OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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I interview Iain Broome from WriteForYourLife.net on copywriting and patience with traditional publishing. In the intro, I talk about the launch of Pentecost and how it feels to finally have the book available everywhere. I will be reporting back to you on how the launch went in a special podcast with Zoe Winters who has also just launched Save My Soul.
Iain Broome is a novelist, professional copywriter and blogger based in Sheffield, UK. Iain has a popular blog for writers at WriteForYourLife.net.
In the interview you will learn:
- Iain has been writing since he was still at school and always wanted to study writing. He did an undergraduate and Masters degree in Creative Writing and started writing his novel as part of that course. After leaving, Iain worked as a copywriter for the University and then moved to The Workshop where he currently works copy-writing websites for clients.
- The benefits of doing a Masters in Creative Writing – mainly around the people who you meet and the high standard of writing, as well as the authors who mentor you. It's absorbing from the experts. Seeing other people's writing critiqued is just as valuable as having your own critiqued.
- During the last 7 years, Iain has been working on his novel “A is for Angelica” while working. It's literary fiction. It's about a man whose wife has had a second stroke and he decides to keep it secret. He thinks he can keep it a secret. As the novel unfolds, his secrets unravel.
- How Iain got an agent. During the Masters he had submitted a first page to an editor and this was passed on to an agent who wanted to see the rest when it was available. Having an agent waiting was a lot of pressure. But several years later when the novel was finished, the agent didn't want it anymore. So Iain went down the route of submission to multiple agents and was picked up by Tibor Jones. The market is obviously affected by the global financial crisis so the industry is taking longer. But as long as you know it's going to be a long wait, it's just part of the process.
- When Iain started writing, there was a stigma associated with self-publishing. Now the stigma is lessening but Iain still wants a print publishing deal. He would give up all the Kindle sales in the world for a print deal where his book is sold in the local bookstore. I mention here the runaway Kindle success of Amanda Hocking and other authors.
- On copy-writing and tips for writers. One of the keys is editing and writing in plain English. This has resulted in Iain's clean prose – a brilliantly effective way to write – see Raymond Carver. It helps with ruthless editing. Another tip is to keep a style sheet so that everything is consistent.
- Why blogging is important so that the author personality is known behind the writing. On video blogging – it helps to show the real person behind the blog. It's also quicker and easier to produce. Writers can spend a lot of time editing to make things perfect so articles take a lot longer to write, whereas videos can be produced faster. It's also to get known by editors, agents and publishers as well as selling books – so it is for the author platform and marketing aspect. You are selling yourself as well as your work. You need to stand out so anything you can do is important. It's also important that you're easy to work with. Video shows there is a person behind the writing who is easy to get on with.
- On the British writing market. It's pretty similar to the rest of the world. Publishers are taking fewer risks on the types of books they publish. Ebooks are taking off slowly in the UK, although Iain is a fan of the iPad. He talks about the publisher Enhanced Editions who produce apps for the iPad. Authors will eventually put together an experience so the book will come with interviews and extra material, or alternative endings.
You can find Iain at WriteForYourLife.net and at Broomeschtick as well as on twitter @iainbroome
Lesley Galston says
Hi Joanna, I have tried to download Pentecost, as Kindle for PC but does not appear to work, do you have it avaialble in other download formats. Sony Ereader, PC or PDF?? Many thanks
Joanna Penn says
Hi Lesley, Thanks so much for your interest,
I’m surprised as people are definitely buying them – I hope it’s not a glitch! I will be releasing in other formats soon – epub is available here
Thanks so much, Joanna
I enjoyed the interview. I found the bit he said about copywriting teaching him to trim down his writing interesting. I have no copywriting experience, but I can see how that could be true. When I read Stephen King’s “On Writing” the chapter where he talks about cutting out extra words really affected me. Since then I’ve tried to keep my writing kind of sparse.
Iain Broome says
Hi Lovelyn and thanks for the kind comments.
Copywriting really taught me the value of editing. I spent the best part of three years rewriting business speak and jargon into readbale, plain English. I’d often have to halve the original piece of work!
You might expect this to stifle my creative writing, but it had the opposite effect. These new skills transferred perfectly and helped me make better decisions about my work.
It’s actually a great exercise. Take any piece of writing and halve it without losing any of its meaning. Brill practice!
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Lovelyn – yes, I think King talks about cutting 10% every time you edit. I find I am a sparse writer anyway so I need to add words 🙂
Dixie Goode says
Joanna, I have been following your posts and looking forward to this day eagerly and with best wishes for your success. I know the thrill of holding my book in my hands was second only to the joy of welcoming new members into the family, via marriage, adoption or giving birth, and kind of like that in the way your life is never the same afterward.
Putting in my order for my copy today.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Dixie 🙂
Lee Cole--Home Based Freelancer says
Hi! Great video! my wife is finishing her first novel, and this is really great info.
Joanna Penn says
Glad you enjoyed the video – I love people to see who I’m interviewing!
Jake Richert says
Thank you for the link, Joanna.
I especially appreciated Iain’s words on trimming down. I’ll have to try his halving exercise.