INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


ON THE COVER January, 2008


IN Advertising

From The Docks To The Commons
Let truth be told
By  Rowdy Rhodes and Julie A. Pierce

Sam Smith, at age 60, with his new bus pass in hand, still knocks out written works including novels, nonfiction, poetry. A man of almost all genres, he helps define and then re-define his own areas of expertise, continuing to excel at his craft.

His usual authors' blurb includes Editor of The Journal (once of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry), publisher of Original Plus books, and Poetry Editor of The Select Six (BeWrite Books). But there is much more to this man and his writing than first seen at a glance.

Born in Blackpool, UK in 1946, he now lives in Maryport, Cumbria, "Near the Lakes, by the Sea," UK as a freelance writer, author, editor, and publisher. He has been a psychiatric nurse, residential social worker, milkman, plumber, laboratory analyst, grounds man, sailor, computer operator, scaffolder, gardener, painter and decorator, working at anything to pay the rent. He has also taken good care of his family. None of these obligations have gotten in the way of his writing.

His novel Sister Blister was one of the first published on the Internet by Online Originals, and was one of the first to be entered for the then Booker Prize. However it wasn't shortlisted because it had to be read on a computer monitor.

That was no setback for Sam. He continued on, as a natural-born philosopher would, building his own website that he still uses today. This man of many talents and unrelenting tenacity humbly considers himself "the perennially broke poet, novelist, publisher, editor."

Let's cross the pond to England and see what this man has to say for himself.

Order this book from Amazon!
IN: How and why did you begin a writing career?

SS: As a schoolboy I enjoyed the writing assignments. But I was classed – in class-conscious England – as a naughty boy. So, when for one assignment I handed in a poem, the master said that he would have included it in the school magazine had he been able to believe that a yob like me could have written it. In my pretentious grammar school, they wore gowns and mortar boards. I'd passed the eleven plus exam to get into the school.

Becoming a writer had not then seemed a natural career choice ... until I drifted into London after leaving the Merchant Navy. There I found myself living in Chelsea, making friends with painters, actors, musicians, and the like.

Having fought my way out of all other career expectations, feeling that I didn't fit anywhere, I found myself at ease in their classless company. I'd read many of the same books, been to the same art galleries, rated the same films, yet ... I wasn't quite equal in that I had no creative leanings.

This was sixties London and I had also got into the early drug scene. To get myself off it, I took myself to Devon, got a summer job as an engineer on a pleasure boat going back and forth across Torbay; I got myself clean. A girlfriend leant me Henry Miller's Smile At The Foot Of The Ladder. Sitting on a rock above the sea I read it cover-to-cover, and decided there and then that if I could write something as honest and true, and move someone as Henry Miller had - across space and time - moved me, then my whole life would have been worthwhile.

IN: You decided in 1969 to become a writer, and it wasn't until 1991 that you first became published. What writing roadblocks and problems did you have to overcome?

SS: Being in England, with quite a few rejections, I suspect class. Still do. Following all good writing advice and precedents, I try to write of what I know. What I know is of a life distinctly different to that of the college graduates who end up in the industry publishing and as reviewers in the national newspapers.

Of course my first three novels – written straight off within one year – were rightly rejected out of hand. I took a deep breath, looked at what I'd done, and realised that I needed to take more time and especially more care. I had a new addiction. Draft upon draft. So began my 21 year career of interested publishers and agents. My novels would pass the three reader tests with full marks, and then fail each time they reached the salespeople. What genre did they fit? How could they be sold? And that ultimate rejection happened about once a year.

Then one novel, Constant Change, kept coming back by return post and I couldn't understand why. I was living in the West Country by then, and the local Arts Council was offering a free manuscript assessment service. So I sent them Constant Change. Next thing I heard, they were considering publishing it. They had used the assessment service as a cover to look for books on which to set up a West Country publishing house. Out of 2,500 manuscripts received, mine and one other were to be their launch pad.

All went well. Publishers and editors were calling on me, and my book even getting passed around the House of Commons. And then the '87 crash came along and their backer lost all his venture capital.

At that point, to stave off suicidal depression, I knew that I had to have some work in print and that work would not, because of the expenses then involved, be a novel. So I switched to poetry. Within a year I had poems included in several magazines, and my poems were read on national radio. Two years later, I had my first full collection published.

Order this book from Amazon!
IN: Considering that you write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry you must have three different methods of writing. What approaches or methods do you use when writing?

SS: I don't have different methods. It's the basic discipline of draft upon draft and of making any piece of interest to the reader, and of making the prospective reader want to read it. Of course with nonfiction one has to be as certain of one's facts as one can be. Although, the same applies to historical novels and, indeed, to any factual reference within any written work.

With poems, I tend to read them aloud a few times as well, solely for the rhythm. But then I often do that for prose as well – to make sure the poor reader doesn't have to take a mental breath in the middle of a long sentence.

IN: As an editor, you have seen and worked the submissions side of the desk. What are the most common mistakes that new writers make when dealing with editors and submissions?

SS: Telling the editor how very good the submitted work is – most editors will instantly find reasons to disagree. Telling the editor how a piece of work should be read, or explaining the history behind the piece. The submitted work should be self-contained – all explanations inferred or implied within.

And a big no-no is telling the publisher how you are going to make his/her fortune, thus demonstrating your naivety regarding the publishing world.

The biggest mistake though is in not following that publisher's submissions criteria. If they say no email or no multiple submissions, then don't. If they say only six poems, don't send more. If they ask for a brief biography, keep it brief. Better too little at that stage than too much. And if they ask for SAE and/or IRCs, include them. And a heartfelt plea to all US submitters – the rest of the world does not use US postage stamps or US currency. This is the most common complaint among European editors about US writers.

IN: As both a publisher and an editor, how do you determine what is worthwhile to publish and what isn't when submissions arrive?

SS: Providing they haven't already got my back up with an arrogant submission, then it is simply if the work interests me. Does the work succeeds in what it has set out to do? If it's supposed to be funny, did it make me at least smile? Spelling and punctuation can always be corrected, so I try to see what the author was attempting to say. Does it intrigue? If descriptive, is it recognisable? And finally, if I include it in the magazine, or take on the book, will I be proud to have published it?

IN: What do you see as today's greatest challenges new writers must face on the road to success?

SS: Define success. If by success you mean becoming a bestselling author then that is reserved for less than 0.005% of published writers. And that will be for those books that will bulk sell, after hefty advertising, in multiple retail outlets. The day of the midlist author making a steady living from sales to libraries are long gone. The days of the retail bookshop are also numbered. The future for most authors is in Internet publishing – probably POD – where the only High Street bookshops will be second-hand bookshops, passed-on PODs being sold there. Authors will not make enough from primary sales to live on. Even the bestselling authors are unlikely to achieve a regular income. Most bestsellers are likely to be film and DVD tie-ins, one-offs.

But, if by success you mean artistic success, and by artistic success I mean gaining an audience, a following, a readership, then the first step to that should be easier. Start-up costs for a publisher are now considerably reduced; and, as most artists have to have day-jobs, so too will the new publishers. Satisfaction for these new publishers will come from having selected and promoted writers of their choice. While success for the writer will be in having someone, unknown to them, reading and – one hopes – being moved by their work.

Order this book today!
IN: Do you think it advantageous for a writer to be part of a union or guild?

SS: Most definitely. I'm a member of the Society of Authors, the John Clare Society, and the Anglo-Welsh Poetry Society. From all three I often pick up ideas, contacts, and learn of opportunities.

IN: What advice do you offer writers about the merits or pitfalls of taking writing classes and attending writing conferences and seminars?

SS: I've been talked into giving writing classes, which weren't a success. Not by my estimate leastways. What I have preferred doing is giving estimates of finished, or part-finished, works. That, according to those whose works I have criticised, has been considered a success. But I've never attended a writing conference or seminar. The fees have usually been prohibitive – at least on my day-job incomes. Although, some of my middle-class writing friends who regularly attend such affairs find them most useful. I can say no more than that.

IN: Have you learned, either through your own experience or through the grapevine, any fundamental differences between being published in the UK and being published somewhere else such as Europe or North America?

SS: Between the UK and the US, I don't think there's any fundamental difference. Apart that is from the necessary point-scoring for American academics in being published. If one isn't au fait with who publishes what, one can waste an awful lot of time approaching unsuitable publishers in the US. While in mainland Europe the fundamental difference is that of being published in other languages and all the problems arising from there.

IN: As already mentioned, Sister Blister was one of the first novels published on the Internet and having your own website is obviously important to you. What is the best thing to ever happen to you by having a website?

SS: Do you know, I can't think of one. It's just necessary nowadays to have a web presence, so people can find you.

IN: What keeps you motivated and directed to write in the three genres you've chosen?

SS: Anger. In our daily lives we are told so many lies and deceits, which can lead to wars or just simply ruin the lives of the credulous. I want to tell the truth – if only to one other.

IN: Last, but certainly not least, what's next for you?

SS: I've been talking to BeWrite Books about publishing a five-book SciFi series called The unMaking Of Heaven. Skrev Press have taken an option on my next poetry collection, An Atheist's Alphabetical Approach To Death, and that's supposed to be coming out in 2008. I have a historical novel, The Friendship Of Dagda And Tinker Howth, with a literary agent at the moment. I'm writing the first draft of a sort of detective novel provisionally titled Something's Wrong; and I'm slowly building another poetry collection provisionally titled Scenes From A Country Life. The Journal is about to pass its combined 30th issue, and I've figured out a way of reviving Original Plus's fortunes. I'm also bringing up to scratch two poetry collections – by Carol Thistlethwaite and Ben Stainton – that came through the Select Six website. Oh yes, and I'm currently serialising week-by-week an old SciFi book of mine, John John, on blogspot.

Bibliography

Poetry
To Be Like John Clare University of Salzburg Press 1997 ISBN 3-7052-0066-6
Skin&Bones Odyssey Poets 1997 ISBN 1-897654-03-0
Dialogues Silver Gull Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-9527668-3-3
John the Explorer Gecko Press 1999 ISBN 0-9535844-0-2
pieces K.T.Publications 2001 ISBN 0-9077594-3-2
the complete pieces BeWrite e-book 2007 ISBN 978-1-905202-52-2
Rooms Oasis broadsheet 2002 ISBN 1-900996-27-8
apostrophe combe boho press 2003 ISBN 1-904781-02-0
Problems & Polemics boho press 2004 ISBN 1-904781-09-8
Rooms & Dialogues boho press 2005 ISBN 1-904781-66-7

Novels
Sister Blister Online Originals 1999 ISBN 1-84045-047-9
The End of Science Fiction Jacobyte Books 2000 ISBN 1-740530-28-4
Paths of Error: Undeclared War Jacobyte Books 2001 ISBN 1-740530-73-X
Paths of Error: Constant Change Jacobyte Books 2001 ISBN 1-740530-78-0
Paths of Error: As Recorded Jacobyte Books 2002 ISBN 1-740530-96-9
Marks BeWrite Books 2002 ISBN 1-904224-02-4
Porlock Counterpoint BeWrite Books 2002 ISBN 1-904224-15-6
The Care Vortex BeWrite Books 2002 ISBN 1-904224-98-9
Sick Ape: an everyday tale of terrorist folk BeWrite Books 2003 ISBN 1-904492-15-0
The End of Science Fiction BeWrite Books 2004 ISBN 1-904492-70-3
The Secret Report of Friar Otto boho press 2006 ISBN 1-904781-97-7
We Need Madmen Skrev Press 2007 ISBN 978-1-904646-45-7

Nonfiction
Vera & Eddys War BeWrite Books 2002 ISBN 1-904224-97-0

Original Plus Titles
Andetsteds Don Ammons ISBN 0-9533591-0-7
Other Moments I R G Bishop ISBN 0-9533591-2-3
Other Moments II R G Bishop ISBN 978-0-9546-80-1
Other Places Idris Caffrey ISBN 0-9533591-1-5
Eeeny Minnie Molly Richard Wonnacott ISBN 0-9533591-3-1
Forgeries James Turner ISBN 0-953359-14-X
Bags of Mostly Water Sandra Tappenden ISBN 0-953359-15-8
Underland Paul Davidson ISBN 0-953359-16-6
Broadsheet Asphyxia Paul Sutton ISBN 0-953359-17-4
Carmen at the Fountain Albert Rowe ISBN 0-953359-18-2
Cuatro Poetas (transl. Machado, Neruda, Lorca & Guillen) Albert Rowe ISBN 0-954680-10-3
Yellow Torchlight and the Blues Emma Lee ISBN 0-953359-19-0
The Light Forecast Paul Lee ISBN 0-953359-16-6
Days of Fire and Flood Chrissy Banks ISBN 0-9546801-2-X

Read Sam Smith's excerpt from The Care Vortex.
IN Icon


Rowdy Rhodes is the Site Manager of The Freelance Writing Organization International and General Manager of Inkwell Newswatch (IN). He is also known to freelance an article or two when the fancy strikes him. If you are looking for written content for your website, ezine, or print publication, drop him a line at rowdyrhodes@fwointl.com. He'll get back to you as soon as possible.
 

Julie A. Pierce
Managing Editor
Inkwell Newswatch (
IN)
japierce@fwointl.com 


Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

ON THE COVER
IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."