Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Welcome to the SilverWood Books Blog Hop!
A few of our authors have come together to share a variety of articles and items of interest on their blogs for your enjoyment. There are some lovely giveaway prizes, and – to stay in keeping with the Spring and rebirth theme at this time of year – some colourful Easter eggs. Feel free to collect the eggs, and use them where you like. They were drawn by SilverWood author Peter St John who writes the ‘Gang’ series about a boy who was evacuated to a village near Ipswich during WWII. Meet Peter and his characters on the Blog Hop, along with a host of eggcellent SilverWood authors. ;-) Have fun!
Helen Hart
Publishing Director, SilverWood Books
www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk

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PID-PADDING THE SELF-PUBLISHED PATHWAY....

The release of our latest Matlock the Hare book The Riddle of Trefflepugga Path  by the good and crumlushed folk of SilverWood Books has been a fairly momentous occasion for my wife Jacqui (saztaculously talented Matlock creator and illustrator) and my far more grizzled self.

Having pid-padded both 'sides' of the publishing fence, so to speak, with my first few novels being 'conventionally' published by one of the largest houses, and subsequently deciding to self-publish Trefflepugga Path - the process has given me the chance to weigh up the pros and cons of each approach - which perhaps might be useful to share with your good and saztaculous selves...based solely on my experiences with a 'paw' in both camps, however...
THE 'QUALITY' ARGUMENT.

Critics have long accused self-published books of lacking the quality of their conventionally published counterparts - both in content, and in overall feel.  Perhaps, 10 years ago this might have been true, however with the advances in Print on Demand printing technology, spotting any so-called 'differences' between self-published and conventionally published tomes these days is a peffa-tough business.  Trefflepugga Path, running at 396 pages, including dozens of black and white illustrations, arrived from SilverWood and the printers looking as good (if not better, in our humble opinion) than any coventionally published book put out by the large houses.  The paperstock was shindinculous, it felt weighty and simply begging to be opened and read. We couldn't have been happier.  And with the ability to be able to work closely with SilverWood during its design, and to retain overall editorial control was a truly liberating and welcoming experience.

Prior to this, I have frequently dreaded an editor telling me that the cover 'looks gorgeous, darling' knowing full well it would have most likely have been ripped from a catalogue of stock-shots, then colour-tinted.  There is little worse, sometimes, than finally seeing your cherished work arriving from the publishers, only to see the worst possible cover for it.  It happened too many times before - but not at SilverWood - who listened to our requests and suggestions, and acted on them accordingly.  To say we were pleased, is very much an understatement...







EDITORIAL CONTROL...

Way back - perhaps too far back - in the early 1990's, I managed to catch myself a 'lucky' break by coming to the attention of a prominent crime-writing agent, via a few short-stories I written for various magazines and anthologies.

Excited (and saztaculously naive, of course) I took along my magnum-opus to date, some 450 pages of what I considered to be award-winning prose, to be told that although she would sign me, now was the time for me to go away and write a 'proper' crime novel.  Further, I had about three to six months to do it, and they would then consider submitting it to a leading editor of the genre.

I wrote the first version in three months - they looked at it, made changes, I re-drafted, they made more changes, I re-drafted again.  It finally went before a commissioning editor.  They focussed grouped it with a readers panel, who suggested (or insisted!) on more changes - a male character would now be female, etc - until come publication 2 years later - the 'book' resembled as much of my original thoughts as I resembled a fully competent author.

But I learnt from this, rapidly realising to write to a 'brief' (my previous experience as a copy-writer helped) and not to get at all precious about your work.  Those mid-listers like myself who did kick up a fuss were fairly quickly dropped by the house.

So there I was, languishing in psychological thrillers, teaching, mid-listing, going to occasional dreadful readings my publicist had somehow decided were 'appropriate' for me  (too many too mention, but some hilarious ones in there, believe me) - when up popped Matlock the Hare, from this very first miniature watercolour Jacqui painted two years ago...


A series of handmade books and collectable artworks  followed, as demand grew from folk keen to know more about Matlock's world, and his adventures - and we began seriously working at producing a full-length novel (the first in a planned trilogy) after trips into local schools convinced us he was somehow just as appealing to younger readers, as he was to our older, established followers.  People, we always knew, simply love to be immersed in a magical world, where anything can happen, and most probably will...

Inevitably, my genre-specific agent, used to hard-boiled crime thrillers, admitted she wouldn't be keen to push the book - allowing us to self-publish via SilverWood, by-passing the long, arduous, and often rather depressing world of editors, sub-editors, agents and the like.

And as someone who has pid-padded both sides of the path - I'm hoping you might gather which side I much prefer...

Have yourselves the most saztaculous Easter - and may all your pid-pads be shindinculous and crumlush ones...

The Riddle of Trefflepugga Path is available to buy this sun-turn...

Click Here to order your copy...

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And there are a host of other exciting and interesting articles – pid-pad or hop forward to the next SilverWood Author for more peffa-sindinculously interesting articles, some colourful Easter eggs to collect, and a saztaculous snutch of  Giveaway Prizes, too...

  1. Helen Hollick :  Let us talk of many things - Fictional Reality.
  2. Alison Morton : Roma Nova - How the Romans Celebrated Spring
  3. Anna Belfrage : Step inside...   - Is freezing in a garret a prerequisite? 
  4. Edward Hancox : Iceland Defrosted - Seaweed and cocoa
  5. Lucienne Boyce : Lucienne Boyce' Blog - The Female Writer’s Apology
  6. Matlock the Hare :  Matlock the Hare Blog -  Pid-padding the self-published Pathway...
  7. Michael Wills :  Michael Wills - A Doomed Army
  8. Isabel Burt : Friday Fruitfulness  -  Flees for the Easter Hop...
  9. John Rigg : An Ordinary Spectator - Television Lines
  10. Debbie Young : Young by Nature The Alchemy of Chocolate
  11. Peter St John : Jenno's Blog -  My Village
  12. Caz Greenham : Caz's Devon Blog Diary  - Springtime and Hanging Baskets!
  13. Helen Hart : SilverWood Books Ltd

  1. Helen Hollick :  Let us Talk of Many Things  - Fictional Reality.
  2. Alison Morton : Roma Nova - How the Romans Celebrated Spring
  3. Anna Belfrage : Step inside...   - Is freezing in a garret a prerequisite? 
  4. Edward Hancox : Iceland Defrosted - Seaweed and cocoa
  5. Lucienne Boyce : Lucienne Boyce' Blog - The Female Writer’s Apology
  6. Matlock the Hare :  Matlock the Hare Blog -  Pid-padding the self-published Pathway...
  7. Michael Wills :  Michael Wills - A Doomed Army
  8. Isabel Burt : Friday Fruitfulness  -  Flees for the Easter Hop...
  9. John Rigg : An Ordinary Spectator - Television Lines
  10. Debbie Young : Young By Nature - The Alchemy of Chocolate
  11. Peter St John : Jenno's Blog -  My Village
  12. Caz Greenham : Caz's blog Spot - title to be decided
  13. Helen Hart : SilverWood Books Ltd
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13 comments :

  1. Wonderful post. Do you still have your magnum-opus of award-winning prose? I also like your cover art on your book. Who is the artist? As for "worst possible cover" as a book reviewer I have seen some really bad ones too! Shame when a cover takes away from a great book.

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  2. Crumlushed thanks, Ginger! No - the magnum opus bit life's literary dust many moon-turns ago - which was probably the best possible thing ... The artist of all Matlock's books is my good wife - Jacqui Lovesey, who brings the magic of Winchett Dale into every brushstroke... Great to chat to a 'friendly' reviewer - would love to send you a PDF of the book, perhaps...?

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    1. Oh What a honor! That would please me so!

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    2. Saztaculous! Have just folowed you on Twitter, perhaps if you DM me your email and I could send it to you...

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  3. What a lovely cover on "Matlock the Hare". And an interesting and honest insight into trad and self publishing, thanks!

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    1. So glad you like the cover..they're sometimes the most difficult to paint...

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  4. A tour de force! And I think the drawings are superb.

    We are in the middle of such a changing time in publishing; nothing stands still for longer than two or three months.

    Happy pid-padding!

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    1. Indeed, good Alison, and long may it pid-pad that way - may al yours be crumlush....

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  5. Pidpadpiddle-- in Widdlin'ton we call it "widdle", cripes, don't PStJ unnerstan' wot yew're on about. That's why Oi allus say: 'ooray fer SilverWood...!

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  6. An elegant analysis of an industry on the cusp of an entirely new (and hopefully brave) world. Gorgeous cover.

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  7. Shindinculous thanks, good Annabel...may all our pid-pads into the peffa-brave new world be saztaculous for us all....

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  8. What an exciting age we live in, having the choice to talk the self-publishing route, especially when it is made so much easier (and the quality assured) by using the tried-and-trusted service provider, SilverWood. I just love your illustrations, and have just done a "look inside" of your book on Amazon, and the book looks stunning. I wonder whether Matlock the Hare will ever venture into a wood named SilverWood? It would be an alluringly magical name for a forest, don't you think?!

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  9. A very entertaining read and an excellent recommendation for taking the self publishing route. Super illustrations.

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