Monday, 26 August 2013

Proof, if proof be needed

So one of the important things to do when putting a collection together, or presumably any publication, is to proof it carefully.

If you're anything like me (prone to a lack of attention to detail, and very easily distra.... oh look, a sparrow!) you might want this to be somebody other than you. If you're lucky you could send your work to someone like David Bateman* for a quick comment on the generality of it and get back 3 pages of typos, spellos, syntactical errors and punctuational faux pas.

I just thought I'd share a couple of the things he picked up on in the first version of The Silence Museum:

untidy bottom of “previously published” paragraph

two different styles of ellipsis on same line

inconsistent capitalization of line-starts

'a lone parenthetic comma'    and    'rogue hyphens'

"For “Flambe” the “é” you need is in the Insert menu.(“Menu”! I made a funny! Ha ha ha ha etc.)"

"Almost unbelievably, this line definitely needs another comma.  Insert it bravely!"

I thought it would be nice to thank him in the front of the book. 'Thanks to David Bateman, who taught me everything I know about ellipses'**  Then I decided to include an additional short poem about him in the collection, but I didn't send it for re-checking because it really was very short, and mentions how he taught me everything I know about ellipses. You know what's coming here, don't you? I spelled ellipses with just one 'l'.

Dho!... I mean Doh!

What's the worst typo or similar you've missed until it was too late?

* David Bateman is an excellent 'silly and serious at the same time' poet, by the way. There's not much of his stuff on the web, but check out the link for his classic 'World's Greatest Impressionist' poem

** There's only ever three dots in an ellipsis

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Book Launched! Woo hoo!

My 'pin drop' cover wasn't high res
enough so I had to change it.

Such fun!  I had my first proper book launch in the library on Tuesday night and it was such a nice event (if I say so myself!).

I hadn't expected big numbers, but it sort of grew so I ended up in the exhibition room upstairs with a lovely audience of 50 people!!

I was really nervous because of the people I knew were coming - old school friends, ex colleagues,  poets, the parents, library folk, friends and acquaintances, many of whom hadn't seen me perform before. There was a decent number of borrowers too, who'll look at me in a different light now!... and the Boss of All Libraries (not her real title) who was hugely supportive.

I'm often asked if I have a book and, with 99 poems published and 24 placed in competitions, it was time bring some of these together as a collection. I know I should have touted it around 'proper' poetry publishers but I grew impatient to get something out, so published it myself. The themes emerged as 'silences' - our unspoken feelings, yearnings and secrets... with some humorous pieces for light relief.

The 75-page collection is available HERE for £7.99 + post and will eventually be on Amazon (but if you email me at clare [at] clarekirwan [dot] co [dot] uk I'll send you one for £6 + post).

Friday, 9 August 2013

Funny Submission Guidleines #2

My first post of Funny Submissions Guidelines went down well, so here are a few more entertaining ones. These are all markets for short fiction, by the way.

The Canary Press:
Payment: We strongly believe that writers should be paid for their work, especially considering what the Kardashians are paid and the price of alcohol these days.

Not really a submission guideline, but I love this on the same site:

"...join our email list we will never give away your email address or send you spam, except at Christmas time when, if things are going well, we may send you some actual spam...which will last for years in your kitchen cupboard."

Penny Dreadful (Haunted Press)  Yes, even you, as wretched and forlorn as you may well be. We want you to submit to us... (their acceptances are on the snidey side, too!... See my post Finding Acceptances.)

Some zines offer services above and beyond to their authors: Space Squid promises: "...not to give your name to the FBI after we find out what goes on in that freakish head of yours."

Flash Fiction zine, Whiskeypaper is much more charming: "We cannot pay you for your story but we love you the same. And we will respond to your submission as soon as possible. We know how it feels to wait and wait and wait. We will do the best we can. We appreciate your patience and sweetness."  and:  "We dig kindness and light."

But sometimes the years of trauma just leach out into the guidelines of more seasoned publications. You can sense the frustration in this fromDaily Science Fiction: "We do not accept reprints. We do not accept reprints. Also, if you were wondering about reprints--nope, we don't take 'em"


"Don't send us another until we send you a response. You can send us another as soon as we send you a response (either "Yea" or "Nay). After, not before. (If that's confusing, ask Grover at Sesame Street. He's really good at prepositions." 

And finally...Apex Magazine throws down this gauntlet: "If you are rejected, don’t get angry—instead, become more awesome. Write something better, and better, until we have to accept you."

Friday, 2 August 2013

Brought down to size

I was brought back to earth this week after I've been insufferably full of myself lately. I'm interested in other people's views...

I had my first '1 star' review on Amazon. A Mrs E Carlill from Stroud thought I was 'A bit odd'. No shit, Sherlock. The words 'unsettling', 'dark underbelly' and 'shaky ground' appear in my own description of it. Previous reviews use 'quirky' and 'twisted. But Mrs Carlill went for it anyway.

Now, am I alone in thinking that if something is adequately described, well written and  absolutely free it is entirely unreasonable to just give it one star?  What score would she give something that mis-represents itself, is full of typos and causes serious offense? I'm not losing sleep over it: it still averages 4.5 stars and her review is more about her own choices and tastes than my work, but is it fair to be quite so damning?

If something isn't to your taste, do YOU put the boot in or just walk away?