Literary Agents

I claim to be a self-published author after publishing my short-story on Smashwords and Amazon. It was an interesting and time consuming process where I much enjoyed making all the decisions myself. With that said, I have never decided to be a self-publisher. I’ve kept my eyes on traditional and indie publishers as well.

Due to my self-publishing adventure, the encounters with literary agents and publishers have so far been very few. In Sweden, literary agents are still unusual. They are not the inevitable gate-keepers they are in the UK, and I suspect in other parts of the world. Often they act to sell already published work for international rights.

One of the reasons I have not put a lot of effort in to finding a literary agent is that I’m doubting that I am commercial enough to be of interest. Some of the encounters with literary agents has confirmed this, such as being told that it is an advantage if you already have 10,000 followers of twitter (!).

However, one should keep an open mind and I have submitted the beginning of a story to a literary agent, surprised and delighted that my writing was of interest. Part of me is aglow with the positive feedback but the other part is sensibly reminding me that this is only a first step. After a mini celebration dance it’s back to plain old writing again.

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2017 – a writing year

2017 is drawing to a close. It sure has been a turbulent year but for my own part it has been a major milestone that I finally officially published a book.

The start of the year was very much about learning how to self-publish and to work out what was required – getting the book cover sorted, understanding tax requirements, how to format the text correctly etc. In the middle of that I also did a online course in screenwriting, but in May ‘Let me tell you a story…‘ was finally out.

Learning how to publish transcended in to how to market. The book cover became a business card and I tried to do more public readings. I joined yet another writers group, just in case I felt that I didn’t have enough on my plate already.

The autumn was spent mostly editing the Global Fusion Music and Arts anthology ‘From our own perspective.’ It was time consuming, often frustrating but also with a lot of laughs. What a blessing that my co-editor Kate and I so often agreed. However, as I tried to learn more about editing afterwards, perhaps we needed to have had more structure.

Another welcome writing this year has come at the very end when I have started writing articles about mental health. When I studied journalism, years ago, I was always told that I was better at the fictional writing and therefore, perhaps too easily, I discarded the idea of writing articles. However, I truly enjoy writing these pieces.

Liv’s Books and Light are now taking Christmas break. 2018 should bring the publication of ‘From our own perspective‘ and well as a short-story collection which has yet to get an official title. More articles are coming on the subject of mental health and lighting design.

Thank you dear readers for following along this year. I hope you have a relaxing, peaceful and fun Christmas and New Year.

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                          Angel above Regent Street, London

Almost Christmas

Capture

Like most people, at the moment, I’m caught up in Christmas shopping and parties. I’m grateful every year that I don’t have that many people on my list to buy gifts for and we have always, in my family, written Christmas gift lists. It makes shopping so much easier.

Christmas can really be a crazy, hectic time but one thing I really like about the Christmas season is cosying up in the sofa with a book and something warm to drink. It’s a luxury under normal circumstances but, especially in between visiting family and friends, to have some me-time to read.

Where am I going with this? Well, to promote myself. I will be participating in Smashwords end of the year sale. My ebook Let me tell you a story while you sleep will be half price between December 25th and January 1st. Perhaps it’s the perfect Christmas treat for yourself? Short-stories do not require as big a commitment as a novel. The sale is at Smashwords only, not the other retailers.

My next publishing venture will be released in the beginning of next year. From our own perspective will be a paperback anthology where I share space with a few other amazing writers from Global Fusion Music and Arts. I will keep you updated when a fixed release date has been set.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/726968

 

Mental Health and Lighting

What can these two topics possibly have in common you might wonder? I do to, but fact is I’ve started writing articles on the subjects.

It all started with a friend of mine asking, if any one wanted to contribute to the mental health magazine she is the editor for. I like writing and I have trained as a journalist (even if I tend to play that down a bit) so I thought I would. I now have an article published about the mental health benefits of singing in a choir. It’s very effective to fight off depressions and anxiety in case you’d like to know. There is another article coming up about how sugar increases the risk of depressions.

I’m now in the process of writing an article about a lighting design project in Finland for an online lighting magazine. There is good hope that if the article turns out well I can continue contributing to the magazine.

It’s strange, with fictional writing I rarely question my ability to write. I might question if enough people will like my stories so that it is possible to make a career out of it but I know the stories will keep coming. It’s who I am. With journalistic writing, I tend to feel more fake. I keep thinking that I’ll keep going until I run out of ideas. I guess with journalism I feel it has to be timely. With fiction, a good story is always a good story.

If anyone wants to check out the mental health article, here’s a link, page 20-21 but do read the rest as well:

Friends’ Books

I usually write reviews for the books I read, or I call them reviews but really they are just my thoughts. I’ve just finished reading a book but I can’t review it really…because it’s not published yet. One of the joys of being in writers’ groups are that you get to read your friends’ not yet published work.

I really love this part of my reading/writing world. We have an exceptionally high quality of writing within Greenwich Writers. Mostly, we read extracts of each other’s work, and critique and correct grammar as we go along. Sometimes I find this annoying because I’d like to spend more time going through the text before we actually meet up. You want some really meaty, thoughtful comments to contribute with.

Occasionally, someone wants help to look at the completed, full script. It has its own challenges, to try to read and critique along side your normal full-time job and of course writing on your own stories. But I offer to do this as often as I can, as it’s a delight to get to follow a complete story and try to imagine how the story can be even stronger. I like seeing people grow as well. I have read several different extract before from the same writer but with this story it seems everything has fallen into place.

Writing can be a very solitary job but writers’ groups are one place when you get to connect with like-minded, and get to delight in the variety of story-telling and the craft of it all.

The Celestine Prophecy

I was recommended by my kinesiologist to read the Celestine Prophecy written by James Redfield. I suppose I have been on some kind of spiritual journey since moving to London and therefore these kind of experiences keep poping up in my life.

The Celestine Prophecy is a bit of an odd one. Actually, it should be right up my alley, but we’ll come to that in a moment. One reason why it’s weird is because it’s a fictional book written with a clear intention of being perceived as a biography, at least as far as the subject matter goes.

A man, a bit stuck with his life and on a quest for a deeper understanding of life, ends up on a highly adventurous journey in Peru, where he looks for and learns the 9 insights from an ancient manuscript. The book is built to illustrate how these insights work on a practical and individual level as well as explain what the 9 insights are.

This book was very engaging to read and I found most of these insights both believable and thought-provoking but the book also irritated me. Every time I put the book down I found it very hard to pick it up again. One of the reasons it irritated me was that the main character picks up these insights so effortlessly. He came across one, read about it or was told about it, and almost instantly he understood and could apply it. Anyone who’s been on a journey of discovery knows it rarely works like that in real life. You struggle, you take one step forward and seem to backtrack two, you struggle to understand.

Still, if these kind of spiritual themes and journeys interest you, I would recommend that you read The Celestine Prophecy. There are certainly things to learn from these insights, and like any good spiritual book, it will aid you in looking at your own life in a constructively, critical way.

 

Celestine prophecy

All Saint’s Day

Today we commemorate All Saints’ Day in Sweden. It is a day of remembrance when you visit the churchyards and tend the graves, most importantly, you light candles.

Tonight, churchyards all over the country will glimmer with the lights of tiny candles in the otherwise blue-bordering-on-black evening.

I want to share a poem with you that I wrote last year inspired by this tradition.

 

All Saint’s Day

I light a candle
for those I miss,
those who’s no longer
a part of my life,
only present in memories
whether living or deceased.

I light a candle
for the things I miss,
those fragile dreams
I had as a child,
the feeling of being safe;
the lack of fear for the future.

I light a candle
for my fellow humans,
our lives so precious,
our lives so short.
Life should be beautiful
yet we struggle so…