At The End of The Rainbow

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Can working with a literary consultancy really help you to secure that elusive publishing deal? If your work is any good, it will eventually get picked up by an agent or publisher anyway ... won't it? So, why spend your money on getting your work appraised? Shanta Everington talks to five authors who have found success after turning to Cornerstones literary consultancy.

My Landlady

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by Ann Giles

The other students didn’t always do so well. One young man was told that ‘we don’t eat fruit for breakfast in this house’, as he was caught redhanded wolfing down a banana, just to avoid starvation. He subsequently went on to be a novelist, although not a particularly marvellous one. Must have been the bananas.

We came over for a term or two, or three, of English at the University of Sussex and were put up with local families. Those who didn’t get punished for eating bananas often ended up finding rooms or flats to live in.

Luckily I did much better. But it wasn’t the wonderful room or the delicious food, but what I learned from my lovely host family, that made my year with them so successful. And not just at the time.

Madame Bovary, Book Reviews and the Art of being a Critic

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by Jane Turley

Whilst surfing I discovered an article by author Charles Baxter on the Fiction Writers Review website about the art of reviewing books. It contained the following statement;

"… I’m going out on a limb here, you don’t really need to review Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Flaubert’s Madame Bovary."

Mr Baxter explained why it wasn’t necessary to review such classics which, to sum up, is because the jury’s no longer out on the classics. Then, he went on to scorn the way most reviews are constructed, the use of words like “significant,” “important” and “stunning” and take a pop at the reviews of what might be termed as the “plebs” on Amazon.

You know what? I found that article a tad conceited. Why is there a tendency amongst critics, particularly the academics, to sound like The Omniscient? Or to put it colloquially; sound like they’ve got their heads up their own backsides.

Escape from Isolation

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This month’s opportunities article compares two not-for-profit Writers Groups. One is located in regional Victoria, Australia, and the other in Norfolk, in the United Kingdom. Both groups are roughly the same distance from a major city.

Chairperson Bronwyn Blaiklock tells The View From Here about her writers group in Ballarat, Australia. Ballarat is approximately 100 kilometres from Melbourne, the state’s capital...

Ballarat Writers Inc began as a small collection of like-minded writers who wanted to increase the opportunities for regional writers. As a volunteer-run group its evolution has been dependent upon its committee membership which has waxed and waned over the last 20 years. Naturally the amount and variety of activities the group is able to produce is reflective of committee numbers. We have just over 100 members at last count, most of whom live in regional Victoria.

Designing your Website

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by Richard Collingridge

 Over the last couple of months, I have, amongst other things, been trying to re-build my website in html. In the past I have used Flash, and a flash website in general will take me about 4-5 days to complete if I have an idea about what I would like to do before-hand!

The trouble with flash websites, is that they take too long to load, and aren't the easiest things to update, as you have to recreate the flv (flash video file) every time you update. The latter is less important, but the first reason is very important as art directors (from publishing companies) or producers (film, games) will have thousands of different illustrators to look through at any one time, and if they are waiting 5 minutes for your site to load, they will most likely close it and move on to the next illustrator who has a site that opens up quickly or put your site on a different tab while they look at other illustrators and end up completely forgetting about your work!

The Spirit of World Book Night

Reader Logo by Annette Green

I have to say that nothing I’ve read or heard has explained to me precisely what the purpose of World Book Night (WBN) is intended to be. There is plenty of fine talk about celebrating literature and introducing people to the pleasures of reading, but these are not the sort of concrete goals that a marketing initiative needs. I’m well aware that selling books is about as far from a science as one can get, but surely you still need a definable goal. Media coverage of books is a good thing, but if that alone were enough to persuade people to get reading then the astronomical success of J K Rowling would have unleashed hordes of book-thirsty readers into the nation’s bookshops to fight over the 3 for 2s. It didn’t.

Jonathan Stroud in Latest Issue of The View From Here

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Interviews with the creators of the graphic novel The Amulet of Samarkand: Jonathan Stroud, Lee Sullivan & Andrew Donkin and Chris Hamilton-Emery the Publishing Director of Salt.

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Also inside ...

A Bitter Martyr by Mark Gartside

Once the decision was made we could all relax and get on with it. There was a lot to organise: the clinic, my will, a final psychiatric evaluation. The travel arrangements alone took a while: for someone in my condition, travel is difficult and painstaking. My parents refused to help with them, so they were left to my oldest friend, Ian. Now, with two weeks to go, all that was left was the waiting.
“We should have a party,” I said to Ian. “Get everyone together. Say goodbye, celebrate my life, that kind of thing.”

Read more at our fiction page: A Bitter Martyr