Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Jane Smith

 I received an e-mail today from Jane Smith of ‘How Publishing Really Works.’  She has launched a collaborative novel called ‘Greyling Bay’ at: . Anyone can contribute, but writing will have to be of a high standard. Jane is aware of the pitfalls of such a venture, but is positive that it will be a fun project.

Although writing is mostly a solitary experience, there have always been examples of works which are the result of more than one pen. When I say ‘always’ I am thinking as a former biblical critic of the multiple author hypothesis of the first five books of the Old Testament, the three hands detected in Isaiah. Later we have schools involved in playwriting, which means that parts of Macbeth were not actually Shakespeare‘s.

One of my favourite modern collaborations is that of  Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert. Herbert’s father, Frank, wrote the award winning ‘Dune’ series. After his death there was speculation about loose ends, and it turned out that ideas for further novels had been placed on disc. Floppy disc- which required a compatible pre-windows computer to retrieve it. The resulting collaboration does not compare to vintage Herbert, but it was good to move again in that meticulously constructed world.

But the internet age allows a new type of collaboration. The experience of some experiments such as Penguin Books ‘One Million Penguins’ does warn us that a project which is too sprawling can only end in confusion, but done properly we are surely witnessing the emergence of a new form.

I am fascinated by the fact that as we see the world of ‘Greyling Bay’ emerge it will do so as a virtual reality where authors will add characters who will grow and change in interaction with other people’s inventions- a sort of literary ‘Dungeons and Dreagons.’

I am very tempted to contribute- the only problem I have is that when I write it goes through so many revisions that it is years before I show my work to another person, and what with other commitments at the moment I may not have time to do it justice. But as contributors are being asked for a maximum of 500 words, this should not be a problem.

An intriguing first passage has  been added to ‘Greyling Bay’ as I write- a passage which gives glimpses of the characters’ back stories and which ends on a page turner. 

So I will be following this project with interest.


There are lots of books out there giving advice on how you can promote your self-published/ POD book and increase your sales. The following link takes you to eighteen pages of them:

They include the following titles-



I can’t recommend them because I haven’t read them yet, so look at the Amazon reviews before deciding to buy any of these. One book which does come highly recommended is Alison Baverstock’s Marketing Your Book


    Thanks to Jane Smith for that, and if you haven’t seen her posts on marketing yet get yourself over to:

News From YouWriteOn

One doubt I had about the YouWriteOn contract was related to statements to the effect that changes may occur in my manuscript once transferred from my computer to theirs, and that no corrections would be made to these. The book, it appeared, would just be printed, even if for some reason it had been converted in cyberspace into 364 blank pages.

This didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

On Friday I received an email from YouWriteOn, asking if I really wanted my prologue to begin on an even numbered page. I replied that this was not how the manuscript appeared on my computer, and asked if they could correct it. Their reply said that they probably could, but could I resend it in PDF.*

So it would appear that YouWriteOn do check on how the books they will print will appear. The lack of editing has been a cause of much criticism. Obviously they won’t be checking grammar, but I am happier now that I know that someone is paying attention to how the books will look.

*For those of you who don’t know about PDF, it is a way of sending your text so that it will arrive in the same form that it left. Just google ‘Free PDF software’ and download it. To convert your document into PDF, choose ‘Print’ and PDF will be one of your printer options.


News From HPRW

‘I’ve made no secret of my opinion of the YouWriteOn publishing scheme: but now that some writers have signed up to it, how can they persuade bookshops to carry their titles?’

Thanks to Jane Smith, professional advice on marketing your book is available at:

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