Can Write Will Write
Can Write Will Write was born out of the founder's personal experience of trying to get a seven-book publishing deal.
I began writing in 2001. Brought up on Wodehouse, Hitchhiker's Guide, Flashman and the like, I have always been a lazy though avid reader who hates to go to the trouble of discovering new worlds when the ones I already know are still full of fun. It seems so wasteful for authors to create great characters only to wave them goodbye after just one story. In this spirit I created the Spawater Chronicles. This is a seven-book series - well it worked for JK Rowling - chronicling the lives and adventures of the good and not-so-good citizens of Spawater; home of the legendary Spawater baths, last outpost of the Romans in Britain.
All I needed now was to write the seven books and get a publishing deal. Not necessarily in that order.
By 2003, and halfway through my third story, I was an old hand at opening rejection letters. I no longer needed wallpaper. By then I realised that agents and publishers don’t go a bundle on offering seven-book deals to unknown wannabes. The rejection letters mentioned the possibility that the Spawater Chronicles might not deliver seven bestsellers, and that agents/publishers were not born yesterday.
Not that I could blame them. Looking back on my early, optimistic amateur manuscript submissions, I shudder at how hopeless they were. I made the common mistake of believing that the Chronicles were so good I need not bother presenting nor summarising them properly for busy recipients. I hadn’t considered what it’s like arriving at the morning desk to find it buried somewhere underneath a slush pile of old toot calling out, ‘give me your time, commitment and money’.
Through trial and much error, research and interviews, I learnt just what the publishing industry wants. Dividing my sympathies equally between frustrated authors, overworked agents and beleaguered publishers, I also learnt what it doesn’t.
One thing led to another and on 4th July 2004, backed by two local dragons, I launched an independent business dedicated to getting publishing deals for budding authors: Can Write Will Write.
The aim was to filter out the fame-seekers and trust fund chick-litters, and offer advice to those with ten percent inspiration plus ninety percent perspiration, but who were in the dark when it came to presentation. We only contacted agents or publishers when we had something worthwhile to show them, so as not to waste their time. This paid dividends. For example, we obtained a publishing deal in South Africa for Sulette Gardiner, for her semi-autobiographic novel about growing up white under Apartheid.
Since its conception, CWWW has grown in both size and experience, so the next logical step was to go into publishing ourselves. We have published several books over the past two years, including four of my Spawater Chronicles volumes, with the fifth due out this April. We are looking to publish more.
Beginning with just three people, we now have proof readers, an expert cover designer and technicians, as well as our Budding Author Department (BAD), which specialises in Aiding and abetting novice authors. Run as a cooperative, we all have our say in an open environment.
We will consider publishing any well-written book, nomatter how off-beat, including but not restricted to those that mainstream publishers have rejected.
Without mainstream resources to blanket-promote new books, we rely on the authors to blow their own trumpets to maximum effect.
As a budding author, you may well have an offbeat trumpet of your own to blow. If so, check us out.
The Future -ePublishing.
Our BAD department is looking to help all those with as yet unrealised writing ambitions with our special brand of confidence-boosting critiques and mentoring. We can help you bring your writing dreams to life.
What next? We welcome a new addition to our family of human communications. EPublishing.
One of the first acts of the French National Assembly in 1789 was to issue this declaration: "The free communication of thought and opinion is one of the most precious rights of man; every citizen may therefore speak, write and print freely." UNESCO still defines "book" as "non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers".
We began writing using stone, clay tree bark, papyrus Egypt and in China, bamboo.
Next up were wax tablets. These were reusable: the wax could be melted, and reformed into a blank. Parchment followed, favoured by monks. Before the invention and adoption of the printing press all books were copied by hand, which made them expensive and comparatively rare. By the end of the Middle Ages, the papal library in Avignon and the Paris library of Sorbonne only around 2,000 volumes.
Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 1800s. These machines could print 1,100 sheets per hour, but workers could only set 2,000 letters per hour. Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography in which an image of the material to be printed is photographically or digitally transferred to a flexible metal plate where it is developed to exploit the antipathy between grease (the ink) and water.. The ink is then offset onto a rubbery blanket (to prevent water from soaking the paper) and then finally to the paper.
Transition to digital format
The term e-book is a contraction of "electronic book"; it refers to a digital version of a conventional print book. An e-book is usually made available through the internet, but also on CD-ROM and other forms. E-Books may be read either via a computer or by means of a portable book display device known as an e-book reader, such as the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook or the Amazon Kindle. These devices attempt to mimic the experience of reading a print book.
EBooks are a new medium, an altogether different reading experience.
Consider these options: hyperlinks within the e-book to Web content and reference tools; embedded instant shopping and ordering; divergent, user-interactive, decision driven plotlines; interaction with other e-books using Bluetooth or some other wireless standard; collaborative authoring, gaming and community activities; automatically or periodically updated content; multimedia capabilities; databases of bookmarks, records of reading habits, shopping habits, interaction with other readers, and plot-related decisions; automatic and embedded audio conversion and translation capabilities; full wireless piconetworking and scatternetworking capabilities; and more.
The Internet is the ideal e-book distribution channel. It threatens the monopoly of the big publishing houses. E-books, cheaper than even paperbacks, are the quintessential "literature for the millions".
The Internet is often perceived to be nothing more than a glorified - though digitized - mail order catalogue. But e-books are different. Legislators and courts have yet to establish if e-books are books at all. Existing contracts between authors and publishers may not cover the electronic rendition of texts. E-books also offer serious price competition to more traditional forms of publishing and are, thus, likely to provoke a realignment of the entire industry.
Rights may have to be re-assigned, revenues re-distributed, contractual relationships reconsidered. Hitherto, e-books amounted to little more that re-formatted renditions of the print editions. But authors are increasingly publishing their books primarily or exclusively as e-books thus undermining both hardcovers and paperbacks.
The commercial lending library and, later, the free library were two additional reactions to increasing demand. As early as the 18th century, publishers and booksellers expressed the - groundless - fear that libraries will cannibalize their trade. Yet, libraries have actually enhanced book sales and have become a major market in their own right. They are likely to do the same for e-books.
Some of the advantages of e-publishing include:
• Negligible investment by the publisher translates to a greater willingness to take on untried writers and non-traditional characters, story lines, and manuscript lengths.
• Faster publishing time for accepted manuscripts. Rather than waiting up to two years for a manuscript to see print, e-publishing generally publishes work within a few weeks to a few months after acceptance.
• Greater flexibility within the writer/publisher relationship. E-publishing affords more say to writers in preparing works for publication. A paper publisher might ask a writer to change a character, plot line, or other features of a story to make it more marketable. An e-publisher might also make suggestions, but the writer will generally have more say. The writer might also be instrumental in providing graphics for the work, such as an electronic jacket.
• Writers have the ability to update text often and easily at virtually no cost. This is particularly handy for works related to fast-moving industries such as computer technology. Since the e-publisher does not have an investment in printed books already lining shelves, text can be electronically updated in seconds.
• E-publishing offers greater longevity for works with slower sales. While paper publishers will remove slow movers from active status (print), electronic storage affords unlimited archiving. This gives new writers time to build a following by having their entire catalog available over extended periods of time.
• Works published electronically have an ISBN number, just like printed books. This means anyone can walk into a storefront bookstore and order an electronic copy of the book.
• Writers get a higher percentage of royalties through e-publishing because the initial financial layout for the publisher is so much less than for a paper publisher. Some writers receive as much as 70% of the profits in royalties.
• With e-publishing writers normally retain all other rights to the work, such as the option to go to a paper publisher later, adapt a screenplay, or use the work in some other capacity. Paper publishers, on the other hand, tend to covet as many rights as possible from the writer in the initial boilerplate contract.
If this all sounds a little too rosy, note the disadvantages of e-publishing:
• To date, electronic works sell far fewer copies than paper books. Many people aren’t aware of e-publishing and others prefer reading a book from print rather than electronically. Good sales, according to one e-publisher, amount to 500 copies for a successful manuscript.
• Writers are responsible for providing their own ongoing marketing for e-published work. A book might be great, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t sell. Authors also can’t count on the public seeing their books on shelves or in store windows.
• If interested in building credentials, e-published works do not carry the same weight as traditional paper publishers. The sense is that the bar is somehow lower for e-published works than for printed works. However, this may change with time as e-publishing becomes more established.
• Writers do not receive an advance. This is not just a financial disadvantage, but might disqualify e-published authors from participating in certain organizations where membership requirements include works paid by advance. That said, sales royalties are often paid more frequently by e-publishers, such as quarterly rather than annually.
• Piracy is another concern in the e-publishing industry. It is a fairly simple thing, technically speaking, for a recipient of an e-work to edit the file, make several copies, and sell the work out from under the nose of the e-publisher and author. Some e-publishers counter that the relatively small market for e-works provides little impetus for this.
• Prices are not always significantly cheaper for e-works, despite the lower overhead. This might be a deterrent to sales.
Despite the disadvantages, e-publishing can be a good way for a new writer to gain a following. Romance, science fiction, murder mystery and fantasy are all possible genres for e-publishing. It is also ideal for How-To books that must be updated frequently. Businesses can also save money on employee manuals and training materials by e-publishing them. An added advantage here is that works can be clickable. Table of contents and indexes can all make navigating through technical e-books a breeze.
Find out more:
Where to find Can Write Will Write online
Where to buy in print
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- Ec•o•nom•ics: A Simple Twist on Normalcy
on June 25, 2012
Great fun and highly educational too! Along with the Freakenomics series, Ec.o.nom.ics explains in straightforward language just how economics in the USA actually works.
Buy it for your teenage kids (but read it your self first) and watch them discover that economics actually matters.
Look forwards to volume two.