Monday, 25 June 2012

The Path to Publishing - hanging out with Britmums

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For those of you in a rush....the secret to getting work published lies in having a very good agent (they are worth the 15% I am told), and a really polished product.

This is in essence what I learnt on the weekend. Two very useful nuggets gleaned from a Google+ hangout session organised by Britmums. Thank you Britmums!

Lucky for me not being able to attend the conference did not mean I missed out. In fact I think I got VIP treatment as, I, along with just five other people in their respective homes got a private audience with the speakers in their 'green room' following their presentations.

It was my first time using Google+ hangout sessions, and for anyone else not au fait with 'Hangouts', they are a bit like Skype but with several video cam windows of those attending open at once. A conference call online (sort-of) if you will. Whoever is making most noise pops up as the largest central image - so if you don't want to be the centre of attention you need to either keep quiet or turn your mic off. As my husband had not managed to get home on time and I had two little people present with no chance of being quiet, I went for the mic off option.

Rather embarrassingly I had managed to forget the question I submitted to the speakers the day before, and was a little on the back foot when the speakers asked those attending to pose their questions for the benefit of the wider audience. Woopsy! Had to claim baby brain. My question (they kindly reminded me) was 'I'm a talker not a writer; how can I get words to flow so easily from my pen as my mouth?'

The speakers didn't actually have an answer for that one, so I modified my question to 'how do I select a subject to focus on?'

As a reader of this blog you might have already noticed an eclectic mix of posts which quite fairly reflect my eclectic life. In fact maybe I should change the blog title to just that! The speakers seemed to be more comfortable with this question and told me I had to find a subject that I could write about more authoritatively than anyone else. Christ - how do I do that? I'm no expert and I don't beleive many of us can claim to be. To write a truly original and authoritative piece sounds suspiciously like a PHD thesis to me. Silly me, I didn't realise Stephanie Meyer (the Twighlight saga author - yes, I'm a saddo Twi fan), had a doctorate. Meow! So now I just need to figure out what the hell it is I know so much about.

Another member of the audience asked what I thought was an interesting question, 'should I publish a chapter of my manuscript on my blog to get reader feedback?'. The general consensus was 'no'. Although one speaker said that a book is not just the words but the style of writing, and it would be impossible for someone to recreate your complete work unless they can succesful copy your style. Well, I'm pretty sure there are cases of plagiarsm out there, so I think I'd agree with the No's on this one. It was also suggested that friends, colleagues, and literary agents should be the ones to help in the first instance with feedback.

Nearing the end of toddlers naptime so off to grab that last chance, feet-up cuppa, and watch some tennis - its wimbledon don't you know.

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