Where has 2013 gone? We at Rowanvale Books feel it has flown by, but are very excited for what 2014 will bring! Here’s our final update of 2013:
- Our October and November publications are out and available for purchase, so just head to our Book Store to get a copy of John Davies’ Darren the Dragon, Gavin Jones’ Three Bullets, Edward Charles’ The Unspoken Abuse and Gavin Whyte’s Happiness & Honey.
- With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, we’d like to mention our seasonal operating hours. We will be closed from Monday 23rd December, until Thursday 2nd January 2014. We welcome queries and submissions during this time, of course, but we will not be able to respond. We hope you all have a restful and enjoyable break.
- Our publications in the New Year will include Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur, by Naomi Burman Shine, Frozen by Elle A. Rose, The Bite of Vengeance by Connor Wolf, A Long Time Coming by David West, and Haunted Fields by Dan Moore – more info to come on those!
- Some of our recently confirmed authors are Christine Duts, Mike Stenson, Steven A. Burgess, Michelle Path and Alan Tansley – a real range of texts, and we are very much looking forward to working with them!
There will be more writing tips for you when the Bite-Sized Writing Guide returns next Friday, with advice on Writing a Synopsis. See you then!
Many writers aspire to have their novel released via a publishing house after or instead of self–publishing, but have no idea how to approach the subject appropriately. When submitting your manuscript, it’s necessary to write a covering letter that is sent either before or alongside your work. It’s best to keep cover letters short and simple, while at the same time including enough vital information about your piece. We have listed below a few dos and don’ts when it comes to writing a cover letter.
- Mention any positive reasons that you chose the publishing house, without using too much obvious flattery. Editors are interested to know why your work is so well suited for that particular company.
- Very briefly summarise the novel, describing the genre and touching on the basic plot synopsis, and perhaps including what current market or trend the novel fits into. Next time we will be touching more on how to write an effective synopsis for submission.
- Keep the submission about the novel; personal biography should be kept short and to the point.
- Be aggressive or arrogant; try to stay as humble and polite as possible. After all, it is unwise to suggest you are doing an editor a favour by writing to them.
- Use flowery or over-complicated language. Recipients will not be impressed with an overly formal, unreadable letter that suggests you do not know what style is appropriate. Keep it well written, simple and to the point.
- Challenge the editor. Fairly obvious, but questioning whether a publisher is bold or brave enough to take on a groundbreaking new manuscript may not give the best impression of its writer.
Next Friday we’ll be giving you a quick update of all the happenings at Rowanvale Books, so be sure to drop by. Don’t forget that you can request tips or guidance on specific topics; just leave a Comment and we’ll do our best to help!
When it comes to writing non-fiction, many publishers will have an upcoming subject in mind and will need to find a writer that fits the bill. If you’re interested in a specialist subject but aren’t sure of how to stand out amongst the ever-growing crowd of potential writers, then there are a number of places to start getting your name out there.
- Create a website. It goes without saying that the first place anyone, including editors, usually begin their research is the all-knowing internet. Most of us don’t know where we’d be without Google, and being a part of it is definitely a sure-fire way of increasing your notoriety. There are a number of cost-effective and easy to use websites that will help set you up online and make a name for yourself. This is something that Rowanvale Books can help with, so do get in touch for more information.
- Network. Make as many contacts as you possibly can. The more you get out there and meet new people within the industry, the more likely you are to run into that editor who is looking for a writer just like you. Events and opportunities for networking can usually be found on local writing sites like Literature Wales, so make sure you keep up to date with what’s going on near you.
- Raise your writing profile. Blog often, particular on your specialist field, and try to score as many guest blogging opportunities as you can. On top of this, start writing articles and columns – whether they’re in print or online, it doesn’t matter, as long as you are circulating your talent and demonstrating how well you can write.
- Teach your subject. Every so often opportunities to speak to groups, large and small, will come around. Make sure you are jumping at the chance to talk to others about your writing, so that eventually you are one of the first names people think of when the topic comes up. Universities and writer’s groups, among other societies, often hold events for existing and prospective authors alike, so try and attend as many as possible and put forward your name for speaking.
Next Friday, we discuss Submitting a Manuscript. Don’t forget that you can request tips or guidance on specific topics; just leave a Comment and we’ll do our best to help!
When incorporating a foreign language into our writing, we often need to rely on native words and phrases to establish a real sense of culture and place, an atmosphere that is distinctly not English. But how much do we include? How much do we translate? We don’t want readers to lose concentration or become frustrated when they can’t understand what is being said.
- Research, research, research. When it comes to knowing whether or not to use a native term, it’s easy to assume that the reader will automatically understand what you are getting at. After passing by hello, goodbye and thank you, it becomes increasingly difficult to work out how much your readers really understand. So ask around! A little market research goes a long way, so compile a list of terms you might want to use and test out the familiarity on friends, family, co-workers, in online forums, and over as wider range of the cultural spectrum as possible. Once you get a sense of what needs translating and what is common knowledge, it’s just a matter of how to translate.
- If the term is untranslatable. Some meanings are simply lost in translation, and can’t be expressed any other way than in their native language. In this case, it’s best to merge the term as seamlessly as possible into the text, so that common sense helps the reader identify its meaning.
- Context is key. Try out a few variations on the English words around a foreign term, making sure the clues they give as to its meaning are as clear as possible. Context helps us lock native words in the long term memory, so they can be reused later if necessary.
- If you are using native dialogue. When using foreign terms that can be translated, the smoothest way of doing so is through dialogue or inward thought:
”Éxito!” Success! Julio shouted.
By placing the translation either immediately, or a little way after the dialogue, we can explain a phrase or term without the use of context or footnotes, glossary etc. And remember to italicize! This approach means that we get an authentic sense of culture without losing anything from the plot. If the reader does not understand a term, they have only a little way to go before being kept in the loop – they get to experience the language without feeling inadequate or frustrated. This is particularly useful if you intend to use the same word repeatedly, as it need only be explained once.
Next Friday, we cover Writing Non-Fiction. This post was produced in response to a reader’s query, so if you have a question just leave a Comment and we’ll do our best to help!
Every other aspect of your narrative voice is essentially determined by the point of view you choose. How your narrator views and reacts to certain situations can influence how the reader sees those same scenarios, and the personality of your voice can set the tone of the entire novel. When choosing your point of view, take into account these points.
- First-person. This is best if there are particular speech inflections and pronunciations that you have in mind to define your narrative voice. An accent or definitive manner of speaking can be utilized by first person point of view to give a little personality to your narrative. The downside is that you are limited to what that particular character can actually see and think.
- Second-person. Great for addressing the reader directly, although not that common in fiction writing. Chapters written in a journal style, or an entire novel if that’s what you’re aiming for, make use of the second person point of view, which can be interesting for a reader to get an insight as voyeur. It is difficult, however, to get lost in a story when you are constantly reminded that you exist. It’s a risk in sticking to this style of writing, as you should be wary of knocking readers out of the fictional world they have immersed themselves in.
- Third-person. Omniscient narrative is obviously best when you are writing about scenarios that take place far from your protagonist’s personal experience. It is easily the most liberating point of view because there are no limitations to what your narrative voice can see and think. The negative is that allowing the reader into your character’s heads becomes increasingly difficult, as you need to rely on dialogue and internal thoughts i.e. ‘too much, she thought.’ The other downside is that jumping from one character’s perspective to another can be awfully confusing, and sometimes quite jarring.
Don’t forget to drop by next Friday for more updates and tips!