Sunday, October 20, 2013

How To Be A Literary Genius

Publisher's hat on today to announce exciting news. I'm delighted and thrilled to announce that Jacqui Lofthouse's new novel, How To Be A Literary Genius, will be published  by Blackbird Digital Books on Nov 1st. This is a new novel by a wonderful writer, a satire on the writing world that I am sure is going to be enjoyed especially by anybody who has ever entertained the thought of writing a novel, taken a creative writing class or joined a writing group.  It will be available worldwide via Amazon. A summary of the story follows below.

If you'd be interested in being one of the first to read this ebook in return for an honest review on Amazon/ and/or Goodreads, please email me at blackbird/dot/digibooks@gmail/dot/com stating your preferred ebook format: Mobi for Kindle or PDF and we'll get one off to you straight away.

A comedy for anyone who has ever faced the blank page and survived it

Anna Bright never wanted to write a novel. At least, that’s what she tells herself. She has a beautiful home, a halfway decent job and is engaged to Will Isenberg, a Cambridge graduate with the looks of a Romantic poet. When her best friend secures a six-figure publishing deal, Anna remains in denial. But a chance encounter with a famous novelist cuts a chink in Anna’s resolve and before she knows it she has enrolled on a creative writing course, fallen for her tutor and is mixing with the literati.

Will’s writer mother flies in from New York and whisks Anna off to a Greek-island writing retreat, owned by her ex-lover, the writing guru James Loftus. Back home, Anna's relationship with Will descends into chaos and it looks like the wedding is off. An invitation to take part in a televised literary competition hosted by the unscrupulous Loftus creates further confusion.

Under the gaze of the camera, Anna navigates her new literary life. She is part of a TV circus, she has sold out. Will she manage to save her sanity, and her wedding, before she becomes a by-product of the literary world?   

Praise for Jacqui Lofthouse's Novels

“A remarkable, often beautiful and startling piece of writing. A considerable achievement.” – John Mortimer.
“Deceptive; entertaining and unusual.” – Louis de Bernières
“A very impressive book… a superbly recreated historical period and a passionate investigation into femininity, all wrapped up in a mysterious and well-paced narrative.” – Jonathan Coe
“There are many elements to savour in this novel. Lofthouse has a fine eye for the bleak Norfolk landscape and how it both reflects and affects characters’ moods.” – Tracy Chevalier, Author of Girl with a Pearl Earring
“Every word is magical, almost luminous.” – Daily Mail
“Grand fun and quite naughty in parts.” – The Times

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Donna Tartt Talks About Writing

 The gems are in the 2nd half when she talks about writing. On ditching 8 months of work: it was OK,  all part of the process, still there beneath the surface, and she talks about the silent characters in novels who don't say much, and Hemingway's iceberg.

"If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing." Ernest Hemingway in Death In The Afternoon

Having just ditched a chapter I'd been worrying at for far too long, I love this. I got a lot from listening to her. It makes me want to be more serious with myself.

Seven days left. Watch it here if you can (UK only? not sure).

More about Hemingway's Iceberg Method

More about her new novel, The Goldfinch

Extract from The Goldfinch

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Nothing happens for months and suddenly two lists come along at once. A way of boosting sales is to reduce the kindle price for a limited time and then shout about it. Shouting on the internet isn't easy and doesn't mean 'buy my book' tweets. A discreet RT or two of the tweets of others who are featuring your book is just about acceptable. This is happening today with Indie Book Bargains, a fast-growing UK email/blog/FB/Twitter enterprise who have made the The Widow's To Do List a featured book of the day.

They invite authors to send in their special offers and each day they pick a few they like the look of to feature in an email mailout, on Facebook (3K+), Twitter and on their website. They pick independent reads alongside established authors whose publishers have an offer on. There's also a really useful 'offer review copies' section where you can offer your ebook for free to readers in exchange for an honest review. It's a free service you can donate to if their efforts help you on your way or if you're just plain rich, or plain not broke, and want to support them:  Check them out here.

Indie Book Bargains

The other list is the US site The Cool Girls Guide The Chick-Lit 50: Leading Influential Authors. This came about by a survey of authors online, on Twitter etc rather than book sales. I didn't submit to anything, it came right out of the blue. I'm amazed to be mentioned with such authors and am miles away from any mainstream influence. But all the social media stuff is actually beginning to count. A few days ago agent Jonny Geller Tweeted Franzen's grumble that agents won't look at authors with less than 250 followers with a '371 is my rule of thumb' quip. Superficial perhaps, but publishing has always been a numbers game. Whilst celebrity authors increase the odds of breaking even and even making a profit, new voices are a risky punt with a 90% failure rate in the traditional world. Perhaps, just maybe, I do stand a chance of being a bubbling under one.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Boomerlit - Romance Novels for The Over 50s

 I'm guesting this week over on the Goodreads Boomerl Lit Friday blog.

Stopping Old In Its Tracks: Where Does This Boomer Attitude Come From?

It’s all about the widespread availability of hair dye. Hair dye stopped Old in its tracks, said a famous iconic author who died recently. So that’s looks taken care of, what about attitude? For me it’s music and independence. A fierce independence that grew out of the incomprehension that became known at the generation gap. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like it, generally, at any other time and mine was particularly extreme. My father was born two centuries ago, in 1899. He came late to parenting obviously - I’m not that old. In 1955, up I popped into my father’s life in the company of rock & roll and all things utterly incomprehensible to him..... continued here