Writing and Publishing Distortion – Advice for writers

I haven’t made a big song and dance about it…yet, but my second novel, Distortion, is now out as an e-book and a paperback. It’s been a long process, but my writing and editing skills have been sharpened by working with the inspiring clients I have worked with since 2013, when I set up my freelance editing business, Wild Rosemary Writing Services.

Now I have helped other people’s dreams of publication to come true, I felt that I knew the editing process well, I had great feedback from my friends who wee the “beta readers” of the book before it was published, and I had a wonderful cover designed by Susie Morley, which really makes the book eye-catching.

I started writing Distortion in 2010, shortly after finishing my writing MA, and it was wonderfully freeing to write something brand new, without any baggage or restrictions. Having new ideas and developing new characters was really exciting, and the second time around, I felt much more sure-footed when it came to plotting the novel.

Now I’ve written and self-published two novels, I can pass on some advice for aspiring novelists – I’d love to know what you think.

  1. Don’t work alone. Being part of a writing group is really useful. Find one that suits you, and if you can’t find one, form one yourself. I was one of the founding members of the Sheffield Novelists group, and now it’s been going since 2009, helping people through the creative process and bringing writers together. There are also many online writers’ groups, such as Scribophile. The ideal writers’ group will keep you going – e.g. help you to commit to writing a chapter per month, encourage you, but also discuss aspects of your work that could be improved.
  2. Keep going ! If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a million and one things in your life as well as writing a novel. Just keep going. Even if you can only commit half an hour in a day, or a few hours at weekends to your writing, keep up that commitment to yourself. This is something that you may keep needing to evaluate if you let yourself down, but that’s how I finished, and edited Distortion.
  3. Don’t hurry! In my opinion, a novel needs space and time to breathe and develop. You may find yourself being as influenced by your novel as much as you are creating it. For example, I thought that my music-obsessed teenage main character, Jason, might be really into the band Manic Street Preachers, so I started buying their albums, despite not being a big fan to start with. It had also been years since I had picked up a guitar. Along the way, I now have a “libraries gave us power” Manic Street Preachers tattoo (featured below), I’ve learned how to play the bass, and I’m now playing the guitar in a band. Your novel is part of you, so live and breathe it while you are writing. Obviously this would be a little worrying if you were writing a murder mystery though.
  4. Keep learning: go to writing workshops and spoken word nights whenever you can, read about and research the craft of writing, and meet fellow writers. Pop into your local library (hopefully you have one!), or search online for writing events near you. Often, there are events that are free or affordable, and there’s advice online. Go Teen Writers is one of my favourite blogs for advice on the nuts and bolts of writing, although it does tend to have a U.S. bias. This will also help you to build up a network of other writers and get great advice from published authors as well as people who are starting out.
  5. Edit as much as you can. Once you’ve finished the first complete draft, put it away for a few weeks at least and enjoy the freedom. Once your writing fingers start itching again, edit until your book is the best you can make it. There’s some good advice here about editing your book in layers.
  6. Once you’ve edited your book, you still need an external editor. This isn’t just a plug for my own editorial services! Whether this is someone that you pay, or a friend or relative you can trust to be eagle-eyed and even ruthless at times, you need someone to spot those silly mistakes (no matter how carefully you think you’ve checked your manuscript) or daft ideas that just didn’t work. Then go through the book again yourself, just in case anything stands out.
  7. Self publishing is difficult, but worth it. It’s great to get my words out in print and to know that people around the world can read them. The problem is publicity and marketing. I love my books, but I don’t want to feel like I’m blowing my own trumpet all the time and boring friends on social media and in real life to death by constantly reminding them to buy my book – and then to review it on Amazon. You’ve got to get the balance right. It’s a good idea to help out other authors too, particularly self-published ones. Give other writers good reviews and hopefully, they’ll do the same for you!

Please take a look at Distortion. If you fancy reading an exciting novel about secrets, lies and loud guitars, you’ll definitely enjoy it. It’s out as an e-book and also as a rather handsome paperback.

Here’s the blurb:

When teenager Jason Knight picks up a battered acoustic guitar in a charity shop, he just wants to form a band with his best friend Ben and stop being bullied by his nemesis, Bradley Smeed.

Jason’s guitar playing stirs up memories for his mum Kaz. She’s been keeping her true identity secret: fourteen years ago, she ran away from cult stardom in the band Mission Control, traumatised by the death of her lover, troubled guitar genius Daz Lightning.

Will Jason Discover the truth and become a rock god?

Read a sample or buy the book below!

 

Published in 2016 – The Girl With the Emerald Brooch by Jacqueline Creek

2016 has been a busy year so far and I’ve been helping lots of authors reach their dreams of publication.

The Girl With the Emerald Brooch has been one of my biggest success stories to date. I first met Jacqueline Creek at a memoir writing workshop I ran in October 2013, as part of Sheffield’s Off the Shelf literary festival.

I asked participants to bring along an item of sentimental value to write about. Jacqueline brought along the brooch, a very small but significant object. The short but moving piece she wrote became the starting point of her memoir – and there will be several more volumes about Jacqueline’s exciting life to come.

Growing up in the working class community of Owlerton, Jacqueline looks after her ailing family and becomes a rebellious, rock ‘n’ roll loving teenager. Blossoming into a beautiful young woman, she faces the challenges of growing up and finding her own path in life.

This book is more than just a memoir. Jacqueline vividly brings the Sheffield of the 1950s and early 60s to life. She conjours up a long-lost world: Tanfield Road, where she grew up, has now been demolished and replaced by motor garages. I can’t drive down Penistone Road now without thinking about the people who once lived here.

After the book was self-published on Amazon, The Girl With the Emerald Brooch was published by J R Nicholls. The book is available on Amazon, in both paperback and e-book  formats.

The Girl with the Emerald Brooch. I can’t wait to start work on the sequel!

book-cover-photo

 

From dreams to publication in 2015

I’ve been rather quiet on my blog, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been quiet in real life. During 2015 so far, I’ve helped four authors to publish their books.

The editing process varies from client to client. Some people approach me with a manuscript that’s almost ready to be published, whereas other books need more shaping. Some of my clients are already fairly confident with computers and the internet – but I’m happy to guide people through the whole process and de-mystify it for you. I can also work on an effective cover design and blurb for your book.

Some books need to be typed up, having languished in a bottom drawer for years. If you, or someone you knows has a hand-written or type-written manuscript, that’s absolutely fine by me!

Some people don’t have manuscript at all – it doesn’t mean they don’t have a story to tell. If this sounds like you, let’s talk – and I’ll do the writing.

The reason that I use self-publishing platforms such as Amazon’s Createspace is that publishing is now accessible to everyone. As a self-published author, you’re in control of what your book looks like, how much it costs, and you receive the royalties directly into your bank account. I can also help you with marketing tools, such as setting up a Facebook page and Twitter account for your book, and advising you on book launches and other promotional tools.

I’m currently on the look out for new clients, so please get in touch if you think I can help: https://wildrosemarywritingservices.wordpress.com/what-i-can-do-for-you/

Don’t take my word for it though – take a look at the books I’ve published so far this year.

Send in the Clown by Tom Webster

Send in the Clown by Tom Webster

Send in the Clown by Tom Webster

Tom Webster was born in 1931, and in the 1970s and 80s had a successful career writing radio plays for the BBC, juggling his writing with his job as a head teacher. On his retirement, Tom started to write his first novel, ‘Send in the Clown’, set on the North Yorkshire coast.

From a distance, it looks like a bundle of old clothes washed up at the tide’s edge, but thirty years in the Met tells Howard otherwise. It’s a body. And a body says trouble.

When Howard Johnstone retires from the CID, he returns for a holiday in his home town on the North Yorkshire coast. He stays, enticed by a beautiful face from his past. Gwen Melsome, the Fair Miss Frigidaire.

July 1962: Saltby Grammar’s production of Twelfth Night. Howard as Feste the clown. Gwen, the cool lady Olivia. Type casting. A passionate but interrupted backstage embrace.

After thirty years, Gwen is back, running her father’s old bookshop, and Howard falls in lust all over again. With wishful thinking, Howard takes on a part-time driving job for one of Saltby’s great and good, surgeon Alex Saunders. But when he finds a body on the beach, Howard curses his luck. He’s been an idiot to return, and an even bigger idiot to stay. Nothing but trouble ahead.

Take a look on Amazon.

 

Difficult Times by Debbie Mansfield

Difficult Times by Debbie Mansfield

Difficult Times by Debbie Mansfield

Debbie lives in Sheffield with her husband and pet spaniel Jasmine. Difficult Times is a romantic thriller, set in an England where climate change has made many of its citizens homeless.

The sea waters have risen around the coast of Britain, bringing chaos and misery to thousands.

Jane works in a homeless shelter. After the death of her husband, she submerges herself in her work. Can she turn her own life around and meet someone special again? Clara lives alone and struggles to cope with the effects of aging. Will she survive when she is burgled and left for dead?

Martin is one of the unlucky ones. He sets out to make himself a new beginning in Leeds. Can he overcome the misery of living on the streets and find happiness?

Jez, Freddy, Matt and Neil are four homeless youths squatting in Leeds. What will become of the four friends as their hardship intensifies? Their paths become entwined, with devastating consequences. Is there a happy ending for any of them?

Take a look on Amazon.

Who Your Friends Are by Susan Day

Who Your Friends Are by Susan Day

Who Your Friends Are by Susan Day

Susan has been writing for a long time, developing her skills as a hobby, grabbing time in between work and a busy family life. She’s now retired and loves devoting her time to writing. Who Your Friends Are is Susan’s first published novel, but there will be many more to come.

Two little girls, Pat and Rita, back in the 1950s, become best friends. Who Your Friends Are tells the story, in Pat’s words, of the way their lives diverged.

Rita is ambitious and determined and becomes successful in a way neither her family nor Pat would ever have imagined. Pat follows Rita’s career with interest but without envy. She herself follows a conventional route through marriage, children, a job in a caring profession, and always believing in the enduring quality of their friendship.

Now Pat finds herself without a job, with her children all grown up and time on her hands. Her past history with Rita is due for a reassessment – what will she make of it?

Take a look on Amazon.

 

Tomorrow Never Comes by Derek S. Lupson

Tomorrow Never Comes by Derek Lupson

Tomorrow Never Comes by Derek Lupson

Some people would struggle to fill a small notebook with their life achievements and adventures. Tomorrow Never Comes is Derek’s first book – his hair-raising escapade in Ethiopia in the final year of Haile Selassie’s reign as he attempts – and succeeds in setting up a trading organisation based on NAAFI for the Ethiopian Imperial Airforce. I hope that Derek will now tell the world of his many exploits in his long and illustrious career with NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes).

The rifle was forced through the window of my old Renault Four car and rammed up my nose, forcing my head back at a painful angle. Here I was: a youngish retail executive, outside the rebel-held Airforce Base of Debre Zeit, deep in the heart of Ethiopia, while two rebels argued about killing me. It is at times like this that one wonders how the hell one got into such a situation.

Derek Lupson didn’t ask for a life of adventure. In 1973, he was running a supermarket for NAAFI in darkest Doncaster. The Managing Director then tells Derek that he’s the ideal person for a little job he has in mind.

The “little job” involves being posted 4,000 miles away, to Ethiopia, a country that has to be pointed out to him on a map. His task: to set up a modern trading organisation, based on NAAFI, for the Imperial Ethiopian Airforce.

In his struggle to achieve the impossible, Derek comes face to face with Emperor Haile Selassie, corrupt bureaucrats and wild animals. He encounters heart-rending poverty and decadent glamour.

But does he find the love of his life?

Take a look on Amazon.

Wild Rosemary Writing Services: Publishing Track Record!

It’s great to announce that some of the books I have worked on as an editor and a “self-publishing enabler” have now been unleashed on the world, and I’m very proud of them.

Joe Blow by Joe Ashton

Former veteran Labour MP, Joe Ashton, has now published his memoir Joe Blow, which is available in the Sheffield Star shop: York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU, which you can also order by calling 0114 2521299. The book is also available from B&B Office Machines in Broomhill, Sheffield. Call 0114 2668251 or email sales@bandboffice.co.uk for more details.

Extracts from the book has also been serialised in the Sheffield Star newspaper. You can read the first one here.

The Woodhead Diaries

Barnsley folk music legend Dave Cherry has been enjoying a big success with his novel The Woodhead Diaries, a historical murder mystery featuring the real life story of the construction of the Woodhead railway tunnel through the Pennines in Victorian times, and the 1950s detective who pieces together the mystery of the bodies which turn up during the construction of the third railway tunnel.

Legends and Rebels of the Football World

Football coach and former international football player, Norm Parkin, has also published his book, Legends and Rebels of the Football World. The book is Norm’s journey to meet and interview some of the biggest and most notorious football heroes of the twentieth century, and all the profits will go to the Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund.

Joan Lee is 91 years old, almost 92, and she’s as sharp and bright as she ever was while she was working as one of Sheffield’s most long-serving pub landladies! She’s now a publishing powerhouse, as not only has she published her memoirs, with fascinating stories from the Sheffield blitz and pubs from the East End of Sheffield to posh Dronfield. Behind Bars has proved to be very popular. Now Joan has published Gammon and Pineapple, a novella with a new twist on romance!

Cover design version 2

And as well as the Dales Tales poetry anthology, I’ve also published the first collection of poetry by Darren Howes. Poems from A Room Beyond Awareness is spiritual, thought-provoking and also humorous – an exploration of a path into Buddhism.

If you would like to publish your book in 2015, please contact me. With a proven track record, I can work with you to professionally edit, format and publish your book as a paperback on Amazon Createspace or Lulu.com, and as an e-book on Kindle Direct Publishing. I will guide you through the process and help to demystify it, and can even design your book cover for you! When your book is finished, you will be in charge and the royalties from book sales will come directly to you.

It doesn’t matter if you need to dictate your book to a “ghost writer”, if you have a type-written manuscript in your back drawer, or if you are an experienced writer who needs guiding through the maze of self-publishing – I can help.

Contact me at: anne.grange77@googlemail.com , or call me on 07815966784 to discuss your project. I look forward to hearing from you.

Rivelin Story Walk- Saturday 18th October – part of Off the Shelf

Come to the Rivelin Story Walk and explore a magical valley!

Come to the Rivelin Story Walk and explore a magical valley!

As part of Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival of words, I’m excited to be leading an event – a story walk through the magical Rivelin Valley for children and adults.

Explore the Rivelin Valley and follow a trail of fairy hide-outs, goblin thrones, troll bridges and fast-flowing water.

Use your imagination and write amazing stories about your adventures afterwards in the cafe. 

Meet at 11am at the Rivelin Park cafe in the Rivelin Park, S6 5GE. Free parking is available nearby. We will return to the cafe after the walk for a drink and a snack.

To book a place, call me on 07815966784.

The walk is suitable for children aged 6-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: £3 adults / £2 children, including a drink and a cake. Hot and cold food is available at the cafe.

Please come dressed for the great outdoors and bring notebooks, cameras, and bags for collecting treasure on the way.

I’ve been on the radio!

This August, I’ve had two visits to BBC Radio Sheffield.

A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied Dave Cherry when he was interviewed on the Rony Robinson show about his life and times, and about his novel, The Woodhead Diaries, which I helped to edit and publish.

To my surprise, Rony’s producer asked if I would also like to be interviewed. My hard work seems to be paying off – I’ve now helped several people to be published, and I’ve even produced a poetry anthology of the work I’ve done so far with patients at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell, Dales Tales.

This week, suffering from the effects of a late summer cold, I talked about my life and my experiences that led me to start writing and set up my own business. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUS7Cn3JCEw&feature=youtu.be

And many thanks to Dave Cherry for recording the interview for posterity and making it into a short film.

Have you got a story you want to tell to the world? I can help…

What’s Your Story? A new memoir writing course, starting on 28th April 2014

What’s your story? An introduction to memoir writing.

Memoir Writing Course at Gladys Buxton Dronfield

 I’m excited to be running a new memoir writing course – this time, it’s in my guise as a Derbyshire Adult Education tutor.

The course will run on Monday evenings for 5 weeks, from 6.30-8.30pm at the beautiful Gladys Buxton Centre in Dronfield, S18 2EJ (it’s just over the border in Derbyshire, but very close to Sheffield.) The course runs for five weeks, with a break on the Bank Holiday Monday 26th May, to give you more opportunity to do some writing!

If you’ve always fancied writing a memoir, but aren’t sure how to get started, this course is for you. I’ll take you through from exploring memories using creative techniques, structuring and planning your memoir, bringing memories alive through dialogue and description, exploring alternative formats such as blogging or poetry, and looking at successful memoirs and autobiographies such as Jennifer Worth’s ‘Call the Midwife’. What makes them so vivid and compelling?

The course will also be a great opportunity to share experiences and the mutual support of other writers. The course is suitable for anyone from any background, young or old! You just need to want to tell your story.

Contact me for more information about the course via email or on 07815966784, or call the Gladys Buxton Centre on 01246 413631 to book a place.