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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Cultivating inspiration

By Tom: I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning — Peter DeVries. We all love flow. The muse is with us, whispering the perfect words into our mind’s ear, we can hardly type fast enough to get the ideas out and discover what our characters […]

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How to find the time to write when you don’t have any time

By Tom: One of the realities of the writing life is that not many people can succeed in living entirely off the proceeds of their words. The majority of writers – even some very successful ones – make a significant amount of their income from other activities such as teaching, or public speaking, or criticism, or various […]

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How to decide which publishing option is right for you

By Teika: Generally, choice is a good thing. Having plenty of choice feels exciting. It IS exciting. But it can also feel daunting, and confusing, particularly if you don’t consider yourself to be a great decision-maker. And once you start making choices you inevitably close doors. You may feel as though you’re missing out. Or […]

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Finding the willpower to finish the first draft

By Tom: We’ve all been there. January the first. This is the year! I’m finally going to get that first draft finished – just watch me go. There’ll be smoke rising from my keyboard… February the first is a different matter. The burst of energy and excitement that fired you up in the new year […]

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Choices, choices, choices! Your publishing options.

By Teika: I love to discuss publishing with writers (with anyone who’ll listen, in fact!) and something that I’ve seen over and over is the idea that there are two main routes to getting a book published: 1. Acquiring an agent and getting a traditional publishing deal with one of the ‘Big 5’ publishers (and […]

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The beginning, part two

By Tom: 7 years ago I had a conversation with my wife that changed my life. In fact, it led to many changes in our lives. First, and most obviously, it led to the creation of Mother’s Milk Books. Second, and less obviously, it led our family away from the standard model of two parents […]

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