Newsletter No 56 August 2012

Newsletter No 56 August 2012

Disaster! And I was getting on so well with the new book, too .  There I was, sailing happily along in chapter three, when I began to feel extremely unwell with a pain down my left shoulder. No, it wasn’t a heart attack. I suppose one should be thankful for what it was not. No, it was shingles. And let me tell you, it is horrible. I have bad reactions to all sorts of medication and the four hourly pills I was given didn’t really kill the pain . . . and here I am, three weeks later, still feeling as if my brain were made of cardboard, and unable to work properly. I let my editor and my agent know as soon as I was aware of what it was that had hit me, and hope that soon my brain will clear and I will be able to continue with my story.

Meanwhile, I had to cancel my attendance on a panel of crime writers in the Bodies in the Bookshop day run by Heffers in Cambridge on July l4th. I was really upset by that as I haven’t missed that event for years. But I wasn’t fit even to attempt the journey. Ah well. Perhaps there’ll be another opportunity later in the year.

Clearing up after Winchester, I sent off tip sheets about websites and E-books to various writers who had asked for them. I also asked my website manager to put them up on my website under the How to Write button. So, if anyone is interested, they can find them there. To put it in a nutshell, my recommendations are that if you’re going to turn professional, you need a professional website. And, if you want to put your book out on E, then it has to be well-written enough to appeal to a royalty-paying publisher and be priced correctly. Even if you have already got a good following of readers who will automatically buy your latest book, you will probably want to spend time working the social media, and to follow your first offering up with more material at frequent intervals. This applies even more so, if you are a first-timer.

Despite the fact that some writers are doing well out of the E-market, most offerings from beginners are not up to scratch and fail to attract any attention. If you want to see what I mean, try downloading the first chapters of a couple of dozen books by writers unknown to you. There’s been too much put out too soon.

In fact, I had a long email from a man who doesn’t want to go through the long haul of submitting to editors and agents and waiting for a royalty paying publisher to notice him. He has already put one book out on E and wanted me to endorse his second, a lengthy tome book which he proposed to send me by email. In return for my endorsement he offered me a couple of mentions on a website he runs. I was feeling really ill at the time, so I turned down his offer without going into any detail.

When I came to think over what he wanted me to do, I could see a big gap of expectation opening up between us. In the old days writers understood that learning their trade took time and a lot of hard work. Their submissions to an agent or editor included a strap line (the sentence which describes the plot/genre), an indication of length, a paragraph setting out the action, and a one or two page, double-spaced synopsis which shows how the plot develops and is brought to a conclusion, plus one or two of the first chapters. There are slightly different requirements for different editors/agents. Most do not want to see the whole book unless they think the mss has potential for their market. And yes, this means a lot of hard work for the writer . . . but you must remember that agents/editors receive dozens of submissions every day and this format gives them the necessary information to sort the wheat from the chaff. 

I have been asked to endorse books before – usually by publishers known to me. But I have always refused because I don’t have the time to do it. To read this latest offering, for instance, would have taken me a week of leisure time. And time is, of course, in short supply.

Meanwhile, we have family staying and it’s wall to wall Olympics. But as soon as I feel a bit better, I’ll be back to work on the next Ellie Quicke . . . 

Veronica Heley

NEW . . .MURDER IN MIND . . . May 2012

Ellie is asked to look into two ‘accidental’ deaths in the family of the Great White Shark – as the local big estate agent is called – because her daughter Diana intends to marry him once he’s got rid of his current wife. The surviving members of the Hooper family appear to be self-centred and unsympathetic but as their numbers diminish, Ellie begins to understand the reasons behind the way they act. Can she save the rest of them – or is it too late to act?  ISBN Hardback 978 0 7278 8179 3

Review from Booklist concludes….. ‘Heley’s latest, despite its Miss Marple-like heroine and British cozy style, is full of contemporary drama, suspense, and surprises’.

Also the paperback of MURDER MY NEIGHBOUR.  Ellie looks into the case of a wealthy lady who tells everyone she’s moving to a retirement home – but never arrives. ISBN Paperback 978 1 84751 360 1

Also NEW!

The large print version of FALSE PRETENCES.  Bea finds all is not well at an old established charity. The death of one director may have been from natural causes, but those which followed definitely were not.  ISBN 978 0 7278 9884 5

Recently published (November 2011)   FALSE REPORT. Bea tries to clear a delightful, difficult, vertically challenged musician of a false charge of rape and murder. ISBN 9780 7278 81175    And, of course, the official E-book, put out by Severn House.

FALSE MONEY. The paperback of the 5th Bea Abbot story. A group of friends is being killed off one by one but no one will say why. ISBN 978 1 84751 3052

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