Monday, July 15, 2013

The Question of Second Hand Books and the Continuation of My Writing Journey

After six years writing and blogging I am now, at last, into the final hurdle of completing a novel. My editorial report is back and it is much better than I expected. There are a few suggestions though. Fundamentally, these are adding extra material to flesh out some of the relationships and in one case to develop one of the more humorous story lines just for the pure entertainment factor. I have decided to follow this advice and to do this by inserting two, possibly three, new chapters which should slip easily into place.Writing more silly stuff for me is comparatively easy so I can now move full steam ahead knowing the end is truly in sight.

For those of you who had read my short stories you'll know that I normally write in the third person but for this novel I have written in the first person in a voice which is actually quite close to my own in that's it very colloquial - although there's not so many expletives as here on my blog. Okay, maybe there's still a few expletives - but it's all in the pursuit of art and in very good taste. Apart from the telephone sex stuff. Which is probably in poor taste. Oh well - what the heck - I enjoyed writing it!

So I shall be hit and miss here on my blog for a few weeks. There are few days left before the end of the school year and then six weeks school holidays so I need to make the most of these last few day of freedom.

On another matter, I am slightly naffed off at our Church fete to find, yet again, that they are selling books at six for a pound. Obviously, an author gets no cut of this anyway but I have to say whilst I have bought many second hand books (usually somewhere between 50p to £1.50) I generally buy authors that I would not have contemplated buying anyway and if I like their writing there is a strong chance I will buy another of their books at the official retail price. In which case it's a win for the charity selling the book, a win for the author who gets a new fan and a win for me to discover a new writer I might otherwise not have found.

So this year at the church fete I bought two plays by a dead author (which didn't make me feel so bad), a novel by a children's author from whom I'd already bought five or six books at the proper retail price (so again I didn't feel so bad) and a book by a chick lit author which I would never have bought anyway and will probably only read if I am ever stuck on a desert island with it. I also bought Skippy Dies by by Paul Murray and a hardback copy of Dear Fatty by Dawn French. I can't see Skippy Dies on my waiting to read shelf but I know I contemplated buying it at one stage - so either it is already submerged somewhere in my hideously messy bookshelves waiting to be read or for some reason I decided not to purchase. I probably wouldn't have bought Dear Fatty not because I don't like the lovely and talented Dawn French but simply because I am not into celebrity biographies. I've now decided if I get around to reading Skippy Dies and Dear Fatty I will write reviews on Amazon so at least the authors gets something in return. We've all heard about success of J.K Rowling and Stephen King and a few other big names but for most writers it's tough trying to make any kind of living. And even though Dawn French is a household name and Paul Murray is a Man Booker and Costa Book Award nominee I think I'd be pretty fed up to find my book for sale for the equivalent of 16 pence. I'd rather it was free and people asked for a voluntary contribution.

Just sayin'.

At 660 pages surely worth more than 16 pence. 


  1. Telephone sex? Wouldn't that be a bit uncomfortable? And what if you fell off?
    Nice to hear you're nearly done with the book Jane; remember us in Blogland when you've made your fortune and you're reclining on a chaise longue, being fed grapes by a eunuch.

    1. It took a while for the MS to come to the top of the editor's pile, Martin. I finished the book in February.Left it for two months to brew, self edited several times before having it professionally edited. I figure if I am going to approach agents I have got one chance to impress and after six years doing the groundwork to (hopefully) get out of the slush pile this is going to be it - and if no one bites I'll have a novel ready to self publish!

      I haven't forgotten my promise - there's a copy coming to you however I publish:) And I think you'll like it, Martin. It will be classed as women's fiction but there's plenty in it for men:))

  2. Well don't get me started on prices at fetes Mrs T. If I donated a load of books to the fete I would hope that they would raise a bit more money than 6 for £1. I would rather give them to Oxfam where they charge around the £1.50 mark each. I know people want a bargain at such events but that is tantamount to giving them away. OK at the end of the day you could mark down the ones that havent sold, but as the point of the exercise is to raise funds for the church why not give yourself a decent stab at it to start with...

    Same happens on cake stalls. They cakes and biscuits end up being sold for almost less than they cost to make. Its silly. I made 20 fancy biscuits for a fete the other week - they should have gone for at least 50p each, and in the tea tent they would have been £1 each. But no - on the cake stall they had to be bagged up and sold in 4s. So they probably made about five quid. To be honest I might as well just donate a tenner and save myself the time and effort.

    However the plant stall had the right idea - they just asked for donations and therefore raised far more than they would have done if they'd put small prices on each pot.

    1. Absolutely. It makes me mad when I see stupid prices like that. When I made cakes for the boy's lower school I used to put a label on the plate so if they changed the price they ran the risk of offending me and my stopping future cake production! And there was never any of my flapjack left ever and always requests for more. However, generally they were far more sensible at the school fetes about prices than at the church fete - it is utterly ridiculous. They have no idea how to make money. I would be very interested to know if any of the ancient tribe have ever worked in retail and if they have even heard of the concept of profit and loss! Frankly, whether I was making cakes or an author discovering my book at the church fete I would be insulted after making so much effort to find my book/cake valued so little. People are often in a generous mood when they attend these events - so why not capitalize and at least charge the going rate as per the local charity shops/cake shops.

      As you say - why not not donate a few quid and not bother with the effort - us parents are hard pressed for time anwyay so it makes complete sense. Same goes with school sponsored events - I just make up a load of names and send in some money.The boys seem happy with that approach:))

  3. Ah, J K Rowling ... a very topical subject at the moment!

    1. Yes indeed, Fran - it looks like J K has hit the jackpot again! I doubt she worries about whether her novels are sold for 16p:))


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