Q&A with Sara-Jayne Slack of Inspired Quill

By Teika: The inspiring Sara-Jayne Slack of indie press Inspired Quill was recently kind enough to take our Q&A challenge. Wisdom follows… Why publishing? Or, to put it another way – if, a decade ago, you were asked the question: ‘What do you see yourself doing in ten years’ time?’ would you have answered ‘managing […]

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How to persuade yourself to write every day

By Tom: Many writers – Stephen King springs to mind – talk about their craft as a kind of compulsion. Writing is something they need to do, that they burn to do, and that helps them feel sane and grounded in a sometimes difficult world. But even those souls who are blessed/cursed by this drive […]

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Q&A with Jamie McGarry of Valley Press

By Teika: Here at the Book Stewards, we’re big fans of independent presses, and one of the indies we hold in very high esteem is Valley Press, run by the inspirational Jamie McGarry. Recently, Jamie was kind (and patient) enough to answer a load of our nosy questions, so we can all share his wisdom… […]

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You’ve finished your first draft. Now what?

By Teika: What the first draft of your manuscript looks like will very much depend on the kind of writer you are and the progress you’ve made in your writing career. The more experienced a writer you are, the chances are that each new first draft will require far less editing and be much closer […]

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The unbearable expectations of the first line

By Tom: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again. Last night, I tried for the hundredth time to craft the perfect first sentence. Do you know what I ended up with? I ended up with: “Master Bascombe?” That took me an hour to settle on. I’m not sure it will be making any […]

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‘From Pipedream to Publication’ – some useful takeaways

By Teika: A short while back I had the pleasure of being involved in a panel-type discussion called ‘From Pipedream to Publication’ which was part of ‘Word Up!’ A Festival of Words (supported by Market Place), taking place in March, Cambridgeshire. The event was organized by Jane Levicki of Eyrie Press, and my fellow panelists […]

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The value of fantasy

By Tom: I take the first coffee of the day up to my attic room, and settle into the chair that perfectly fits my body. For a moment, I gaze through the picture window at the woods in the distance, beyond the meadows and green hills. I open the laptop, set down my coffee, and […]

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Coping with self-doubt during saggy middles

By Tom: Urgh. I can’t write for shit. And I’m bored of this character. Maybe I should just abandon this lost cause and start on the new idea that’s been keeping me up for the last few nights. That book could really be something; if only I were talented enough to write it. Self-doubt is […]

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When to approach an agent or publisher

By Teika: So you’re in the thick of writing your novel, and you’ve just hit 50K words. You pretty much know how it’s going to play out and what (roughly) has to happen between now and those final words. THE END is so very nearly in sight. You reward yourself with a quick flick through […]

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What exactly do publishers do?

By Teika: Since the advent of the digital age and self-publishing as we now know it, there’s been a backlash against traditional publishers and their position as “literary gatekeepers”. Indeed, many early exponents of self-publishing predicted the toppling of the dinosaur-like “big” publishing houses as the gates were flung open by the likes of Amazon’s […]

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