Saturday, 22 January 2011

Me and my big mouth...

Yes, that's where Tim was earlier this week - guest-posting on Scott Pack's blog. And this is what he wrote...

So you want to be an author. Who doesn't? And once you are, you'll want to be published won't you? Who wouldn't? I did. And I know a lot of others in the same position. Which is why - with a friend - I decided to do a bit about it last year.

First up came a bit of author training. Everyone does creative writing courses these days; someone I knew signed up for one, but it was cancelled. She was devastated. Hastily I promised to write her a set of online lessons and, well, the rest is history. Over 100 people formally registered and completed my creative writing e-course. Most were allocated to one of several online peer support tutorial groups, but many hundreds more followed the lessons informally week-by-week, or downloaded them direct from my Bringing up Charlie blog.

The next problem was what to do with all the top-quality writing the students had produced. We decided to publish an anthology, and at the same time start a tiny publishing venture that might just help bring new authors to the attention of a small group of discerning readers. So Dotterel Press was born and our first publication was the charity anthology ‘Tiny Acorns’. Featuring the work of several new, unpublished authors and covering genres as diverse as flash-fiction, more traditional short stories as well as life-writing, humour, poetry and autobiography, it's an inspiring read. And if you are, the book contains the entire ten part creative writing course so you can have a go yourself.

We're not going to make anyone any money. In fact, what we do make we're going to give to charity. But we are going to get the best new writing into print. And we're looking for something different, something big publishers in the current climate couldn't hope to take a punt on, something good that nobody else could've written.

It's a bit like the theory of evolution, as applied to publishing. Not all our literary mutations will survive; but those that do will change the world! Which is another way of saying that we're doing what 'big' publishers used to have the time and cash to do - to gently 'grow' new authors and, perhaps, start new careers.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

First, let me wish you all a Happy New Year. 2010 was exciting, what with the publication of our anthology and the launch of what we think is the only charity fundraising publishing initiative in the UK. But we want to make 2011 even better, and we've got some exciting news to reveal later in the year.

But first, we still have several dozen copies of the initial print-run of Tiny Acorns in stock and we've decided to extend our offer of free UK post and packing. We'd really like to be able to say we've sold out of the books soon, not least so we can donate a healthy sum to Children in Need. If you watch BBC's Countryfile you'll know that they're still selling their 2011 calendar and making a virtue of the fact that £4 of the proceeds from every sale goes to Children in Need. Well, £5 from the sale of every copy of Tiny Acorns bought direct from us will go to Children in Need. And although donations can be made throughout the year, we'd really like to make ours soon.

So here's the challenge. If you are a contributor you'll obviously want your work to be read as widely as possible; as a student of creative writing you might want a reminder of the e-course that ran on Tim's blog last summer; and as a writer you'll want to support the work of your fellow scribblers and spread the word far and wide. So we'd like each one of you to try and secure just one more sale during January. If you know a keen reader, tell them what a feast awaits them; or if you know a budding writer, persuade them how the book and course might inspire and direct them. Use your powers of persuasion to try and sell just one more copy; if you can sell more, so much the better. But if everyone thought long and hard about a bit of gentle arm-twisting we'd soon be able to get that cheque written.

Finally, a word about international sales. These are available through POD publication via Lulu all over the world. Our stock - and our offer of free postage - is intended for UK customers. But thanks to Lulu nobody need miss out on an opportunity to support a worthy charity as well as read some top quality writing.