Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hi everyone,

just a quick update to let you know that I have (finally) gotten a Twitter account. You can follow me @sorchawriter, or simply click on the Twitter icon at the top right of the main blog page. A new website is also coming shortly, along with a Facebook page. All of these sites will feature some regular updates about my upcoming short story collection The Question, which I will be publishing in the next few months.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mythago Wood - A Journey Through the Psyche

I read quite a lot as a child and teenager and, like many treasured memories from our childhoods, many of my favourite books have somewhat lost their sheen as I've grown older. So it was very little expectation that I returned to a fondly remembered book from my early teens; Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. My memory of that novel was of a fantastical story involving the then fascinating concept of racial consciousness and a mysterious wood in which figures from imagination came to life. However there is much more to this book than that, as it is one of those great works of literature that has more and more secrets and lessons to divulge on each read.

The premise of Mythago Wood is fascinating and in many ways unique to my experience. Here we have an ancient wood in which the racial memories of local people, their subconscious imaginings of great heroes and historical figures, are incarnated in corporeal form. So far, so Disney, you might think. However, what Holdstock does brilliantly well is bring these figures back in a vivid, unapologetic, unsettling, and often threatening way. Here is a portrayal of our ancestors in their most unromantic form - filthy, violent and alien.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How much does it really cost to self-publish?

In today's world, most writers have at least flirted with the idea of self-publishing. Among the many advantages that are often cited by proponents of self-publishing in ebook form is of course the relatively low price when compared with hard-copy formats. At first glance, it does seem that ebook publishing should be an extremely 'cost-effective' means of getting an unsigned author's work in the public domain. However a number of articles on this topic challenge this view.

For example, Miral Sattar's post The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book gives a reasonably detailed and possibly surprising breakdown of the costs of publishing a high-quality book. Even if costs associated with hard-copy items (such as printing) are eliminated, the typical author is looking at a minimum investment of approximately $3,000 dollars according to Sattar. These expenses include developmental editing and copyediting, along with cover design and formatting.

Of course, just about all of these expenses can be avoided if the author simply chooses to do all of these tasks themselves. However in that case they're obviously running the risk of ending up with a less polished and possibly amateurish finished product.

How do you feel about the expenses listed above? Do you generally invest in professional editing and design services or do all of the work yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you are interested in reading an established author's view on self-publishing there is a reasonably informative Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) by Angela S. Stone here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The White Review Short Story Prize

Hi all,

just a quick note to let people know about The White Review Short Story Prize. This is a competition for writers resident in the UK and Ireland who do not have a publishing deal. There is an impressive prize fund for this contest and a number of bonus prizes for the winner. The deadline is March 1st and full details can be found here.

The White Review Prize