A Helping Hand From Local Author Neal Jamesby Amber Valley Info on Tuesday 7 January 2014
Local Author Neal James is offering a helping hand to budding authors by giving them a chance to publish a short story on his web site. Neal explains a little more about this scheme
I know how hard it is for a new writer to obtain any kind of recognition for his or her work. I was fortunate enough to find a publisher prepared to do precisely that in 2007, and have been lucky to have them publish five books in the intervening period. However, the thrust of this article is not about me, but about what I can do, in some small way, to encourage those who, like me back in 2007, believe that they can write seriously.
With that in mind, I have a website, set up back in 2008, which contains two pages specifically designed to offer assistance to others with the urge to put pen to paper.
‘Guest Author’ is the section where I will, at no cost to the contributor, publish a short story of the writer’s choosing. Here are the submission guidelines:
‘As an opportunity for fellow writers to have greater exposure, this section of my website is reserved for those wishing to make a written contribution to its pages.’
‘Each month, a fresh third party will be given the chance to list here a submission of their choice, together with a suitable image for the piece of work. If you are interested send a message via the mailing address below, and we'll go from there.’
‘Content will be scrutinised to ensure that it fits in with the rest of the site's tone and appearance, but every effort will be made to accommodate those wanting to take part.’
‘Submission length is limited to no more than 5,000 words, and a suitable spellchecker should be used to remove errors beforehand. A personal photograph should also be included (no avatars please), together with a brief biography.’
‘Mailing address is: email@example.com’
Since its inception, writers from all over the world have contributed, some several times, and I network the change to the page every month in order to give the contributor as wide a coverage as possible.
Everyone has the ability to write, to varying degrees, and everyone has a story to tell in some form or other. I would love to hear from anyone wishing to take part.
You do not have to be a published author to participate in ‘Guest Author’, and I see it as a stepping stone rather than an entity in itself. However, to take part in the second section of the website open to all comers (‘Showcase’), it is necessary for the writer to have published a novel using one of a variety of methods now widely available. The submission guidelines for this page are a little more detailed, and they are reproduced here:
‘Having gone through the often tortuous routine of getting my work in the public spotlight, I thought that it would be nice to extend a helping hand to those in a similar situation.’
‘Showcase is the place where I will extend that assistance to those authors who fit the criteria of the rest of the site. ‘
‘Here is a list of items which you need to send to me:
- Your picture - head & shoulders should suffice
- A bio (200-250 words)
- A link to your blog or website
- An image of your book cover (jpeg format please)
- The book ISBN number
- The back cover 'blurb'
- A sample of the writing (a couple of chapters up to 5,000 words in total)
- Links to Sales sites (e.g. Amazon)
- Links to any independent reviews’
‘Submissions should match normal standards of public decency, and any not measuring up will be rejected. That said, I am no prude, and understand clearly what it is that many readers choose for entertainment. ‘
‘Here's the address to send your subsmission: firstname.lastname@example.org’
Once again, there is no charge for taking part in this section, and publication is not limited to insertion at fixed times on the month or year. Once I have the information, it’s only a matter of half an hour to insert it.
Again, contributors have come to me from all over the world and will remain on the site as long as the constraints of space allow. Once inserted, I will give the author the chance to approve the text before, once more, networking the feature around the world.
The door is open, it’s now your decision whether or not to walk through it.
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