Calling all self-published UK authors!

As well as running this website and my events website What’s On Where UK, I also run a digital quarterly magazine called Merryn Magazine. Over at Merryn, we love to champion independent retailers, unsigned music artists, charities, community groups and events. We also love to champion self-published authors, so every Wednesday, we will be bringing you a different self-published UK author! Take a look here for more information 🙂

The next project from us will be…. The Undead: Book Three, Asia

So, exciting news from us with regards to our next project. Michelle will start research for the next book in the zombie series in the new year. Again it will tell the story of what happened after the zombie outbreak happened and will cover Asia.

You can buy the first two books in paperback or as a Kindle e-book:

The Undead: Book One, Overview
What might life be like in a world beset by billions of human zombies? The Undead: Book One, Overview is an introduction to a nightmarish world in which the last few million humans are living in the shadow of a terrible and incurable virus that is drowning the species under a wave of billions of zombies. Book one focuses on how a British government would react to the crisis of suddenly finding that more than 58 million of its people had become highly infectious zombies and that the survivors are all infected with an incurable condition that will turn them into zombies upon death. The worldwide Infection Event occurred in 2020 and the dwindling human race has been struggling to survive in a poisoned world ever since.

The Undead: Book Two, North America
The sequel to The Undead: Book One, Overview looks at the worldwide RVS2 zombie pandemic as it happened in continental North America. Focusing on the emotional reality of life in the Crisis and the conditions on the ground of the new nation, United America, Book Two details the continuing survival of the Western superpower, even as it stares slow, inexorable oblivion in the face.

Find out how to buy these books at our webshop.

Who uses typewriters nowadays? Michael, apparently!

I’ve just read an article on the BBC News website about people who still use old gadgets, like black and white televisions, Polaroid cameras, landline phones, ZX Spectrums and typewriters.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-31647697

It got me thinking as Michael types every fiction book onto a typewriter. I then scan the pages onto the computer using clever software that converts it into text, and then I build the book using the scanned pages.

Michael has been using a typewriter since I met him in 2008, so I don’t know anything other than the clackety sound the typewriter makes as he crafts his work. It’s kind of hypnotic and I love to hear it. If he’s typing, he’s happy, so the sound of the typewriter is happiness 🙂

I decided to interview Michael about his typewriter usage 🙂

How old were you when you received your first typewriter?
I was 17. My mum and dad bought me it because I really wanted one. I was writing short stories at the time and we couldn’t afford a computer, so the only available technology was a typewriter or a pen. Writing with a pen is exhausting. Not physically exhausting, though you can get cramp, but mentally exhausting because it’s so much slower. Writing something long-hand is so much slower than a typewriter, because you can’t write as fast as you think with a pen, to be honest you can’t write as fast as you think with a typewriter either, but it’s closer than a pen at least. Although, the typewriter I have written most of my books on isn’t my first typewriter. My very first typewriter was made by the company Brother, I think, but I may be wrong, and instead of a regular ink ribbon, it had a kind of a cartridge that contained a tape and the letters wouldn’t be transferred onto the page by ink transference, they would be stamped out of the ink and transferred straight onto the page. The advantage of that was you’d have crisp letters every time, the disadvantage was you’d only use the cartridge once, and a new cartridge was really expensive, so they sent that one back and got me an Olivetti Lettera 25 which I used to type ten of my first eleven books on. The Box Of Mirrors was written in pen.

What typewriter are you using currently?
Currently I’m using a Silver Reed Silverette II, because over the years certain things started to malfunction on my Olivetti. I was typing with it once and the spring that makes the ink ribbon automatic return mechanism work came unhooked somehow from inside the machine and shot past my head! Other bits and bobs stopped working over the years and so I needed a new typewriter. Unfortunately the Silver Reed has a very hard platern, which is the roller that the paper goes onto (I’m reliably informed it was manufactured with hard rubber), and so I needed to get another typewriter as it stopped feeding paper, and there’s only so much sandpapering of the platern you can do. When I have finished writing the book I’m currently writing on the Silverette II, then I’ll use my latest typewriter, which is, I think, my oldest typewriter in terms of when it was made, which is an Underwood 18, which so far has no problems. I will get the Silver Reed and the Olivetti fixed, but it’s a specialist job and it’s expensive, so at the moment it’s oddly cheaper to buy a new second-hand typewriter than it is to fix the one you’ve already got.

Have you ever considered joining the 20th Century, considering that we’re in the 21st Century, and using a computer?
I have tried to write on a computer, but the ability to edit the document as you go is apparantly too much for me to resist, and so I write a tiny little bit, and then spend three times as long perfecting those couple of hundred words, that will, inevitably, require editing anyway! And so, getting nothing done. Added to that though, typing on a computer, I just feel disconnected from the work. I think that’s because the work doesn’t exist physically unless you were to print it out; it’s just a document on a computer, and given particularly when I first started using computers, the grim reliability they had for crashing and losing all of your work, trusting the computer with the only copy of my book is far too seat-of-the-pants for me, so I prefer to get it down on a typewriter, and then have it scanned or copy typed.

Finally, will you always use a typewriter?
Yes. I’ve seen once there was a USB keyboard, I think it was, which was genuinely a typewriter. It was a circular key qwerty keyboard, that you plug into your computer in the place of an ordinary PC keyboard, so you could get the feel of using a typewriter, without having to reload the paper every 700 or 800 words. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that’s an affectatation, but it does seem a little bit like the person plugging in that keyboard would be yearning to use a typewriter, so why not do it anyway? Especially since optical character recognition (OCR) programmes are so easy to come by now, so it’s not as if typewritten documents need copy-typing, as long as your ink ribbon’s good and you’re a good speller.

Poetry corner: Just Be

I haven’t written poetry since I was at school (I did my GCSEs in 1995 so this is clearly some time ago lol)

I used to love writing poetry. Though to me, poetry needed to rhyme. I know now that poetry does not need to rhyme, but the word ‘poetry’ always makes me think of rhyming phrases.

With that in mind, here is my poetic offering:

Just Be
When it seems that life is getting too much,

And you can’t seem to struggle free.
Just remember that life is short,
And just be.

When it’s much too hard to get out of bed,
Or you go on a spending spree,
Just remember that life is short,
And just be.

When it feels like giving in is your only option,
I’m simply not going to agree,
Just remember that life is short,
And just be.

Publishing Talk and Publishing Talk Magazine

If you’re a self-publishing author, you should take a look at Publishing Talk’s website. I love their magazine, Publishing Talk Magazine, which is free to download as a PDF. They have recently released issue 7, and it is packed full of helpful articles and tips. I especially liked Ben Galley’s article, How to Get Started on #SocialMedia, which was so useful.

You can sign up to receive the magazine in your inbox, which I did, so I wouldn’t miss out on the latest issues.

You can find out more here: http://www.publishingtalk.eu/magazine/

Goodreads giveaways

One thing I really love about the Goodreads website is the facility for authors to offer their books as giveaways to readers, often before their release date. We have run a few book giveaways for our books through Goodreads in the past, and we found it a fantastic way to spread the word about our books. It was brilliant to receive reviews from people who might otherwise not have read our books, or even heard of them.

On the other hand, I have entered quite a few giveaways myself and have added lots of books to my ‘to read’ list that I hadn’t previously heard of.

In case you haven’t taken a look at their giveaway page, here is the link:
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

Have you ever won a book through Goodreads? Have you had any good/bad experiences with giveaways? Let me know in the comments 🙂

What happens if your book gets cancelled or series doesn’t continue to get published?

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

contract signingThere are many reasons to have an agent in your corner, but the dreaded book cancellation–or having the plug pulled on your series–is a big one. Your agent will be your shoulder to cry on and help you with next steps.

Unfortunately, it happens and it’s not fun for anyone. This is not legal advice, but some experiences that you might have heard about.

Here are a few scenarios: 

1. Your book gets cancelled before you sign your contract. This is heartbreaking, especially for debut authors. You’re so thrilled to have a book deal. Your agent negotiated the terms and accepted the offer. Next is the contract. However, sometimes things happen in this stage that stop it in its tracks (the publisher gets bought, the editors leaves, the publisher shutters an imprint, you can’t agree on terms etc). This is why agents usually like to wait until publishing contracts are…

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