Lester Simpson Winter Folk Song Workshop for Solstice Shorts

You can now book for Lester Simpson’s Folk Song Workshop on 26th November – our Solstice ‘Advent’ event! 12.45-5.15 pm, £25lester1sml.
Come and learn around 5 acapella songs in 3 or 4 part harmony, from Lester Simpson an international recording artist, and member of the renowned Coope Boyes & Simpson, who also runs community choirs. Informal but intense, lots of tea and biscuits. Access to sound files after the event. St Hilda’s Church Hall, Courtrai Road, Crofton Park SE23 1NL

Advance booking essential!

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Book for Lester Simpson Folk Song workshop

How to be a really successful writer- A biased view from a small publisher

I’m a writer as well as a publisher, and when I had my first work published I was dreadfully naïve and thought the books would sell themselves.

After all, I’d written it, and someone liked it enough to publish – my work was done!

Really, not.

Now, three books in, and running my own micro-publishing company I am a bit wiser and a heck of a lot more cynical.

The statistics on the number of books published every year don’t bear thinking about – how on earth can you get noticed? Especially if you haven’t been snapped up in a bidding war between the big publishing companies who have an army of publicists on their payroll?

You have to be prepared to get into the limelight and tell the world how fantastic and fascinating your writing is, and what a wonderful charming person you are.

I know.  You’d sooner walk across hot coals and sell your child/cat into slavery.

Well, nonetheless, the books don’t sell themselves, and being prepared to get out there and meet the public in all their various guises really helps, whether that is in person, touring your work round bookshops and libraries, or setting up a blog, or being interviewed on your local radio station. THIS is how books become word of mouth best-sellers.

I have cast iron evidence. My first book hardly sold at all, because I was too frightened to do the publicity my publisher wanted from me. The second book pretty much sold out because I did it anyway, fear not withstanding… and I ENJOYED it. (not a lot, but it was bearable and I discovered I LIKE talking about my writing.)

The popular image of the writer, secluded in her attic/ the library with her notebooks, gazing at the view from her window or the riveting ancient text that has inspired her work, is desperately out of date, but some of us (me included) would MUCH rather be doing that, than spending time on Facebook/ Twitter/ Tumblr/ Whatever, inviting people to make contact and talk about their work and READ it, and the idea of facing a microphone or camera and having to SPEAK…

How to cope? Why would you want to?

How I did it is: I thought about who I needed to be, and in what circumstances I can pull that off, and I wrote myself a character who is the relatively thick-skinned, witty, charming, outgoing person, I can be when I’m really comfortable, and I put her on, coat-like when I need her. She’s been really useful for my publishing face too.

That doesn’t help with the white noise that hits when I’m asked a (to me) stupid question live on air. What does help is preparation. Interviews are fairly predictable, you will almost always be asked – what do you write/ where do your ideas come from/ what’s this book about? Although you might want to respond – haven’t you read it? Your interviewer is actually trying to help – the viewer/listener/reader hasn’t read your wonderful scintillating work, and the interviewer is getting you to persuade them to do that. If you do get asked something that throws you – say what a good question (flatters the interviewer gives you time to think) then answer as gracefully as you can, and don’t be afraid to say I hadn’t thought about that, or I don’t know!

Why am I explaining all this?

I’ve made the difficult decision that I won’t publish people who won’t support their work. I haven’t the time or energy (or money) to promote every book as though it were my own. If you can’t get behind your book, why would I? With an anthology it’s not so bad because there will be 20 or so authors to spread the load – although it’s hardly fair on those who will schlep around libraries reading to expect them to support those who won’t.

How can I support the diffident writer?

I really do get it! As I said, that was me once upon a time. That’s why I’ve got Arts Council funding for a series of workshops for writers, that aren’t about writing – you’ve missed the performance one, but…

FRIDAY 23/9/16 (that’s this week!) 2-4pm Canada Water Culture Space £12  we have: Handling the Media with Rosie Wilby, who broadcasts at Resonance FM, and is also a comedian.

SATURDAY 24/9/16 at The Albany, Deptford, 11-1 we have marketing for writers basics, and 2-4pm marketing for writers advanced, with Yen Ooi of marketing for creatives specialists Think Create Do.

These workshops are heavily subsidised, you would expect to pay £35 or more on the open market. At the moment we have no takers for the basic marketing, so we are cancelling it if we don’t get at least 4 bookings by midday Thursday. Tell your friends! (if we get 3 bookings, we’ll transfer you to the advanced course, or return the booking fee) The other courses have some space left, but if you want to come, you need to get booking.

 

 

 

 

Coming up: Workshops for Writers

Join us in South London in September for workshops for writers that aren’t about writing! (All workshops are being run only once, £12)

What’s on offer:

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Performance for Writers – reading your work aloud is a near inevitable part of success. learn how to do it with conviction and have fun in the process. Lead by Katy Darby. Wednesday 7th September 2-4pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 20 places)

 

 

yen ooiMarketing for writers (basic) – Not sure if you need a website or social media presence? Are you spending your time effectively online? Learn what your online priorities should be and how you can leverage your online presence to build on your writer profile. Lead by Yen Ooi
Saturday 24th September 11-1 pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 10 places)

Marketing for writers (Advanced) – Are you effectively leveraging your online presence to improve your writer profile? Do you know what your brand values are, what messages your want to promote, and the new audiences you want to reach? Lead by Yen Ooi.
Saturday 24th September 2-4pm at The Albany, Deptford SE8. (max 10 places)

46 Rosie WilbyManaging Media for Writers Once you get published, your publisher is going to want you to talk to the media if they have the slightest intention of selling your book (we do anyway!). This can be quite intimidating, and it’s easy to get cross with silly questions. Comedian and broadcaster Rosie Wilby will help you sort out what you want to say and how to handle tricky questions, and where to look if a camera is involved.
Friday 23rd September 2-4pm Canada Water Culture Space, SE16. (max 20 places)

BOOK HERE

 

Solstice Shorts Festival – Crowd Fund Countdown day -4

Almost half way there, and barely 4 days to go. I was feeling a bit down about this earlier today, and I was wondering, is this crowdfunding lark just a chimera, put about to tease people?

But it seems my gloom was unjustified, as we had two takers for Katy Darby’s read-your-work-aloud workshop in just over an hour. You were just all on holiday weren’t you!

Well, shiny new month, you are rested and full of that September zeal to do something new, interesting and purposeful – so how about backing our new, interesting and purposeful festival? So new, there’s never been one before.

Time is running out!

If every single person who is on our mailing list, or who follows us all the places people follow, backed us to the tune of a £2.50 badge, we’d be well over our target.

There’s been a huge lot of effort and goodwill on the part of the people contributing the rewards, and it would be a shame if you missed out. You have until Thursday 4th September at 23:59!

Read your Work Aloud Workshop with Katy Darby

MORE Katy Darby Writers’ Read Aloud Workshop spaces now available

The incredibly generous Ms Darby informs me I have misunderstood her, and she is offering a WHOLE workshop, ie TEN places, for our crowd fund campaign for Solstice Shorts: our one day, short story and folk music festival on 21st December. Stories read and songs sung, from sunrise to sunset on the shortest day of the year, on the Greenwich Meridian.

So all you writers who want to wow a live audience, there are nine places left… put down you pens, clear your throats and learn how to really get your story across live – appropriate for the festival! An absolute bargain at £50 per person.

If you are wondering why Katy is your go to gal on this, she is a writer and actor, and founder of Liars’ League, the world-spanning award-winning live literature event where actors read your stories – started when Katy heard one too many authors mumbling into their books. She knows her stuff, and will impart her wisdom to you!

Here’s a bit of video of Katy reading her own work, The Horror, the Horror from Stations, to give you an idea what you might be capable of after the workshop.

Solstice Shorts Festival – Update

sun half and halfPlans for the Solstice Shorts Festival are continuing apace.

A celebration of National Short Story Day, of the Winter Solstice and of the narrative power of folk music, bringing together story and song on the Greenwich Meridian – on the theme of Time.

The Festival has grown in scope a bit while we’ve been thinking about it and it is now a marvellous mix of live short stories, chosen by our exquisite line-up of judges and read by actors; and folk music from leading local professional and amateur musicians, backed up with writing and singing workshops, all of which will be BSL interpreted throughout, as we’d like to make the event as inclusive as possible. We also plan to live broadcast the performances, and podcasting them for future reference. We even plan to provide breakfast for the sunrise sessions!

We have confirmed venues at the beautiful West Greenwich Library from sunrise (8.04) til 11.30, and at The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in the Astronomy Centre,  from 11.00 til sunset (15.53)
We have confirmed judges for the short story competition: Alison Moore (award-winning short story writer and novelist), Imogen Robertson (writer of the acclaimed Crowther & Westerman historical crime series), Rob Shearman (Doctor Who and multiple short stories) and Anita Sethi (Journalist, reviewer and Broadcaster). Each of the judges is contributing a story to the day, and the book that will be published of the winning stories from the competition.
We have confirmed hosts: Cherry Potts, Imogen Robertson, Rob Shearman and Anita Sethi.
We have confirmed musicians: Pepper & Shepherd, Shadrack Tye, Rosemary Lippard, Summer All Year Long and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd.

The performances will all be free to attend, but we will charge a modest fee for the writing workshops, hosted by Paul Shearrard and Cherry Potts, one of which will be accompanied by live music from Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd, and of course the competition is £5 to enter.

All we need is the MONEY!

To that end we have put in an application to the Arts Council, and to the Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust, and started a crowd funding campaign, which, if you like the sound of the festival and would like to support it, you can contribute to (PLEASE!). This expires on Thursday 4th September at 23:59, so don’t hang around if you would like some of our lovely rewards – some of the one-off rewards have already gone! Books, signed or otherwise, exclusively designed badges and t shirts, invitations to our next book launch, a hand lettered poem, a digital portrait, and bespoke flash fiction are all available. We will add new rewards as we think of them.

Want to write a novel?

Arachne Author Emily Pedder has been in touch asking us to help promote a course for people who are serious about getting that first novel written and out in the light of day:

Novel Studio at City University, London. It’s a year-long intensive course for aspiring novelists with an excellent track record of published alumni.

Deadline for applications 31 May, so be quick! Oh, and there’s a competition this year too, open to all applicants. The top three applications will be forwarded to Natalie Butlin at Christine Green Author’s Agency with a view to representation.

If anyone wants to ask Emily more, in particular about the competition which doesn’t seem to be on the website, you can contact her on Emily(dot)Pedder(dot)1(at)city(dot)ac(dot)uk