Saturday 8 October 2011

Scarborough Writers' Circle: fair pay and perseverance pays

On 4 October I was privileged to be guest speaker at Scarborough Writers' Circle. This group has been going since 1948. It's a dynamic and diverse group of writers that routinely attracts a good turnout to its fortnightly meetings. In my view, it's the diversity that's the key to its strength. Many groups narrow their outlook as the months and years go by - focusing on a particular genre, level or type of writing. Not so the gang in Scarborough. I talked to writers, published and unpublished, working in a wide variety of genres and areas.

I was asked to talk on two topics: the first was in relation to my work as Chair of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. This is a topic close to my heart, but as it touches on copyright, secondary rights and IP legislation, it can be something of a soporific. However, Tuesday evening's audience was on the ball and kept me on my toes with a lively Q&A session. The message behind my talk was this: respect your fellow creators' copyright, expect them to respect yours, and always remember that fair pay for fair use is your right.

I was also asked to talk about my own route to publication as a novelist. There's a long tale, but I abridged the pain of it into quarter of an hour or so and believe I left behind me the very clear message that perseverance pays.

I also left behind me invitations to the Scarborough signing for the first three of my novels, out in paperback in mid November. WH Smith, Westborough, Scarborough 12.00 till 2.00 on Saturday, 3rd December.

Saturday 1 October 2011

To be or not to what?!?

Like False Money is out in paperback in November and that gave me the chance to do what I've wanted to do since the first hardback edition hit the shops - find and exise a spurious 'be'.  It's the typo that got away from everyone. A real irritation.  They didn't allow any edits when the hardback was reprinted.

I thought I knew where it was - roughly.  But no, it wasn't obvious.  Hiding itself again.  But no word can hide forever in the digital age and I did a search on 'be', checking every one of them.  Who'd have thought there would be so many?  And by a quarter of the way through the book, what a ridiculous word it had become.  Be? be? bebebe.  Beeeee.... A positive buffoon of a word that no writer in their right mind could possibly think of using.  How was I ever to write another book, in fact, because I knew that 'be' would have to show its face.

Found it in the end and exterminated it.  And it's turning into an ok word again, thankfully.  I can see myself using it... or be myself using it... or see myself being it....  And bees apart, I love the new cover.  Here it is: