Tag Archive | writers

Please pay your writers!

I was so happy to read in an article last month that folks are still turning to books – the physical kind. It seems there are still people who want to hold, to own, to turn pages and browse through a paper book.

I’m not saying the ebook doesn’t have a place. It equally has advantages. But the downside of it is that it can be easily pirated which means people can access all your hard work without paying for it.

I happily accept that books get passed around and shared – I do the same with mine. But at least I buy one in the first place and it has a life. And although we may think ebooks are more environmentally friendly I wonder if they are in the long run, I wonder what will happen to the planet when it’s buried under discarded technology, whilst books are more recyclable.

As a generalisation it takes about a year to write a book. A year of unpaid work basically – for it is work – and very few writers get paid in the realms of the six figure numbers bandied about the press. Many of us write about minority issues that would never be published by a commercial publisher only interested in big bucks. And earn minority pay – far less than minimum wage. So it comes doubly hard when our ebooks are pirated. And saddening to think that there are people who think that if they can get something for nothing then they’ve got one up on the system. But whilst they get one up – the writers lose out. I wonder if those people would like to do their job without being paid for it?

Without niche market writers writing about minorities as many of us do, without Indie publishers (like Bird’s Nest Books) who struggle against the big publishing giants, we would never get to read some really important stuff. Home educators for example would never get the support I’m offering through the books I write.

So, if you enjoy books, please consider buying them, in whatever format – and I don’t mean just mine, I mean any subject. Books mostly cost little more than a magazine, less than a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine and are better for the waistline!

But far more importantly it means the writer (and the publisher and illustrator) get paid! Perhaps you could consider this when you next need a book to support you.

I thank you!


Come meet me at the Fenland Lit Fest

This weekend I could well be dossing! litfest4

Next weekend, on Saturday 5th September I’ll be at the Fenland Lit Fest in Cambridgeshire, a new literary festival, so do come and have a chat – I love to meet new people and those who’ve read my books. If you haven’t, you’ll be able to buy discount copies too. I’ll be in the foyer with other authors and illustrators.

Here’s more of their info:

The first Fenland Literary Festival, “FenlandLitFest”, will be held at The Angles Theatre, Alexandra Road, Wisbech on Saturday September 5th and will be FREE OF CHARGE.This year we are delighted to be supported by Market Place. Market Place has people at its heart. It’s about more people creating and experiencing great art in Fenland and Forest Heath: Brandon, Chatteris, March, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Whittlesey, and Wisbech. Market Place is part of Creative People and Places arts engagement programme developed by Arts Council England with the support from NationalLottery funds.

The Festival will celebrate literature of all types and will feature a range of speakers and workshops from local authors such as Claire Upton, Simon Crow, Jon Lawrence and Darren Upton and poets including Fenland Poet Laureate Jonathan Totman, Mary Livingstone, Elaine Ewart and Poppy Kleiser.

Maybe you fancy an introduction to writing your own poetry or creating your own story? Or perhaps you’d like to listen to Jon Lawrence talking about his latest book ‘Playing Beneath the Havelock House’. Or maybe join horror writer Simon Crow’s ‘Horror Circle’, or listen to Darren Upton recount his experiences researching and interviewing the band WASP for his biography ‘A Sting In The Tale?

There’s plenty for the children too, including a fun reading of Claire Upton’s ‘Nanny Pam Joins A Band’, with instruments to play, or they can join Simon’s Slightly Spooky Circle and create their own imaginary monsters.

There will also be the chance to see illustrators James Robinson and Shannon Loveless and comic artist Glen Stone demonstrating their work, get some tips and have a go yourself. Or watch 20Twenty’s Sitcom ‘Xpress Yourself’ and chat to the writer David Johnson.

On top of that, there will be book sculpting, books and comics for sale, including a stall from Niche Comics from Huntingdon, and competitions.

The Fenland LitFest will run all day from 10am-4pm. There’s no need to book events, just turn up on the day and dive right in to whatever takes your fancy!

For more information and guest speaker and workshop schedules, ‘Like’ our Facebook page FenlandLitFest or follow us on Twitter @FenlandLitFest.

It would be lovely to see you there.

The bravery of art

You might think it brave climbing on the roof to do repairs as per my last blog. But it’s not the bravest thing I do!

The bravest thing I do is putting writing out there.

If you’re one of those brave people who do it too you’ll know why.

If you’re not, you might be one of those who think it requires no courage or stamina at all and is just an excuse not to get a proper job!

However, it’s one thing creating something. That’s hard enough in itself especially if you do it day after day on your own. But it’s something harder to make it public. Especially since the majority of the public seem to think they’re qualified to criticise, even though they’ve had no direct experience of doing it themselves.

That’s a bit like home education, I’ve found. Those who have absolutely no experience of it still think they’re qualified to pass judgement.

Doing art work is a bit like raising your child. It’s something you have nurtured and protected, developed and grown with devotion and emotion and times that have cost you dear. And just like with a child, the moment of letting go, letting it out to fend for itself in the battering world, is like tearing a part of yourself off. You want to hide and lick your wounds.

Some people never manage it. Never manage to allow their children or their art work a state of independence.

To do so is immensely brave. It involves trust. It involves confidence. And it will involve taking the knocks that will sometimes be the consequence.

The thing is, no one knows what it’s like to raise your child, they’re not you, they don’t live to your circumstances, they have no understanding of your challenges. And those who never put art out into the world in whatever form; books, pictures, sculptures, films, performing, textiles, designs, whatever, have no comprehension of what that’s like either.

Or what the personal cost is in courage.

I now know both, as a parent and a writer.

Many of us know what it’s like to parent and let our children go. Equally many don’t and insult us with the term ’empty nest syndrome’. But parenting is an art form in itself, so we are all creatives. Even without home educating, when parents are extremely brave and creative in educating their children independently of others, we are all creative parents – have to be.

But less of us know what it’s like to write or paint or perform, create films or textiles or designs, and actually put it out there. This is the bit that takes the most courage.

So whatever creation you come across whether it’s by a five or a fifty year old, perhaps after reading this you could show a little compassion rather than criticism towards those who’ve done it, most particularly if you’ve never done it yourself.

And consider the bravery it takes not only to craft something, but also to share something so personally nurtured with the rest of the world.