A Writer's Diary Sam Smith Mystery Series

A Writer’s Diary #2


The editing of Family Honour is underway. I love every aspect of writing apart from the self-promotional aspects and the editing. I have experimented with various methods of editing and almost all lead to aggravation. I think this is because I write in a stream of consciousness style, basically my narrator, Sam, does the writing. Then I come along and try to impose my ideas in the editing and my narrator objects. That might sound strange, but it is true. I write very fast and edit very slow. I would guess that 95% of my manuscripts, if not more, remain as written. Yet that extra 5% of polishing the words can be so vexatious. Maybe writing offers freedom of expression while editing brings the realisation that your words have to make sense. I believe Raymond Chandler said, ‘I write better when I write fast’. And I agree with him. I have also discovered that I edit better when I edit fast and, for me, this is the best method. Fast or slow, the manuscript usually turns out the same.

I am also storyboarding Sins of the Father. Storyboarding is fun because you are getting to know your characters and because you are allowed to make mistakes. I love it when the characters take control of the story and develop it for themselves. When the characters are in control of a chapter I know that it is working well. And when the characters are in control there is no such thing as writers’ block. On the rare occasions I feel stuck, I question the character and the character always comes back with an answer.

Meanwhile, the recording of The Big Chill, the third Sam Smith audio book will start shortly. More news of that next time.

Happy Writing,

Hannah xxx

A Writer's Diary Sam Smith Mystery Series

A Writer’s Diary #1


The writing of Family Honour, book seven in the Sam Smith Mystery Series, is complete. Over the next two weeks I hope to edit the manuscript and prepare it for the proofreader. Then the book should be on sale in May as an eBook and in June in print. An audio book should follow somewhere down the line.

Meanwhile, I have been storyboarding Sins of the Father, book eight. I storyboard all the stories in detail and find that helps greatly with the writing. I am halfway through the storyboard with firm ideas for the second half. I create character profiles before the storyboarding and the ideas flow from them.

As with all writers, getting readers to believe in you is the hardest part. It seems that readers are only attracted to hyped books these days. Personally, I dislike that aspect of the business and try to avoid it, in my reading and writing. I am fortunate in that I have a core following who have loyally read my books from book one. These readers mean a lot to me and if any of you are reading this then please accept my sincere thanks for your support.


Adventures in Publishing

shutterstock_765166722-e1413967786800My Books are published by Goylake Publishing, an independent publisher, and I am grateful for that. I am grateful because Goylake offer me free rein to write about the subjects that interest me, to a length that suits the story and because they do not interfere in the creative process. I am free to write, to follow my muse, and that is very liberating.

Of course, as well as supporting creative talent, Goylake Publishing is also in the business of running a successful business, and this part of the publishing process has been an eye-opener for me. As a starting point you would think that author and publisher would want to sell as many books as possible through the large, well-known Internet and store outlets. WRONG! I say that because these outlets take around 55 – 60% of the cover price, leaving the author and independent publisher with pennies. Every time someone buys one of my books from a large international website, for which I’m grateful, that international company makes a profit, Goylake doesn’t, and neither do I. Independent outlets, websites like this one and a loyal fan base are the routes to our success.

When I approached a well-known and well-established publisher with an early manuscript I was delighted when they said ‘yes’ they would publish. However, there was a catch..they wanted me to pay them £5,000 (!) Naturally, I withdrew my manuscript and declined their offer. No one should pay that sort of money to any publisher, no matter what their reputation. Books do cost money to produce, but not £5,000 from the author’s purse.

As many people have pointed out, modern big business publishing is all about the ‘bestseller’ regardless of the book’s content or literary merit. If someone has a marketable name, they will be published, whether they have an interesting story to tell, or not. These books are promoted relentlessly at the expense of many other, often far more interesting, books. From a financial point of view, this is easy to understand – it is far simpler to promote one book and sell ten copies than promote ten books selling a copy apiece. The relentless marketing of ‘bestsellers’ means that people will buy them, often as fashion accessories – the latest bestseller is a ‘must have’ item, even if the book sits, unread, on a bookshelf.

So, whenever you get the opportunity, please support the independent author and publisher. Quite often, these people have far more interesting things to say than the mainstream #!¥¡@ that is pushed our way. A good book, when you find one, is priceless, like a good friend. And friendship, like anything rewarding, takes effort. So why not make that extra effort and, instead of following the crowd, follow your instincts and search out a good, independent, book. You, and the author, will be rewarded.