Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Flash 500 Results

The results of the second quarter of the Flash 500 Competition have been announced. The stories and the judge's report are up on the website.

The third quarter is open for entries and will be judged by Sue Moorcroft. Sue is the chief judge for the monthly Writers' Forum short story competition, and also judges many other quality competitions.

Flash 500 is a quarterly open-themed competition with closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. The results will be announced within six weeks of each closing date and the three winning entries each quarter will be published on the competition website. The judge changes each quarter, details on the judge’s page at:

Entry fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories

Prizes are awarded as follows:

First: £250 plus publication in Words with JAM
Second: £100
Third: £50
Highly commended: A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist

Competition website:

Monday, 26 July 2010

Win £200 with How To Books!

Nick Lewis of How To Books sent me this message, which I thought I'd share with all the writers I know.

In celebration of our new user submission service, we have been holding a competition throughout July for the best article submitted to The winner, as judged by our editors, will be announced on the 16th of August and will receive £200 on top of any other earnings the article makes.

For those unaware of How To Books, we put all of our books online last year for users to read for free, while we make our money from advertising. Earlier this year we opened up the site to submissions from the public for short ‘how to’ articles. We have just implemented a new system allowing writers to submit content directly through the site making it quicker and easier than before. All of our writers receive a share of the advertising revenue that we collect on their articles.

There’s only a week left to go for the competition, but that’s still plenty of time to get your entries in. Entries can be on any subject as long as they offer practical advice. To get more of an idea, take a look at the articles already on the site.

For full terms and conditions, along with writing guidelines, please visit

Good luck!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

To E or not to E

Today an old writing friend is guest posting about his experiences with e-book publishing. David Robinson is 60 years old (see, I told you he was an old friend) and lives on the northeast outskirts of Manchester in sight of the Saddleworth Moors, a location he's used in at least one of his novels.

But I'll leave it to David to tell you the rest in his own words ...
My fourth novel hit the virtual bookstands on July 5th. Voices is a 120,000 word sci-fi/psycho horror tale with an unusual pedigree.

My hearing has gradually declined over the last few years. My eyesight’s been poor since I was a kid. Both knees are shot, my hips play me up, my heart’s having second thoughts, so trivia like losing your hearing tends not to worry you. But there was a curious side effect. I began to hear indistinct muttering, as if my neighbours had their TV turned up too loud. Apparently it’s my brain tricking me (another bit on the blink perhaps?) Because it’s got into the habit of hearing sounds for the first 55 years of my life it’s trying to fool me that it can still hear them.

That was the catalyst for Voices, the tale of Chris Deacon, college lecturer, survivor of a bomb attack who finds himself troubled by phantoms and voices in his head.

Although I penned the first draft in just over a month, the finished project took a year and a half, and then began the rounds of agents and publishers. As usual it met with serial rejection and worse than that, disregard. Some of the companies I sent it to never returned it, and one company has had it for over a year now.

So I submitted to E-Books For Pleasure (EBFP) a brand new outfit based in Minnesota, and they said “yes”. Voices is out as an e-book.

Shock horror! An e-book. Was it not good enough for print?

All four of my novels saw the light of day as e-books; only one became a paperback and even then, the e-book is outselling the print version.

I’m aware of all the arguments for and against e-books, I know there is a lot of dross put out by the “make two million quid this weekend by buying my e-book” self-publishers, and I know that even with the more upmarket publishers the quality often leaves something to be desired. But when economic times are tough, what do you do? Send it out to publisher after publisher, agent upon agent, wait three, four, twelve months for someone to say “no thanks”?

I may not (yet) be setting the world on fire with my fiction, and I can’t afford to give up the day job on the back of my earnings, but it is making money, I am a published author.

E-books also gave me the opportunity to self-publish two volumes of my sledgehammer humour; a couple of projects no self-respecting print house would take on. That’s six times I’ve been published. Five more and I’ll have to take my shoes and socks off to count them.

God bless technology.

If you want to listen to David talking about e-book technology, you can hear him at:

Voices is available in epub format at:

Or check out David's website at: