A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “out 11th May 2017”

Guest Post by David Barker


I would like to introduce you all to David Barker.  His debut novel, ‘Blue Gold’ is being published on the 11th May of this year.  There is a blog tour being planned for David’s book which I will be taking part in.

David has written a really interesting guest post which I hope you enjoy reading.


Publishing Routes

Over the past nine months I have witnessed my wife self-publish a children’s picture book, a good friend get published by Penguin and my own debut novel comes out in May with Urbane Publications, a proud member of The Independent Publishing Guild. Each route has advantages and drawbacks. I attempt here to highlight the main ones, as I see them, to help you think about the trade-offs involved in each.

First, the traditional publishing route. You write a brilliant book, submit to an agent who’s interested in your genre, and get signed up. OK, that is not easy, not easy at all. Expect lots of rejections along the way. To get through the slush pile, it will need to sparkle, be on trend and be commercial. Once that’s been achieved, it’s not an automatic ticket to fame – the agent might want some editorial input. And then they have to find a publisher who wants to produce your book. I know writers who have got an agent but progressed no further.

Let’s suppose you’ve got that far and the rights have been bought – you’re definitely part of a hallowed minority and should feel justifiably proud. But the publisher might want some major alterations at this point, even to the title of your book and that can be pretty painful – like being told you don’t get to name your own child. Delays are not uncommon. For my friend, the brilliant Ali Land, whose debut Good Me Bad Me was released in January, it was virtually two years between being snapped up at the London book fair and finally seeing her novel hitting the shops.

But oh boy, when you get there… You can be sure that the publisher has invested a lot of time and money in your book. And they won’t skimp on the publicity campaign, high-profile reviews, marquee quotes on a beautiful cover. Your book will be stocked up and down the country. Doors will open for interviews, appearances at literary events etc.

At the other end of the spectrum is self-publishing. The most obvious advantage is that you get to choose if and when your book is published as long as you foot the bill. E-books are cheap, picture books very expensive. You’re responsible for editing and proof-reading. Designing the lay-out of the book and a striking cover is a skill in itself. It may be worth paying for some expert help if you can afford the increase in costs involved.

Once your book is out there, the really hard part begins. Most book shops are not interested in stocking self-published titles; it’s nothing personal, nor a judgment on your book, they’re simply too busy to look at the work of every self-published author who approaches them. A local connection – getting to know the people at the shops you want to target – can help and it might even earn you a premium spot in the store. My wife’s book sells very well at the places it is stocked, it’s just very hard to replicate that on a wide scale.

For these reasons, some self-published authors focus a lot of their effort on the e-book format, using social media to promote themselves and their work. It’s time consuming and the successful ones seem to rely on producing a large number of titles to ensure their fan-base grows and so they can afford to give away some of their work for free. You’ll need to be prolific and media savvy, but this route can work given enough time.

The final option is a kind of compromise between the first two. Independent publishers are willing to take more risks with the books they publish. My novel, Blue Gold, is a thriller set during a world war for water. Some agents suggested to me that Cli-Fi (speculative fiction about climate change) was not on trend at the moment. Were they being realistic about the current market or too conservative in their thinking?

Most indie publishers don’t require that you have an agent, which means that there is no third party taking a slice of the royalties. Typically, you’ll get more freedom in the editing process while still getting support on cover design and layout. Independent publishers may have their own fan base, helping to promote each book as it comes out. But you won’t get a big publicity campaign and titles don’t automatically get stocked in the big national chains. You’re going to have to get yourself out there, talk to people, try to get invited to festivals, offer to do talks and book signings.

It’s worth noting that both self-publishing and indie publishing can morph into the traditional route. The Martian, by Andy Weir, was originally self-published before being picked up by Del Rey when they noticed how well it was doing. Eimar McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing was originally published by Galley Beggar Press of Norwich after several bigger houses thought it was too risky. But as it started to gather critical acclaim, Faber & Faber stepped in and offered to help maximise the book’s potential.

To all my fellow writers out there, good luck in your endeavours, whichever route you choose.

You can buy my wife’s book, Amelie and the Great Outdoors here: www.fionabarker.co.uk

You can find out more about me and my book, Blue Gold, here: www.davidbarkerauthor.co.uk

And my publisher here: http://urbanepublications.com


‘Blue Gold’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/blue-gold/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Gold-David-Barker-x/dp/1911331655/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488657122&sr=1-1&keywords=blue+gold+by+david+barker


Interview with Anne Coates


I’d like to welcome Anne Coates back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ is out on the 11th May of this year.  As part of the event I have interviewed Anne.


As you know I loved ‘Dancers in the Wind’ and I am thoroughly looking forward to your next book which is out in May. Can you tell me a bit about it please?

‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ continues Hannah Weybridge’s story and opens with her discovering the dead body of her close friend Liz Rayman in the crypt of St John the Evangelist at Waterloo where she ran a weekly pro bono dental surgery. Initially the police write off the murder as perpetrated by one of the homeless clients high on drink or drugs. Neither Hannah or Liz’s mother, Lady Celia Rayman, is convinced by this theory and Celia employs the journalist to start investigating. No spoilers here.


Did you have to do much research?

I know the area (and the Cardboard City in the Bullring in the 90s) really well. My mother was born in Waterloo and many of my extended family lived there. I also worked for IPC magazines when situated at King’s Reach Tower, Stamford Street which gave me a good backdrop. Having written the first three chapters many years ago, strangely I had never been inside the church. I have subsequently attended many meetings there and it will be the venue for my launch party.

My work as a freelance journalist for newspapers and magazines gave me a solid background for my protagonist.

There are themes that I have gone back to primary sources for research – I won’t mention these as I hope readers will be surprised and intrigued as to how the novel progresses. I am also blessed with friends who work in diverse careers whom I can tap into for information. Great to do my research over a glass of wine and a chat with a friend!


What made you decide to write crime fiction?

The first short story I had published was a “confession” of a crime and many of my tales with a twist which I wrote for magazines like Bella (some published in ‘Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected’) concerned a crime of some description from fraud to murder. I love reading crime novels and believe you should always write what you would like to read!


Can you relate to any of your characters?

I am blessed/cursed with the type of mind which can put me in someone else’s shoes very easily.

Hannah Weybridge has some of my foibles and characteristics (but is not me). In many ways she is my alter ego and does things I wish I had the guts to do. I would never be such a risk-taker. There are other characters I have fallen a bit in love with like Tom Jordan the DI in ‘Dancers in the Wind’ and James, the doctor who also features in both books. I have a real soft spot for Sam who has a small role in DitW and DSJ but may have more to say in book three which I am currently working on. Linda comes to the fore in book three and she is an amalgam of some of my loveliest friends. I can also put myself into the minds of my baddies – which probably reveals a bit too much about me and my darker side!


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

As a journalist I learned to write fast and stick to deadlines so that discipline helps with writing books. So the answer to your question is, it depends on the deadline but I do like a lot of thinking/dreaming time for ideas to percolate and take root. My writing is very character led and they often take me off in directions I would never have contemplated when I first started a particular book.


Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Not really. I usually write at home although I also scribble down ideas on buses and trains. As my first draft is written on my laptop it means I can be anywhere – even in my garden when it’s warm. If I get stuck with a scene I find changing rooms helps – a move to the kitchen or bedroom encourages a new perspective.


Are there going to be more books?

I am currently writing book three in the Hannah Weybridge series (as yet no title) and I have an idea for another book when we meet her many years later.


I see that you are also an editor. What does that involve doing?

I have edited magazines for various companies and for many years I have abridged books for Reader’s Digest for the UK, Australian and Canadian markets. Cutting a book – sometimes by as much as 50 per cent – is a major task and by the end I have read the book so often I probably know it better than the author. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown when I had to cut Middlemarch in half for the Orion Compact Editions. With the classics you can’t change a word and as I love that book it was heart-breaking to eliminate themes or storylines.

I also copy edit, which involves checking facts and spellings, making sure of consistency, following house style and basically dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s.


What was your experience at getting published by Urbane Publications like?

I have been published by four other companies: Wayland, Bloomsbury, Need to Know, and Endeavour and each experience has been different. Urbane Publications – like many of the newer indie publishers – offers a more collaborative approach, which works well for me. The focus, enthusiasm and sense of purpose is brilliant and I also enjoy the being part of a group of authors who are supportive and happy to meet up in real life. Last year Urbane sent a group of us to CrimeFest, which was a great experience and this year I’ll be on one of the panels and we’ll all meet up for drinks and the Gala Dinner.


What advice have you got for anyone wishing to pen a book?

Read widely, keep writing and don’t give up. There are many routes to getting published now and if you persevere you’ll find the right one for you. I was once told to write the first novel, dump it and get on with the second. My first novel is still in a box in the attic.


Who are your favourite authors?

Twitter has introduced my to an amazing array of authors whom I might not have come across but whose books have become firm favourites. Some have become friends and if I started naming them I’d be bound to leave someone out in error. However it was with utter joy when I learned that the daughter of a close friend (and my daughter’s godfather) had achieved a brilliant publishing deal. Needless to say I loved reading it: ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by E C Healey. When I have the time I go back to reading old favourites like Wilkie Collins, Dickens, James Joyce, and DH Lawrence among others.


If you were only allowed to keep three items what would they be?

Although I am an inveterate hoarder, I try to discipline myself not to be “owned” by possessions. It’s taken me a long time to realise this. My family, friends and three cats (the felines are all sitting with me as I write this, making sure I include them) are the world to me. If I had to choose items it would probably be my mother’s rings and earrings, old family photos currently framed and hanging in the dining room, and my phone which contains all my contacts. Actually this has given me an idea for another book …



Dancers in the Wind

Death’s Silent Judgement

Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected

Author website http://www.annecoatesauthor.com/

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