Friday, 31 August 2012

Rosemary Kind talking about Alfie Dog

Today's person who publishes is Rosemary Kind who runs Alfie Dog. The site really is a good place to submit and read fiction (most stories cost under 50p). I'm not saying that just because I have quite a few pieces published there.

What do you publish?

Here at Alfie Dog Fiction we publish quality short stories from 500 to 15,000 words. The beauty is that we offer them in a range of formats so that you can read them on almost any e-reader, or print them out to read in the traditional way. We carry almost every genre from children's to adventure, feel good to horror, humour to historic. Whether you are 4, 44 or 104 we have something you will enjoy reading or having read to you. We want to offer our readers the best of everything. If it can make our editors laugh, cry, feel a shiver down their spine or still be thinking about it a week later then it's probably done its job and our readers will we rewarded for the time spent reading. Literary for the sake of being 'high-brow' is unlikely to impress us. There has to be a good story to go with it. We don't do erotica or extreme violence and we don't accept bad language unless it is essential to the piece, which in all honesty is rare. A good writer should have a wide enough vocabulary to be able to get the message across without risking alienating potential readers.

Where can people read writing you've published? You can download all the stories from the site. The company is named after its patron Alfie Dog, who works tirelessly between naps. As a result of the name we took on the slogan 'taking your imagination for a walk'* and that's exactly what a good story does. It takes your imagination someplace different and gives it a good workout. After a good story your imagination comes back to you in much better shape. We've already got around 500 stories on the site and the number is increasing by the week. We have writers from all over the world, the only commonality being that they write in English and they can write a cracking story.

How should writers submit their work?

Our full submissions guidelines are on the site at . On the whole we are very flexible. We don’t' ask for specific formatting and layout as we sort that as part of the publication process. Simply send your story to us in any of .doc .docx .rtf .txt or in the body of an email. We do ask for an author profile. This should be 50-75 words as you would like it to appear to potential readers. We also ask for a 'blurb' for the story of around 50 words which is the story's sales pitch. You want something that makes a reader want to read your work. It's the 'back book cover' equivalent for the short story. We don't accept postal submissions, only those sent by email.

What rewards/services do you offer writers?

Writers are paid royalties. How it works is that for every story sold there is a charge made by Paypal for using their facilities and then the writer receives 50% of what is left after that. So on a story selling at 39p the author will receive 16p. Royalties are paid quarterly and only when the balance reaches £10. We have only been running since May and we already have authors who have passed that mark so it is definitely achievable. For UK authors we can pay by bank transfer. For those authors in other parts of the world we can pay through Paypal, which is a better exchange rate and doesn't involve transaction charges in the way that a bank translation can. For some countries we have to deduct tax, where there is no double tax treaty in place, but fortunately many countries have full treaties with the UK.

*that's why I've illustrated this with a picture of somewhere I went for a walk - see not quite as random as you'd supposed!

If you have any questions for Rosemary please put them in the comments and she'll answer as many as she can.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

P is for promotion

And for Patsy, purple and Paint Me a Picture. It also stands for pushy, but perhaps you'll be too polite to say so.

I've been on the radio again. You can listen to me here. I start just under 10 mins in. (If you're thinking I sound a bit vague in places it's because I had to get up at 5)

Gary produced this lovely cover design for my new ebook which will be released soon. I think he's done a great job so I'm promoting him to head of graphic design at Patsy's Publications (poor chap).

I've almost finished working through the corrections list supplied by proofreader Helen Baggott, the blurb is written and I've read through the instructions for formatting and uploading so it's almost ready to go.

Once it's published, the promotion will get going. I have some ideas for that. Winning a competition would be good publicity - maybe I'll try this one or this. Or maybe I'll go in for an award.

Some people give away free ebooks to help promote their work. That's something I'm thinking of doing - more details to follow.

Talking of free books, here's a free ebook from Teresa and here's a chance to win a set of paperbacks by John Connolly.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Penelope Hellyer talking about The Haphazard Gardener

What Have You Had Published?
I’ve published ‘The Haphazard Gardener’ - a biography/memoir with black/white photographs. 353 pages.
It reflects my approach to dealing with a seven acre garden. The Haphazard Gardener is an autobiographical account of my gardening years at Orchards – formerly the home and garden of my parents the late gardening author and journalist Arthur Hellyer and his wife Gay.
A brief biography of Arthur and Gay forms the first part of this book.
Part two, details how I came to take over the responsibility of the garden at Orchards; how Arthur coped with his life after the untimely death of Gay in 1977; how with my own personal issues the garden became neglected once again; and the importance of my friendship with the late Rosemary Verey, who inspired me to take on the garden full time. The development of the garden took a new direction when I met Philip. Together we transformed the garden from a neglected plot to one worthy of the National Gardens Scheme; to being included in the Good Gardens Guide from 1999 until we sold up in 2004. Further chapters include shady planting, a journey through the year, the additional structure that we added to the garden in the form of hedges, walls and seats. There is also a chapter on foes; detailing the worst pests and the challenges we had.
Part three, is a sentimental journey of our time in the garden; the most rewarding time of my life when my ambition to open my own specialist nursery was fulfilled and the garden of the great Arthur Hellyer was made accessible to the general public.
To take on the garden of such a professional amateur should have been a daunting task but it was a pleasure. As the daughter of the late Arthur Hellyer my story is quite unique. I was a working amateur gardener – who turned to writing as ill-health dictated my time to garden was ending. My first article 'Naturally Wild', published in the Hardy Plant Journal – Vol 24 No 2 Autumn 2003. It was an article on Naturalistic Planting with my photographs – needless to say it was about Orchards. My second ‘From Sussex to Como’ appeared in the Spring edition Vol 33 No 1.

How/Where is The Haphazard Gardener published and why did you take this route to publication?
I made the decision to self-publish after several rejections by mainstream publishers. I had several acceptances from other publishers but many wanted to leave out Part One. Which for me was impossible for without chapters about my parents the story could not be told. 
I read more and more about self-publishing along with all the warnings about Vanity publishers. One such publisher accepted the mss with no questions but wanted an extraordinary amount of money to take me on. As a subscriber to Writing Magazine and Writers’ News I was able to read copious amounts of information about self-publishing and knowing that my book might be difficult to place decided that this was certainly the way things were going to go in the future.
The FeedARead advert was in Writing Magazine – as it was Arts Council Funded I decided to take the plunge with them. I’ve been on a huge learning curve ever since.

Where can we read it?
It is published with FeedARead And at, (where for some reason they charge delivery! The best buy however can be found at Amazon. (this link takes you directly to my Amazon book page).
I am having a mobi file made so that some pages can be read on my book page.

If you have any questions for Penelope please post them as blog comments and she'll answer as many as she can.