The trick to structuring your book right – first time, every time

Decades ago, when I was studying the philosophy of history post-grad under Prof. Peter Munz, he announced to the class that the biggest challenge facing anybody writing a book was sustaining the argument. It was, he warned, the hardest thing to do. I still remember the lesson, along with the derision with which some of… More The trick to structuring your book right – first time, every time

Going viral – the problem with authors being discovered on the web

I’ve got a question to which I don’t – yet – know the answer. One of the biggest problems with the new publishing paradigm is the fact that the tools publishers have to make themselves known by are common to all social media and internet users. Any individual voice consequently gets lost in the noise.… More Going viral – the problem with authors being discovered on the web

Why short stories lashed together as novels don’t work

It seems to me that one of the main differences between a short story and a novel isn’t just scale; it’s perspective, which is why novels made up of lashed-together short stories with the same setting don’t always work very well. Let me explain. A novel typically has the length to engage in a fairly… More Why short stories lashed together as novels don’t work

Editing secrets for publishing – line editing and final quality control

In the last few posts I’ve been outlining how publishers edit manuscripts – which, at this part in the process, is quality control ahead of release. This process applies just as much to those who are self-publishing. Once the manuscript has been proof-edited and the author’s comments taken in, a variety of things happen – all… More Editing secrets for publishing – line editing and final quality control

Editing secrets for publishing – the necessary skills for proof-editing

When a publisher receives an author’s manuscript, several things happen. If it’s unsolicited (which happens where the agency system doesn‘t apply), it’s sent to the ‘slush pile’ – the term for the heap of unsolicited manuscripts that might, maybe, contain a gem. Typically the most junior editor gets the task of reading them, then packing… More Editing secrets for publishing – the necessary skills for proof-editing

What ‘editing’ means to publishers – and it’s not what you think

‘Editing’ is an oft-misused term. In the next few posts I’ll be outlining what it is in terms of editorial systems for publishing – which isn’t what authors mean by ‘editing’. To do that, I’m drawing from the thirty-plus years I’ve spent in the business, not just as a writer but also working professionally in publishing over that… More What ‘editing’ means to publishers – and it’s not what you think

What copyright actually means and how it works

Every so often I see labels attached to YouTube videos to the effect of ‘no infringement intended, copyrights remain with the original owner’, or similar, as if this gets around the fact that the poster has obviously put something up they haven’t licensed. Infringement has nothing to do with trying to take possession of another person’s copyright… More What copyright actually means and how it works