Archive for the ‘Getting Published’ Category

 

My writing has been virtually non-existent lately which is sad. I love the out-pouring of emotion and general release that only writing can offer. The pen no longer a material, solid object but part of your body, a functioning limb.

I miss the peace and tranquility that is only found when I disappear from this world into one of fantasy, even if the fantasy world contains horror, pain, torture or loneliness. I know that this is temporary, and like Alice, I will soon climb back out of the rabbit hole safe and sound (of mind).

Now, being in the real world is not such a simple story.

Being a Mum, an entrepreneur of a new business in these difficult and unstable times, and dealing with the day-to-day issues that life throws at you, like health issues, can be challenging. But, and this is a big BUT, I love it all. I love that I am now the proud owner of my own business. I love that I can get up each day and be excited about my job. I love meeting new and interesting people on a regular basis. I love that i’m helping other people and businesses to achieve. I LOVE LIFE.

I don’t think that I have ever been this happy and it appears to be drawing more happiness in towards me every day.

I have neglected this blog, but it has been for a very good reason. One of the main reasons is the one thing that will one day give me the lifestyle to be able to write all day everyday, my company.

I have now allocated two hours per week to spend on blogging, this blog is too important to me to give up.

For those writers that subscribe to my ramblings, I am helping to organise seminars for the amazing Mr David Baboulene http://www.baboulene.com   PhD Scholar, Story Consultant and published author.

See my previous blog;  https://persistentwriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-science-of-story/

The first seminar will be held at Birmingham City University, Edgbaston on 1st October 2011.

Ticket Cost £49.00 / £39.00 Concession.

If you want further information or would like to book your ticket for this amazing event, please do not hesitate to contact me: kirie.hansen@sky.com or click on the Baboulene link above.

We look forward to seeing you there…

 

 

 

Over the last couple of months I have been putting together the queen of all business plans in a bid to become one of Britain’s newest entrepreneurs. I have also been playing email tennis with a very kind-hearted successful businessman with a nose for an interesting opportunity and the patience of a saint (lots of theological references here for some odd reason!), I don’t know what I would have done without said Business Angel (he really is an angel).

I knew that the idea for my business was sound and original, that my services would be welcomed and appreciated, and that i’m not scared of hard work, but i’ve spent nearly eighteen years making money for others and this was all new to me. I have a sound corporate background working in a variety of positions and sectors, I knew that I could do this … or could I? I have spent so long being protected under the shield of a large organisation, suddenly I would need to protect myself.

Confidence, or a lack of it, began to attack me for the first time in my life. What if I couldn’t get anybody to deal with me? What if my great ideas and creativity weren’t so great after all? Blah Blah Blah. I no longer had a Director to pat me on the back and tell me how great I was, I was REALLY alone. I told my wonderful business angel and he kindly rounded up all of my stray confidence and put it calmly back where it should be, “YOU CAN do this!!!”

I didn’t have a great deal of cash to invest in this venture but I had an abundance of enthusiasm and a resourceful disposition. Oh and a ton of determination. I had my experience and contacts and wonderful friends. I CAN do this!!!

Because I am over thirty and don’t live in a developing area, I couldn’t get any funding or financial help. So much for the Conservative government desperately needing entrepreneurs! Ha! I had to do this on my own. Scary. Where do I start?

Business Link was my first point of call, helpful to a point … though the website is an excellent resource www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home .

Business Link then referred me to Business Enterprise Support (BES), they assigned me a Business Support Rep, Pascal, very helpful chap. I attended a one day training event then I was on my own. I still had questions and so The Chamber of Commerce was next. I made an appointment with the senior business advisor for my area and took in all of my documentation and business plan. This was an excellent meeting and filled me with confidence that I was making the right decision. I was actually doing this… YIPPEEEE!

I have now designed all of the literature for my business, designed and produced a basic website, and purchased all of my stationary. I have found the perfect office to work from and I have networked my wee butt off. I have gained my first clients; the launch of a new bar, Passion Cocktail and Tapas Bar Fazeley, and I have arranged a number of seminars for a Story Consultant / published author, David Baboulene across the UK.

http://passionfazeley.co.uk/

http://www.baboulene.com/

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be your own boss. I feel like I have powerful wings that are carrying me skyward without limits. I can do anything I put mind to. After my soul destroying 2010, I never thought that I would get to where I am today. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination (and a few sleepless nights) but i’ve done it. I’m under no illusions that this is going to be easy and i’m learning every day, but it’s worth it.

My writing continues, though in smaller chunks of time, and I have every intention of continuing with this blog so please stick with me. I’ll keep you all posted of how my journey progresses.

http://www.kiriehansen.co.uk/

 

 

 

I wanted to start this blog with something witty about the Festival of Writing 2011 but I found this statement so touching that it had to come first. This gives you an idea of the type of people with whom you are dealing and the kind of support that you can receive through The Writers’ Workshop.

“The Promise that Never Dies”

From Harry Bingham, author and WW boss
“If you come to our Festival and an agent is seriously interested in your work, then we will be as helpful as we can in making sure that interest turns into a signed offer of representation … followed ideally by a book deal.

Harry Bingham

Because these things can take time, please rest assured that we will ALWAYS be on hand to help in any way we can. Unless we start to do hands-on editorial work, we won’t even charge for our help. There is no expiry date for this offer. If your work is strong, we’ll do what we can to help with agents, period.

We’ve helped countless writers hook up with countless agents. Last year’s Festival produced book deals, and 2011 promises to do better yet. We very much hope to do the same for you one of these days.”

Harry gave this speech at the event. To offer such a commitment to so many was both brave and beautiful.

There are two people in addition to Harry that stand out for me, they are always going out of their way to help others; Debi Alper and Emma Darwin. A fellow writer friend and myself informed Debi that another talented, aspiring author and Word Cloud member had had a particularly disappointing one-to-one; she was upset and hurt. Debi went out of her way to help this person; to talk to them and reassure them. She sat them down and gave them her time and her shoulder to cry on. These are amazing individuals and kind-hearted humans. Writing is so personal and needs to be nurtured like a child. The Writers’ Workshop staff offer an almost parental guidance so that we may grow as individuals.

The Event itself and how the conference has helped me

I won’t go into detail about all of the workshops that were on offer over the weekend as by the time you get to the end of this blog you will feel exhausted. Instead, i’ll talk about the sessions that I attended and the useful information that I have taken away with me and can pass on to you.

(For more information about the conference itself and all of the workshops that were on offer see this link: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/festivals/wshop.shtml )

The welcome speech and keynote address for the event was given by David Nobbs, author of 27 novels and creator of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin which later became a successful British sitcom starring Leonard Rossiter. Though this sitcom was before my time (teehee) I knew of the authors work. This humorous and honest address set the mood for the whole event; he has a new fan.

My first session, The Toolbox, was with the wonderful Philippa Pride (UK agent for Stephen King, Hodder). Philippa drew upon words by Stephen King from his memoir of the craft, On Writing, as well as using methods of her own. I found the section on using music and mind maps particularly useful. In the Sample of my Writing section, you will see what I wrote to the piece of classical music played; we had around two minutes to write whatever came to mind.

After the speech I attended the Children’s Fiction Panel Q & A session which I found most enlightening. This panel consisted of a mix of agents, publishers, writing consultants and authors. All agreed that we must not underestimate the integrity of our readership, or their technical abilities. More and more children are enjoying the immediacy and ease of downloading an Ebook.

Session two was Making Bestsellers hosted by the witty and vastly experienced Patrick Janson-Smith (Harper-Collins). Patrick was responsible for discovering such talent as Bill Bryson and Terry Pratchett amongst others. What Patrick looks for is originality, voice, tension and story. Patrick does not take unsolicited submissions.

Before session two began, there was a panel Q & A session held in the main hall. The panel consisted of Carole Blake (Blake Friedman. Agent) and Patrick Janson-Smith (Harper-Collins. Publisher). What I gained from this was an overview of an authors rights and opportunities and confirmation that we do indeed need an agent; a bloody good one! I would love to work with someone like Carole (eventually), she really appears to fight the corner of those she represents.

Session three was MS to Publication with Vicky Blunden (Publisher) and Elizabeth Haynes (Author). This session showed that there can be advantages to working with a small publisher!

On Saturday evening there was a Gala Dinner where all aspiring writers, agents, publishers and published authors got the opportunity to mingle and network. The fantastic Kate Allan was kind enough to introduce me to one of my hero’s, John Jarrold! We chatted for a while and he invited me to submit my “best possible” work to him whenever I was ready. How exciting.

Sunday – Session four was with another of my writing hero’s; Nicola Morgan ( http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/ Author of ninety books!). This session was by far my favourite. The advice priceless. One of my one-to-one sessions was with Nicola and I found her to be warm and honest. I did not realise how much work I still had to do until this session.

There were two further sessions that I attended: Laughing Till you Cry with Julie Cohen & Jane Lovering and Creating Worlds with Toby Frost. Both of these sessions were amazing. I came away with a notebook full of tips and advice. What came across strongly in both sessions was believability. Our readers must believe what we write no matter how far-fetched or distorted.

The keynote speech for the event was given by Kate Williams (Historian and author of Becoming Queen/Young Victoria).

On Monday morning after going through all of my notes and one-to-one reports, I have to admit I felt somewhat confused and deflated. I wrote about this on The Word Cloud writers’ forum. There was a vast amount of information to take in and most of it conflicting. What I came to realise later was that, of course it would be conflicting! Agents and publishers views are as subjective as an authors or readers. Not everyone thinks the same. I suppose a clear example of this would be one agent saying;

“No more vampires!”

I disagree with this statement but if this particular agent doesn’t want anymore vampires then I won’t go to them. However, I will always want to write and read vampire stories. Vampires are still hugely popular and always will be. This is just one persons view.

Another agent told me that they did not like fantasy. On checking out their website later I found that they had a fantasy author on their list. Perhaps they just didn’t want to talk to me 😦 You can’t please everybody.

What have I gained from attending the conference?

A new set of skills. Fresh and current advice. New friends and memories that will stay with me forever. Most of all, I have gained the knowledge that we are not alone in this. In our moments of frustration, sadness and insecurity there will always be someone we can turn to; other writers.

I wish you luck in your chosen career and hope to see you at the conference next year!

A couple of weeks ago a writer I am proud to know, and respect, Harry Bingham,  featured a new website on his personal blog. The blog is available to read on the writer’s forum, The Word Cloud.

The new website is iwritereadrate.com and the fabulous director and creator is Adam Charles. I’ll let Adam explain more about his creation, so enjoy, get involved and join the revolution!!!

Join the Revolution –

What does new technology mean for writing and reading literature?


I was sat in a bar a while ago talking with an old friend over a cold beer.  As an Engineer his viewpoint on various topics we talked about was rather different to my own.  Whilst discussing widely publicised environmental issues his response was always that ‘technology would find the answer’.  My standpoint was rather less definitive on the subject.  Yes, I agreed, technology could play a key role, but it’s down to our choices – individually and collectively – to make any change a significant and lasting one.

My, perhaps tenuous, point here is that we’re at a real tipping point with technology in relation to how we consume literature and media in general.  Technology revolutionises, it refines, it redraws traditional lines of consumption, disrupts our historical patterns of behaviour, it finds a way of improving the situation in whatever aspect of our lives that it touches, but only if we embrace it.

We can see so many recent examples of how Internet and communications technology has fundamentally altered how and when we interact with our friends (real and virtual), connect to the world, find and listen to music, and we’re beginning to see this rebirth happen with how we discover, purchase, and consume literature in every genre.

With the proliferation of devices capable of viewing and downloading content wherever we are – such as smart-phones, tablets and dedicated eReader platforms – the wind very much appears in the sails for a generational change in how we buy and consume books, how we experience literature in general.  This is now reaching a point of market integration when it can no longer be considered in its infancy. 

The people are speaking and it’s now time to embrace the change.

Alas, I have to admit that I will miss the touch, smell, and sense of paper and print.  My personal opinion is that there will always be a place for it, and writers may always want to see their hard work in a physical form.  However, progress happens for a reason.  Usually this is to provide an improved, refined, simpler or richer experience for the people accessing the content.

So, what does the future look like?

I wouldn’t perhaps feel qualified at this stage to foresee what the endgame looks like for publishing, as the shift is still only just beginning to take hold.  However, there is little doubt that it will have to adapt and revolutionise into something that we can’t quite predict just yet.  Whilst this change is undoubtedly underway, it is still currently ether wafting around the world-wide web, a twinkle in the eye of ours and upcoming generations, with only whispers about what the future may bring.

I read an interesting article recently about Digital Natives – those who have grown up never knowing a world without the Internet – and their expectation about what they can do online.  The way they look at the world, through real and virtual goggles, the way that they want to communicate and consume media of all kinds is fundamentally different as a result of technology.  Whilst those of us who still remember Dial-up tones are perhaps grappling with this, the Digital Natives will expect to have flexible, interactive experiences using the Internet; and this certainly will not be any different for how they will want to consume their literature.

What excites me about what could happen next is perhaps more important right now.  Writers and readers at this point in history, this particular moment in time, have an opportunity unlike any other generation of people in love with the written word since humanity began the mass printing of books all those hundreds of years ago.

As writers and readers we – through our actions, our purchasing decisions, the places and devices we use to consume books, our words both published and unpublished (electronic and printed), through our blogs and myriad social media interactions with people around the globe – truly have an opportunity to make the whole process of what becomes a successful story or novel more democratic, more personal, more social.  People Power in its most positive form.  I can see a rise in niche literature – work that wouldn’t be considered commercial by publishers – that will sell thousands rather than millions but still have something very worthwhile to say, and will inevitably, through technology, find an enthusiastic audience to enjoy it out there in the world.

I’m not an industry insider, I’m not versed in the old ways of doing things, and I’m not predicting anything in particular here that isn‘t starting to happen already.  What I am, however, is in my late twenties, a voracious reader, an unpublished writer and a keen technophile.  I know what I want from my literature, I know how easily I want to access exciting new ideas and stories, how wide and varied a choice I also would like.  I also know that I would like a more interactive way of finding new writers and stories to entertain and inspire me.

However, I sincerely hope that it will be a democratic, rather than autocratic, change.

I’ve clearly bought front row tickets for the revolution, I guess what happens next is down to everyone who has yet to decide, and the next generation of book lovers.  Whilst you’re thinking about it have a look at our new website – www.iwritereadrate.com.

 

So, get your ticket and Join the Revolution!

Adam is a founding Director of a new website for writers to sell, and receive ratings & reviews on their unpublished work direct from readers who love to find new stories.  You can register now to receive pre-launch access to upload your work before anyone else, enter a competition to win an eReader, and receive a monthly newsletter.

Visit them to discover more: www.iwritereadrate.com

In my last blog I mentioned that I would be attending a couple of writers’ conferences this year in a bid to better my skills and network with other mad people who choose to write. Writing can be a lonely occupation, so any opportunity to get out there and socialise is grabbed with both hands.

York Festival of Writing was recommended by a friend and fellow author so I have decided to give it a go, be brave and get my work and face out there (scary, the face that is!).

In this blog I wanted to give other aspiring authors details about the conference and the wonderful authors/agents/publishers holding workshops and one-to-one sessions. After attending the conference, I will give honest feedback, so watch this space.

The Festival at a Glance

25-27 March, University of York, UK

A brief selection of the many agents in attendance:

Carole Blake; Agent to bestselling authors including Sheila Flanagan, Joseph O’Connor, Barbara Erskine – and author of Pitch to Publication.

Antony Topping & Judith Murray; Antony and Judith are senior agents at Greene and Heaton, and represent such big names as Sarah Waters,Marcus du Sautoy, CJ Sansom, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & many more.

Simon Trewin (pictured): Co-head of Books at United Agents. Represents Richard Curtis, Nicci French, etc.

 

 

The Specialists / publishers

In their words;

“We’ve also invited specialist agents & publishers who know the market you are writing for. Among many others …”

John Jarrold: The best known specialist in science-fiction / fantasy / horror in the UK. If you write in this area, you HAVE to meet him

Julia Churchill (pictured): Julia is an agent devoted 100% to the children’s & Young Adult market. No one knows this market better.

(I met Julia at Winchester Writers’ Conference and found her to be warm and encouraging.)

 

Jane Holland & Lyn Vernham: Specialist publishers of women’s fiction & romance. And you don’t need an agent to get published by them either!

Philippa Pride: Philippa is Stephen King’s UK editor at Hodder, and is the person responsible for his entire range. She’s also a consultant who loves working with new writers.

 

 

Alan Mahar: Alan runs Tindal Street Press, one of Britain’s smallest but most prestigious publishers. About 25% of its entire output having won or been shortlisted for national literary awards.

Patrick Janson-Smith: As joint MD at Doubleday / Transworld, Patrick discovered authors such as Bill Bryson, Sophie Kinsella, Andy McNab, Joanna Trollope, and many more. Patrick now runs his own imprint at HarperCollins.

Nicola Morgan: Vastly successful author of YA & children’s fiction. No one knows this territory better. Nicola also hosts the successful, amazing and informative blog; Help! I need a publisher!

(I have my one-to-one appointment with Nicola, so i’m excited to receive her advice.)

http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/

 

Amazing authors that are leading some of the mini courses / sessions available;

Finding Your Voice, with Debi Alper & Dr Emma Darwin – Two experienced and extraordinary authors

Getting Published, with Harry Bingham & Helen Corner – Harry Bingham in organiser of the festival (along with his small army of helpers!). Helen Corner is co-author of, Teach Yourself: How to Write a Blockbuster.

 

Kate Williams (pictured): The vastly popular historian and author of publishing sensation The Pleasures of Men.

Learn from the professionals


Learn how to plot
With Jeremy Sheldon. Novelist, screenwriter & tutor at Birkbeck College, London.

Showing not telling
With novelist Jean Fullerton. If you’re confused about what this rule means, you don’t have to be.

Breaking the Rules
With Debi Alper. You know the rules – but what if you want to break them? Debi tells you how (and how not to) proceed.

 

There are many more exciting authors / professionals listed on the website so please go and take a look.

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

I look forward to seeing you there……….

What does this year (2011) mean to you?

What are your hopes and aspirations?

Have you set yourself new challenges, or are you still catching up with the old ones?

What do you hope to achieve in 2011?

 

I’m often asked these questions, so I thought that I would get organised and put it all into a blog. This was my intention for the first week in January but after a serious bout of swine flu (amongst other injuries) there has been a delay and i’m doing it now.

Last year – though wonderful in many ways – was a strange year.  Some might even say disastrous; illness and challenges galore. Remaining positive throughout was tough, but I managed to do just that. If last year taught me anything, it was that I am a fighter; I never give up.

In my quest to become a full time writer, I’ve become similar to one of those psychopathic characters in a movie that just won’t die. You know the ones, you keep whacking them but they just won’t stay down. Two distinct differences between me and those characters though: i’m not a psycho and i’m real, honest! I just want to write and people to read and love my work.

So, anyway, what does 2011 mean to me?

It means a new beginning; a fresh page.

Last year I was a mere seedling planted in fertile soil. Forcing my roots down deep and starting to push fresh shoots up, breaking through the surface to feel the warmth of the sun. I’m growing more every day and I have other writers to thank for that, both experienced and aspiring.

This year means a large amount of hard work if I hope to achieve my goal, but it’s work that I love, that i’m willing to do to get where I want to be.

Kirie’s hopes and aspirations

With my first novel virtually complete and a few writers’ conferences lined up, I hope to find a fabulous agent who recognises my potential and takes me under their soft, downy wing.  As always, I aspire to write more, write better and write for longer every day.

I don’t do resolutions as I hate to feel like a failure, so this year I have set myself goals. I am making these public in a bid to encourage me to stick to them, so here goes:

1)   Finish my current MS, Dreme Guardian

2)   Start my second novel in the trilogy and finish it

3)   Enter as many competitions as physically possible

4)   Work more, procrastinate less

5)   Make more fabulous friends & meet more mind giants on Twitter / Word Cloud and at the conferences

6)   Support my fellow aspiring artists in all ways possible

7)   Practice my zombie acting skills ready for when i’m an extra for Indywood Films

8)   Read more amazing and enlightening text

9)   Work hard on my new fantasy project, Vampolice, with a fabulous illustrator who will soon be featured as a guest on this blog (he doesn’t know yet!)

10)Become successful and a great role model for others

As far as new challenges go, I think that I have pretty much covered everything in my goals but I have purchased some “How to” books to help me on my way:

How to Write Great Screenplays and get them into production by Linda M James and Getting Published by Harry Bingham.

I will review them in the Book Review section on this blog and i’ll let you know how they have helped me.

Conferences I will be attending this year are:

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

25-27 March 2011, York University, England.

 

http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

1st – 3rd July 2011

 

Both conferences have great reputations and are different in many ways, i’m very excited to be attending.

On a last note, I was born in 1975 which was also The Year of the Rabbit. This is my year people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the words of the organisers; 

“Writing West Midlands is the Literature Development Agency for the West Midlands.”

“We focus on work to develop opportunities for writers, including supporting young writers and building audiences for writing. We exist to help good writing and literature activities flourish in the West Midlands.”

(Event held at South Birmingham College, Saturday 20th November 2010)

This was the first time that I had attended a Writers’ conference in The Midlands, though it was their third gathering; I have always had to travel further afield as I didn’t realise there was such a vast and enthusiastic pod of writers in my area (what is the name for a group of writers?? Suggestions in the comments box please). I came across the conference details purely by chance whilst reading about funding information on The Arts Council UK website; i’m so glad I did!

The event is organised by and hosted by Writing West Midlands; Jonathon Davidson, Chief Executive and Sara Beadle, Director. The day is extremely well organised and thorough, covering a wide range of topics with each Panel Session. They welcome writers of all kinds as well as publishers, agents, producers (Radio, Film and TV), teachers and literature development workers.

The Panel Session Topics were as diverse as they were informative: Writing for Broadcast, Real Writing Lives, Writing and Reading in the Mental Health Sector, Different Fictions, Understanding Publishing, Creative Writers in Schools, The Rights of Writers, Doing Digital, Writing and Science, Writing in Places, The Future of Theatre Writing, Building Audiences for Poetry, Creative Writing and Higher Education.

The speakers / panel members for each session appeared to be both enthusiastic in promoting the aspiring writer / established writer, and encouraging and forthcoming with help and advice. The question and answer sessions at the end of each panel member introduction (of which I seemed to dominate slightly) were helpful and stimulating. Not wanting to come across shy or self-promoting (ahem), I made sure that I asked any questions which I thought could potentially help others, I hope that this worked!

The keynote address: No Messages, Jim Crace, novelist, was humorous and enlightening. I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Jim but have now ordered some of his books from Amazon!

Book Titles: Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress, Quarantine, Being Dead, The Devil’s Larder, The Pesthouse.

The Closing Address: The Writer’s Smoking Jacket, Graham Joyce, author. This was an informative and concise speech by Graham and opened my eyes to many possibilities and opportunities.

Book Titles: The Devil’s Ladder, Simple Goalkeeping, Do the Creepy Thing, Memoirs of a Master Forger, The Limits of Enchantment (and many, many more!).

In conclusion, I would recommend that you look for future events held by Writing West Midlands and come and connect and socialise with “others in the business of writing”.

http://www.writingwestmidlands.org