that I read, holding the book in my hand, whilst acting out the story. Using volunteers to join in with the story

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can be great fun too; children love laughing at (with) their teachers. However, recently I have been called into several schools that have had a bad experience with an author. Instead of energising and exciting kids with the gift of reading, some authors have been so dull that they’ve had the opposite effect, turning children off books. Minimal eye-contact, monotonous readings and boring deliveries are guaranteed to endorse the erroneous opinion, in a reluctant readers mind, that books are boring. Those brilliant writers who are not good presenters should let their books speak for themselves. Just stay at home! Reading for pleasure promotes children’s cognitive and social skills. It develops language, vocabulary, communication and confidence. Reading fiction can also promote empathy and relationship skills, as children learn to ‘feel’ for the characters. Reading a good book is also satisfying, it will enrich your life and leave you slightly exhausted at the end, and as I often see on school walls “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. - Dr. Seuss Bestselling children’s author Stuart Reid lives in Falkirk, Scotland with his wife and two daughters. Before he took up writing full-time, Reid spent over twenty years in the hospitality sector; as a regional manager for hotel chain Premier Inn before overseeing the opening and management of the firm’s first hotel in Dubai. All five titles in the Gorgeous George series by Stuart Reid (published by Gorgeous Garage Publishing Ltd) are available to buy in paperback and ebook online from retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores. For more information please visit stuart-reid.com

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Peter Johns set out to write a book for his daughter’s eighteenth birthday, sharing his pearls of wisdom for success - and happiness - in life. Little did he know the rest of the world wanted his secrets too, leading to rave reviews in The Daily Mail and an appearance on Good Morning Britain. hat do you give your daughter for her eighteenth birthday? After considering dresses, pets and parties, one father gave his daughter something truly special: he wrote a book for her. In many ways Meg Johns is an ordinary girl, but in one way she is different from most others: at the age of nine she was diagnosed with cancer. This took the form of a tumour that, by the time of her diagnosis, already filled most of her chest cavity. Later, despite months of chemotherapy, a second tumour started to grow. Normally this development is fatal and her parents were told as much. Fortunately, a bone marrow transplant and long sessions of full body irradiation - treatments so severe that doctors were initially reluctant to risk them saved Meg’s life. How to Live by Peter Johns, Meg’s father, is his tribute to his daughter’s tenacity. The book was written for someone who was once not expected to live, but who turned into a healthy teenager. Her father based the book on his own imperfect — though eventually successful — life and the lessons he has learned along the way, in the hope that they would both reassure and inspire his daughter. Despite Meg’s incredible recovery, her life was still that of the typical teenager; full of bombast, anxiety, humour and stress. Rich with anecdotes — from his strained relationship with academia to setting goals that are challenging but also realistic, to embracing your failures — How to Live is an insightful, refreshing and easy-going life guide not only for those on the cusp of independence but for everyone.

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Peter Johns worked in the investment banking sector for over thirty years. Johns is a founding trustee of Autistica, the UK’s largest charity funding research into autism, a cause close to his heart as his youngest son is autistic. A father of four, he lives in Alderley Edge, Cheshire with his wife Rosie. How To Live: A User’s Guide by Peter Johns (published by Clink Street Publishing, 13th September 2016, RRP £5.99 paperback, £2.99 ebook) is available to buy online from amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

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Summary Squeeze

While it may not seem possible to encapsulate your book into just a few hundred words, it’s an essential part of promoting it, and getting readers interested. Hayley Radford explains why less is definitely more when it comes to the back cover blurb.

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rafting a potent back cover text can be a real challenge for authors. Promoting a novel — or a play, a film, a new TV show or even an art exhibition for that matter — is, at its heart, about storytelling. Sharing a narrative, big or small, loud or quiet, intimate or extrovert, with others so that they too may experience and enjoy it. And if there’s one thing that writers share in common, it’s a certain embarrassment or awkwardness about reducing their life’s work down to a snapshot synopsis; a brief summary, a hint towards the essence of their story and what it really means, a reduction of all of its vital parts into something that captures the imagination. In short, we all struggle to write in brief. I had a meeting a couple of months ago with an author who’d written the most beautiful WWII novel; a sweeping romance that would have carried the reader across the generations, in and out of the lives of a broad church of eclectic characters. I had to figure all of this out for myself because, try as he might, the author was completely, painfully incapable of telling me what his story was actually about, and why he had written it. Rather than hook me in with a clear, tightly woven summary of the players and their motivations, he mumbled and stumbled around isolated sections of the text which were so disjointed and confused that while they clearly meant the world to him they made absolutely no sense at all to someone who hadn’t yet read the book. The result was that I left the meeting without really being able to care about the book because it remained utterly unclear what the point of it all was meant to be. He had failed to sell me his idea and had lost me as a potential reader.

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Therein lies the great challenge of book promotion: how do you get people to actually read your book? What must you say — and how should you say it — to seduce them into taking a chance on your title, against all the other books in the world? Getting your synopsis straight — and, for that matter, your elevator pitch (an even more timesensitive summary, perfect for the 140 character Twitterverse) is critical in an era in which everyone is constantly bombarded with new, rich, tailored content, but with increasingly less time to enjoy it. Prompting your audience to make a discerning choice and bond with your book over another is a tremendous skill, but reducing your novel — or non-fiction — to a punchy screenshot is essential in order to win new readers. Not being able to give a clear summary, to make your book make sense, to make it sound engaging, gripping, emotionally fraught (whatever your narrative and its strongest selling points may be) will be to the detriment of your book and its ability to connect with readers. All too often writers will try to make an exception of themselves, promoting an idea that their book is somehow different, rarified, able to escape the rules and regulations which apply to all other titles. But this simply isn’t the case; frankly, it’s nonsense, although it’s often born out of a profound selfconsciousness about the writing. Having to explain yourself and your work of art can feel daunting to even the most assured writer. But no reader wants to be told ‘this book is really good, better than everything else you’ve ever read, because the author says so, take their word for it.’ If you’re incapable of identifying a clear narrative arc and a purposeful movement or theme in 300 words or less, then you will find it difficult to connect with readers


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on a meaningful level. As readers, we don’t embark on a new book completely blind, we invariably have a sense of what we’re about to read, and that sense has already shaped our decision to try the book out. Some good rules of thumb to follow. Make peace with the fact that you actively have to leave things out because there’s simply no room for all the detail you’ll instinctively want to share. No one’s brain when reading is able to immediately retain information about a litany of disparate characters, so stick to only a handful of critical cast members (regardless of how significant others might end up being) and how they interact. Make sure that what you include matters and makes sense. Suggest a starting point and at least a direction in which your narrative and characters are moving; highlight an important obstacle they have to overcome or a conflict they encounter, something that anchors them with a sense of reality and purpose. Make sure you highlight any themes that are important to your characters as they might connect with your reader too. Convey a strong sense of the environment in which your characters exist; whether that’s on the third moon of Mondorian during an intergalactic war, or a hot and sweaty New York in summer as one woman embarks on a new romance. Set bitesized scenes that will resonate vividly with your reader. And remember that what you leave out — the resolution, the twists — are as important to keep hidden as the detail you actually commit to the page. But of course, you can always allude to mystery. Strong summaries and highlights are also really important for writers to have up their sleeves during other promotional opportunities. Print, radio and television interviews, literary speaking engagements and even book launches, all provide an author with a brief moment during which to captivate and capture the minds of their audience. The more polished the summary, the more compelling the author will come across and the more likely their audience will be to

connect with the story they are hearing about and buy the book. Who hasn’t listened to a cringeworthy interview in which a writer either waffles dreadfully about their book, making it sound complex and dreary in the process, or indeed heard an author all but refuse to share any information about their novel, other than to repeat the mantra of ‘you’ll have to read it to find out what it’s about.’ No, sorry, not good enough. As the author you’re the most important and authentic communicator of your book’s message, and if you cannot manage to spark the interest of others with a clear, insightful narrative and intent, you cannot expect readers to share in that message and for the word of mouth readership to spread and grow. Even the most impenetrable, esoteric literary fiction can be distilled into moments of magic and meaning that will inspire the uninitiated reader to excitedly take a leap of faith with the story. In addition, there’s value in honing a message about your book that’s strong and compelling so that how you feel about your book is conveyed accurately within the media and by writers; yes, everyone will make their own minds up about the ultimate value and purpose of a new book, but they will always take their lead from that all important back cover blurb, or press materials. Often journalists won’t have time to read a novel in full, but they will want to support it either through an interview or a feature article. They will rely upon a carefully crafted synopsis with which they can build and embellish their piece. No film is released without a trailer, and that’s what we’re talking about here; the best bits, the intention, the obvious themes, the drama, wrapped up in sharply written text that leaves everyone wanting more. A back cover blurb should leave you aching to read the entire story and then to share it with everyone you know. Précis and make every word count.

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NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

Stick to the Spec Media writing opportunities are an essential part of any book marketing campaign. Whether you’ve been asked to write about your ‘process’ for a magazine, comment on current affairs for a newspaper or even just list your favourite places to travel by a blogger, publicist Kate Appleton advises on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to dipping your toe in the journalistic pool.

D

uring any publicity and marketing campaign we discuss with our authors the opportunity to write first-person feature articles or memoirs for a variety of media - from national newspaper supplements to specialist magazines and guest posts for book bloggers - as it provides additional opportunities of coverage for their book, and their profile as an author. This is especially important given the increase in books published every month, whether traditional or independent, and the level of competition for securing a book review. Therefore, equal emphasis has to be placed on the necessity of following the writing guidelines for any piece you’re commissioned to provide. These specifics aren’t given at random they’re provided because that’s the respective media’s house style, or that of a regular column space, and what is expected from them by their regular readership.

Top Tips Stick to the word count exactly If you’ve been asked to write a 750 word article don’t spend time writing one that reaches 2,000 words or more. If it’s a print publication, they may have only left enough space for a piece of avery specific length and anything longer that that won’t actually fit. Journalists want you to deliver

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exactly what they’ve asked for; if you send them something else, they make lose the desire to request revisions or even spike your article altogether. Write a first draft, leave it for a few hours (even a day) and then go back and edit it down. Your publicist will always proofread it through before forwarding anything on to a journalist but they won’t be your editor and nor will the journalist; journalists don’t want to have to do your work for you in order to pull out the best bits and make an article our of what you’ve written. So make sure it’s succinct and fulfils their exact criteria.

Don’t mention your book This may sound slightly controversial, however, stick with me. The majority of the time any additional articles that your publicist requests are to compliment the release of your book and is something you will have discussed during a marketing meeting. The book will always be credited at the end of the piece and it is the responsibility of your publicist to ensure any article is credited correctly. Equally anything that comes across as too advertorial will always be returned by a journalist. Subtelty is more often rewarded than trying to fit the name of your book five times in a thousand word article.

Keep to the point When you’ve agreed a talking point, whether it’s


CONTEMPORARY PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

‘Life after Divorce’ or ‘How I learned to manage my stammer’, don’t wander off on tangents that you think would be more relevant or better exposure for your book. Journalists have little time, and once we’ve got their attention we don’t want to waste it by sending them something they haven’t requested! A bait and switch will never go over well with a journalist expecting an article on a specific topic. Your publicist should always be able to provide you with previous examples in order to guide you better before you start writing a piece.

Book Bloggers Want to Know More About You! Writing for bloggers represents a different marketing sector and it’s one in which you’ll be expected to talk about yourself, and your writing, in detail. Bloggers crave creative, original content that’s perfect for their own readers and it will afford you a platform from which to promote yourself as an author, so make sure you make the effort to give them valuable content. They’ll really appreciate a 750 word feature article more than a paltry 200 word list that reads like a C.V. So don’t be shy; share, tell you story and you’re half way to selling your novel to their readership.

through a dramatic, bizarre or unique life experience, or that you have an obscure job or hobby. Learning to isolate points of interest, in your life and your writing, and to share them in a convivial way is a great skill to develop; you never know who might be interested in a feature or interview about that time you spent a summer training to be a lion tamer. Paulette Agnew, author of Traya’s Quest - a charming book for young adolescents published by Clink Street in June of this year - talked about how she developed a love of the outdoors from an early age from her mother - the great outdoors is a theme which plays a profound part in the novel,. After pitching the story idea to the media, I secured a double-page spread in YOURS magazine, which will feature a nice big credit for Paulette’s book, along with a giveaway when the article runs this autumn. -So although these articles can appear to be a little like extra homework after you’ve already done all the hard-graft writing required to finish your book in the first place, but they are a critical part of the promotional process, giving you a chance to share your views, connect with new readers and show off your writing skills, and they should always be approached and enjoyed with professionalism.

Think! Prior to working with a publicist, take a few moments to think about what’s interesting about you, beyond the book you’ve written. It could be that you’ve gone

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Discovering the Woman Behind Martin Luther O

n Good Friday 1523, nine young nuns escape from their convent in empty herring barrels; they have been inspired by the writings of German theologian, Martin Luther. Two years later, one of these women, Katharina von Bora, will become Luther’s wife. Two years later one of these women, Katharina von Bora, became Luther’s wife. During her first pregnancy, she is confined to her room for her own and her child’s safety and has the time to write her story. She recalls her childhood in a crumbling castle near Leipzig, her schooldays at a convent school, her life as a nun in Marienthron. After her escape, she must learn to adapt to the secular world, a world in the throes of rapid change and social upheaval. The new technology of printing and plentiful cheap paper has revolutionised the dissemination of ideas. Young people of all classes are learning to read and the New Testament, no longer obscured in the smoke of Latin, can be read and shared in clear, simple German. The church is splitting, the peasants are in revolt, the old social order and religious hierarchies are collapsing and crime is rampant. She is taken in by Lucas Cranach and his wife Barbara as a ‘house daughter’ in their household in Wittenberg. She learns about men and love, the art of conversation: men sit around tables discussing religion and the meaning of life; but women must see to the children, the livestock, the garden. Day after day they must put food on the table and put by for winter. Katharina becomes firm friends with Barbara Cranach and her growing family. She falls in love but is rejected. Other men fall in love with her and she in turn rejects them. Turning her gaze on Dr Martin Luther, the most prominent man in Germany, she decides she will marry him. Their union scandalises the world; he was a monk and she a nun; as such they are forbidden to marry and are breaking their vows of chastity. The fruit of

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such a union will surely be an Antichrist. As the couple grow in love and understanding, he tells her about his own youth; the conflict with his father, the fatal thunderstorm, his moment of enlightenment; how he openly defied the church of Rome about the sale of indulgences; how refused to recant at the Diet of Worms and is incarcerated for his own safety in Wartburg Castle, where he translated the New Testament from the original Greek into German. Confined to bed while awaiting the birth of her child, Katharina has time to reflect; she sets down her own memories and their stories interweave. -What made you want to write a story about Katharina Luther? I’m not sure why she attracted me except that I too lost a parent when I was six, I too grew up in a crumbling old farmhouse in the country, (in Sherwood Forest) and was rather lonely and sent away to boarding school at nine. What also might be significant is that on my mother’s side, my great great grandmother was called die Grafin von Schlippenbach, she came from East Prussia, a Lutheran, which is why our mother taught us German songs; and on my father’s side, our forebears were Huguenot refugees, therefore Protestants; Charles Boileau arrived in Barnes,London, with only his good looks and charm, and married the farmer’s daughter. What was your research process for bringing the character to life? Many of my ancestors were vicars on both sides, so the church runs in our blood. I am also very conscious of the importance of animals and animal husbandry, and the growing,


Anne boileau’s interest in Katharina von Bora was first piqued while studying in germany. still Struck by her tenacity twenty years later, she felt compelled to write a fictionalized version of her life. Josh Hamel sits down with Boileau to discuss her research process and more.

storing and processing of food. I know about animals having grown up on a farm. Life was precarious, and they lived with the seasons, and faced the ever present threat of disease and hunger. So my research process was firstly to go to Saxony and visit Wittenberg and Erfurt and Eisenach and the Wartburg. Then I read lots and lots, in German and in English. There is a great amount written about the Reformation but not a lot about the women who were actually keeping the show on the road. I imagined what it might have been like in those days. And let the characters speak. What is your writing process like? I write for an hour in bed in the morning with tea, by

hand with a fountain pen, and the first re-write is when I type it up, probably in the evening. What was the toughest part of writing the book? The toughest part of writing this book was revisiting it, after I had put it away having not found a publisher first time round. I was encouraged to get it out again, because of the anniversary coming up. I revised and sharpened it up, having in the interim been engaged with reading and writing poetry. It’s shorter and better than it was. Is there any advice you’d like to give to other aspiring authors? Advice? Write a little and often, with a routine. Allow your characters a free rein, if the characters are true they should begin speaking on their own and might lead you in a different direction from what you had intended. When that happens it’s very exciting! Anne Boileau lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as an interpreter and translator before turning to language teaching in England. Now she enjoys reading, writing and sharing poetry. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and magazines. She has won a number of awards, including First Prize in the Grey Hen Press Poetry Competition 2016. She was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014. Katharina Luther (published by Clink Street 4th October, 2016, RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available now from Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

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NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

A little get together

It’s the event that looms largest on the publishing world’s calendar each year: The Frankfurt Book Fair. We preview this year’s show from the Guest of Honour to what’s new that will have everyone buzzing.

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CONTEMPORARY PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

Another year, another Frankfurt Book Fair approaches. The world’s largest book fair, now in its 68th iteration, had its biggest year ever last year, with over 276,000 people visiting the event, a number that may increase even more when all is done in 2016. Though the fair doesn’t officially begin until the 19th October, the Opening Ceremony will be held the night of the 18th where not one, but two authors will represent the Guest of Honor nation, with the title belonging to Flanders and the Netherlands this year. Writer, actor, columnist Arnon Grunberg will be the youngest guest-of-honour speaker in the history of the Book Fair and will be joined by the Herman de Coninck Debut Priz winning poet, Charlotte Van den Broeck. Further speakers are expected to be announced throughout September. The celebration of Flanders and the Netherlands doesn’t stop there, though. Embracing the slogan “Dit is wat we delen” (“This is what we share”), they will present not just novels, nonfiction and poetry, but also new forms that have emerged from the book arts, creative industry and other artistic fields. Throughout the fair, over 370 new books from over 130 native publishers will be present, in addition to the various forms of theatre, performance dance, film and other art from the Dutch. Within the context of the guest of honour status, over 400 events, presentations, readings, exhibitions and performances will be held all over Germany before 23rd October. New this year is The ARTS+ , the first international marketplace for the business of creativity. A partnership between media entrepreneur Christiane

zu Salm and the Frankfurt Book Fair, the conferenec will focus on the benefits of digital technologies for art and culture and discusses intellectual property issues. “It’s about time that the international creative economy has a marketplace of its own; a place where all the questions related to the business of creativity can be discussed,” zu Salm said. “It’s about time that the international creative economy has a marketplace of its own; a place where all the questions related to the business of creativity can be discussed. Returning to the fair this year is the Business Club, where professionals across the trade can network and share ideas. Since 2014, creative visionaries and key economic players from the media industry have been meeting at the get-together. With its programme, the Business Club serves as a central meeting point. In addition to making it easier to make new business contacts and appointments, it above all highlights the international character of its speakers and participants, who come from more than 48 countries. Further conferences such as The Markets and the International Rights and Directors Meeting round off the opportunities for advanced professional training offered by the various stages and events. For more information and to purchase tickets to the Frankfurt Book Fair, go towww.bookfair.com/en/.

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NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

New books from this Autumn Horse Flesh

By Tina Sugarman Enter the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, in this exhilarating debut from an insider. The story, however, goes far beyond that and touches on universal themes that every reader will recognise. 1st September, 2016 RRP £16.99 paperback, £6.99 ebook

How To Live By Peter Johns

A delightfully poignant life manual written for his daughter on her eighteenth birthday, to help her transition into the adulthood he feared she might not live to enjoy. 13th September, 2016 RRP £5.99 paperback, £2.99 ebook

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Shouting From the Summits By Kala Ramachandran Uplifting memoir charting one woman’s mountaineering adventures and how they helped her manage a debilitating childhood stammer, regain self-confidence and become fearless. 13th September, 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook

For the Love of Grace By Andy Blackman

His family murdered, and with his dark past closing in, expert assassin Tom is left with no choice but to return to London to face his demons once and for all, in this debut thriller. 29th September, 2016 RRP £7.99 paperback, £4.99 ebook


Überdacious

The Learn

A delightful, and deeply personal, lifestyle guide brings together the perfect combination of health tips, delicious recipes and family anecdotes to be enjoyed by anyone looking to improve their overall well-being.

The introduction of new technology threatens to upend the way of life in a Celtic Druid society as conflicting loyalties pit tribes against one another in this lyrical historical fiction from debut author.

29th September, 2016 RRP £9.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook

29th September, 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook

By Simone Santivari

By Tony Halker

Money Makes You Happy

Katharina Luther

Italy’s leading personal finance expert releases first English translation of his number one bestseller on making money and earning the life you want.

Escaping from a convent in a herring barrel, marriage to Martin Luther and pregnant with an ‘Antichrist’ child, the unsung history of Katharina von Bora is brought to life in this fascinating new historical fiction.

By Alfio Bardolla

4th October, 2016 RRP £12.99 paperback, £5.99 ebook

Preceded by Chaos Vol. 0 By M. Wheeler

The gripping first instalment in an innovative illustrated short story series detailing the past, present and future of a young emergency room doctor loosely based on the author’s real life experiences. 18th October, 2016 RRP £5.99 paperback, £2.99 ebook

By Anne Boileau

4th October, 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook

The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers By Karen M. Hoyle Spirited and adventurous children’s book series follows the adventures of a Cornish tin miner and his magical friends. 18th October, 2016 RRP £5.99 paperback, £2.99 ebook

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NEW EDITION, SEPTEMBER 2016

New books from this Autumn Pompy, Titany & Sharp Things

Pompy, Titany & Hot Things

Be Careful Home books and their main characters, Pompy and Titany, become everyday guardians of your children. They teach them to beware of the dangers as well warn parents to not neglect the safety of children by leaving dangerous objects within their reach.

Be Careful Home books and their main characters, Pompy and Titany, become everyday guardians of your children. They teach them to beware of the dangers as well warn parents to not neglect the safety of children by leaving dangerous objects within their reach.

25th October, 2016 RRP TBC

25th October, 2016 RRP TBC

Crucifixion’s a Doddle

After the Texans

By Kriss Keller

By Julian Doyle

This is a real life detective story stimulated by extraordinary happenings on the film set of ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’, as witnessed in Tunisia by Julian Doyle, the film’s editor. 1st November, 2016 RRP TBC

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By Kriss Keller

By Declan Milling After exposing government corruption in Papua New Guinea, UN carbon market official Emil Pfeffer must now deal with the fallout of his girlfriend’s kidnapping and the plot by a group known as The Texans in this thrilling sequel. 1st November, 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £2.99 ebook


CONTEMPORARY PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

Thanks for reading! Join us in December for the next issue of New Edition!

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NEW EDITION CONTEMPORARY ISSUE

30,

PUBLISHING SEPTEMBER

MAGAZINE

2016