The Accessible Author – What now for fiction?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2012 in On Writing

One of the things that has changed, in this new socially-enabled world we live in, is the accessibility of authors. This is not just about me. Writers such as Chuck Palahniuk (The Fight Club), Paul Coelho (The Alchemist) and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaids Tale) are all Tweeting. These are among the most popular authors in the world. There are lots more at it too. Here is a list of 100 mainly US authors for starters http://mashable.com/2009/05/08/twitter-authors/ What I’m interested in is, what this means for authors. There has been a tendency for authors to be unavailable in the past. When I grew up the idea of contacting an author was something you might do, but only on the rarest of occasions. You expected to be rebuffed. Many authors didn’t even give interviews, never mind tell you the quotes they like from a master in their genre. Part of this was presumably due to the cost involved in responding to letters. Authors also adopted a mantle of inaccessibility. Whether it was a natural inclination to shut themselves away, a desire to appear superior, or a perceived need to maintain a cloak of mystery is hard to say. Each of these probably had a role to play. But all that is in the past now. If you don’t play the social media game, especially as a new author, you risk becoming lost in the flood of hundreds of thousands of new novels and non fiction books being published every year. So what does this mean for the author, both now and in the future? For now it will require a change of mindset. If you want to despise the internet go ahead. When paper was introduced in the middle ages, making volume production of books possible due to paper’s lower cost, the vellum and parchment lovers despised the new medium and denigrated its ability to expand the reach of authors. Those who despise the internet now, an increasingly social medium, have a similar mindset. This post is addressed to the rest of us. The Seven Golden Rules of Twitter (being open about your real interests, not where you are, engaging with people, following people, adding your opinion to RTs and posts, being positive, teasing, providing insights) force a writer to come out of their shell. It’s great therapy for the isolated. And a support tool to make us all smile. I certainly have felt supported and have had many enjoyable moments reading the comments of my online friends. But does all this have a greater significance for writers? Will it affect how we write and what we write about? I believe that the Internet, our easy accessibility to people and facts, will fundamentally change the stories writers tell. Being able to contact people, to get their views, is very useful, Being able to find out information without having the luxury of free time to...

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The 2nd Puzzle: The Lost Book of Magic

Posted by on Dec 26, 2011 in Historical Puzzles

and The Secret Riches Visualization Tool and Most people know what The Secret is. They know about the power of positive thinking, repetition, self belief. and Few people know however that these ideas were once the key elements in ancient books of magic. Such books often also contained medical knowledge and practical personal advice. The success of such ideas gave these books a long life. They were much sought after and argued over. and And in some periods you could be burnt at the stake for possessing such books. and These days you can buy books of magic and positive thinking for a relatively low cost, and without much danger to your health. You can even go to seminars on how to see your success, or you can give away your money to people selling seals and hoodoo correspondence courses. and So what has any of this got to do with Istanbul? and At the time of the fall of Constantinople (since called Istanbul) in 1453 thousands of scholars fled to Italy. They went to Florence and to Milan and beyond. Among them were physicians, astronomers and mathematicians. and Marsilio Ficino, whose family fled from Constantinople to Italy, was one the most important figures in the Italian Renaissance. and He was involved, with Cosimo de’Medici, in trying to heal the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.a nd He was also a vegetarian, a priest, and at one point was lucky to escape with his life after being accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII.and ND Ficino’s father was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, who was made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de’ Medici. and So where did Marsilio get his most important ideas? and Many of his thoughts are common sense now, such as advice to keep your body in good order, but some of his other ideas are more far reaching, even to this day. and Marsilio Ficino and In the Book of Destiny, Marsilio details the links between behavior and consequence. He talks about the list of things that hold sway over a man’s destiny, and He practised astrology too and believed in talismans and symbols. His most famous prediction was that the son of Lorenzo de’Medici would become Pope. He did. and His most famous achievement though was in the blending of the occult, the magical traditions of astrology, with the teaching of the Catholic church. and He wrote a treaty on the Immortality of the Soul, which after his death, became dogma of the Catholic and eventually the Protestant churches. This was a theoretical advancement on the Christian belief that we will all live on after death. His theory synthesized Christianity and Platonism, and created a foundation for the Renaissance. and He subscribed to the notion that there was hope for world renovation...

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My Summer Read & An Interview with Glenn Meade

Posted by on Jul 23, 2011 in Guest Posts

Glenn Meade is one of the most successful Irish authors of this generation. His novels include the international bestsellers The Sands of Sakarra, Snow Wolf and his latest compelling blockbuster The Second Messiah. Earlier this year I asked Glenn some questions about his writing. Here are his answers: 1. Glenn, when did you become interested in writing, what drove you to write your first book? At age four, as I hid under the dining room table in my grandmother’s home in Cabra, I discovered I was in the company of an escaped prisoner from Mountjoy jail (this isn’t fiction, it’s true). It was Stephen’s Day and he’d absconded while out on Christmas parole–he was a friend of my uncle, who suggested he hide in the house–and the Guards were out searching for the escapee along Cabra’s Mulroy Road. He told me to keep quiet and read my Dandy Annual. He gave me sixpence. That’s the first time I realized I could make money from hardbacks, and it’s driven me ever since… 2. How and when did you get your first break, your agent or your publisher, and what was that like? I wrote a number of stage plays, without much success. I’d had great fun in the process–theatre was lots of laughs but often impoverishment. I had always wanted to write a novel so I sat down and set myself a work schedule of writing six days a week until the novel was done. It took me longer than I thought–18 months–and I wrote in in longhand, over 500 pages, which meant eventually having to transcribe in onto a computer. It was damned hard work–I still remember the pain of writing and re-writing, and the exhaustion of trying to write and keep a full time job that often involved 50/60 hours a week. 3. What do you think the secret ingredient of your books is? What is that makes them sell? That’s always a hard one. I’m not sure there is a secret ingredient–there are many ingredients that go into a successful novel but I think above all it’s the emotion the tale imparts and the interest the reader has in your characters. Memorable characters make memorable novels. Characters, plot, emotion. Those are the three main ingredients. What you do with them as a writer sets you apart. 4. Which of your own books are you most pleased with in terms of writing craft and what makes you feel that way? Resurrection Day, was the most complex and involved, and required acres of research material. I look back on it as a big accomplishment. It garnered great reviews and media attention but didn’t sell as well as my other books. Web of Deceit was the most fun to write. Snow Wolf, Sands of Sakkara, and The Second Messiah all gave me pleasure, too–once they were completed. 5:   The Devil’s Disciple shifted your...

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