Writing & Publishing


This is my first ever blog. It’ll be an interesting change from my usual day job, which involves either writing a book, or publishing other authors’ books.

I’m going to start with a range of tips about writing in general, as my husband Jan and I have found over the years that there are lots of people who have an interesting book inside, but not enough experience in getting it out in a way that’s good enough for distribution and sale to the public at large.

What I would love to see is feedback from you, about what I’ve written here, as well as what you’d like me to discuss.

I’ll be covering most forms of writing, and different methods of publishing your work, as there is so much available today in the writing and publishing game that one can hardly keep up with developments. There is a vast amount of freedom of choice that never existed when I started writing; whether you consider traditional publishing, or a self-publishing project.

Another track I’ll touch on from time to time will be the pitfalls that one needs to avoid. Vanity publishing still exists, as well as exorbitant charges that really rip off unsuspecting people.

There’s no question about it, whatever you do, you have to keep your eyes open all the time nowadays. Luckily, apart from blogs like this one, there is Google always to hand, and I would always recommend that you search for reviews or other information about whatever organisation you may wish to deal with.

You’ll even find me talking about the ever-increasing complexity of software, like modern word processors, and MS Word in particular. For a start, I really feel that Microsoft is missing s trick by not producing a cut-down version of MS Office for the average, non-corporate user, who doesn’t need (or understand!) their Rolls Royce equivalent of office products. I notice this time and again, for example, when processing a book for digital publication, e.g. for Kindle. All the recommendations, wherever you look, say the same thing – get rid of all the formatting that you find in a typical Word file, only then can you hope for a decent result!

If things pan out the way I would like, and if there’s enough interest, Jan and I would consider running workshops to deal with all the issues that face everyone today. However, first of all, we would need to find out from you what are the biggest thorns in your side, and why the Internet, the source and font of all knowledge nowadays, hasn’t given you the answers you need.

Why would we even think about lectures and workshops about writing and publishing, when there are already so many being advertised across the country? Well, because:

  • Jan and I have had about fifteen years of experience in running our own, successful, publishing business (Zambezi Publishing Ltd, www.zampub.com)
  • We’ve recently formed a brand new company (Stellium Ltd, http://www.stellium.co.uk) to handle our new Fiction and Digital imprints, to keep up with developments in today’s publishing world.
  • I’ve had over twenty-five years of writing experience, having been published by the likes of Thorsons, HarperCollins, Collins & Brown, Sterling Publishing, Inc., Piatkus and others. Having written 126 books in my time, with sales of over 6.5 million copies to date, I feel I know a bit about the author’s side of things!
  • I’m constantly being asked questions about practically every issue to do with writing or publishing, and to be able to say, “it’s on my Blog, look it up!” will save me a great deal of time.

I think that’s about all for now; I’ll be back as I come up with something useful to say, but not on a regular basis at present, due to pressure of work. However, if you’d like to be emailed when there are new tips and ideas to view,  I suggest that you leave your email address here. I promise, Jan and I keep mail lists and any data we have on file totally confidential and in-house – we don’t share mail lists with anybody – period!

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