Category Archives: Writers Advice

Today I am a Forensic Scientist…

This week, I decided to do something a little different.

It started off quite normally.

Last week, for various reasons ranging from curiosity to boredom, I started to conduct research into modern day forensic science methods. Having studied archaeology at university, I was hoping to find a cheap course to do on the subject – figuring that the two subjects would not be all that different.

What I found has completely thrown my week upside down.

I stumbled across a website called FutureLearn – a company owned by The Open University that provides free courses in conjunction with universities around the world on a variety of different subjects. One of these was an introduction to forensic science.

So I figured – why not give it a try? What do I have to lose?

And you know what? It was possibly the best decision I could have made.

The course operates on three levels:

In the first instance, as the title of the course suggests, it provides a brief overview of forensic science and how it is utilised in modern crime scene investigation. Now admittedly I am already fairly knowledgeable when it comes to the basics – you would hope that from a crime writer – but still there were some interesting nuggets of information in the first week of the course that I was not aware of. So – already – the course has improved my knowledge that little bit.

Secondly, the course also makes use of a hypothetical-practical exercise throughout its six-week duration. From the off, you are presented with a crime scene that purports to be a robbery gone wrong and you are given some of the evidence to ponder over. I suppose that you will get more and more evidence each week until you are required to provide your solution to the crime. This element of practically is brilliant because it allows you to enjoy the role of being a crime scene investigator whilst you learn – effectively putting all the skills you are developing into practice as the weeks go by.

But the third level – this is the one that has me most inspired – is by far the best bit of the course. Future Learn courses are designed with discussion in mind and – even though you are working in isolation – each module of the course allows for the participants to discuss their views and ideas at every step of the way.

As a writer, it has been fascinating to see how different people approach the problem. Some take the witness statements at their word and work from there. Some have read so many crime stories that they started work on the premise that a key witness was lying because that is what happens in crime fiction. And others have systematically gone through every scrap of evidence and tried to build the picture – regardless of whether this agrees or disagrees with the witness statements. It is also amazing to see how individuals alter their theories on the crime over the course of as little as a few minutes. Even though you can’t physically see them, you can practically feel their excitement leaping off the screen at you.

Anyway, my point is, if you want to learn a bit about forensic science for free, check out this online course. I’ve been doing it for all of twenty-four hours and – even when it is covering ground that I am already well aware of – I’m having a whale of a time!

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Sneaky Snippets 21/9/16

Ali wants to be a writer. Like most writers he knows that he not only has a book in him; he has a library. His imagination is teaming with great stories that he can’t wait to unleash on the world…

So he settles down and starts writing his story. It’s a novel with dragons and sword fights and damsels in distress. Whenever anyone asks him about it, he talks with enthusiasm and his friends respond by saying they’ll read it when he’s finished.

Ali makes good progress to start with. He writes a chapter a day – three to four thousand words in a matter of hours. Every day – without fail – after he gets home from work.

Pretty soon he is half way through. But then Ali starts to have a problem. He doesn’t know where he needs to go from here. His story sounds a little like that book he read a few months ago and, even though he knows he hasn’t copied it, he’s worried that people will say he has.

A little more cautiously now, he carries on – growing more and more concerned and unsure of himself with each chapter.

He stops talking about it to his friends – instead he talks about new ideas that he’s had that are much better than the novel he’s writing at the moment.

Eventually, he gives up writing the novel and starts on the new one instead. This one is much better. It’s about a spy fleeing a corrupt country with half the army on his tail. He ploughs through the first few chapters but something still isn’t right.

Soon he gives up this story for another one.

And then another one.

Until finally, Ali stops writing altogether. Instead he can be found lounging in front of his computer watching cat videos on Facebook. Or out in the pub drinking with his friends and making fun of guys in the street who are enthusiastically talking about the book they’re writing.

Pretty soon, Ali’s friends realise what they thought they knew all along.

Ali is never going to be a writer.

From Defeating Writer’s Block – ©Nick R B Tingley 2016

Sneaky Snippets is a weekly segment of short extracts of my work – usually something I’ve been working on in the past week or so.

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Literary Agents: Top Tips – Part 2

Yesterday I posted Part 1 of my top tips for submitting to literary agents. In that post, I talked about preparing your work – particularly your covering letter and manuscript. If you missed out on that one, you can find it here.

Today, I’m going into the organisation bit.

As I said yesterday, approaching an agent requires a plan and these tips will help you get organised so that you can put your best foot forward.

So, continuing from where we left off…

4. Scope out your targets and do your research

You will never find the right home for manuscript if you don’t check out the list of agents. Will you be able to shoot a target if you’re not looking at it? Probably not. So you need to know what is out there and find what is best for you.

There are different agencies that handle different genre of books. Some are purely children’s literature, some are only literary fiction – some are even just non-fiction. Make sure you only select the agencies that want to see your genre of work. There is no point sending a crime thriller to an agency that only deals with children’s fiction – you’re just wasting everyone’s time there.

There are numerous lists (both paid and free) that you can use to give you a start, but it’s advisable to do your own leg work. Many of these lists are out of date or contain names of agents that no longer work there so check them out yourselves. The last thing you want to do is ruin your chances by sending work to an agent who doesn’t exist anymore…

Which brings me to the most important part of this tip: check out the individual agents in an agency and find one who you think your work is most suited to. Agents like it when it looks like you’ve done your own research – remember what I said about first impressions? Addressing a covering letter to the agent who is after the sort of thing you’ve written will go a long way to getting them to like you – and liking you might just be what swings it in your favour if push comes to shove. And make sure that the agent is accepting new clients – you can usually find out if they’re not accepting new clients on their information page. Don’t waste your time by submitting to an already overworked agent, no matter how much you think they’ll love your story – you won’t get anywhere.

When you find the agencies and agents that you think will appreciate your work, check out their submission guidelines – all agencies have them and they are there for a reason. Don’t take it for granted that they will want three sample chapters, a synopsis and a covering letter. Some agencies are very specific about what they want and may well base a decision on as little as 5,000 words so make sure you note down what they want.

You want to make a good first impression and – unfortunately – ignoring the details is a common error, so they probably won’t even remember you if you screw that bit up…

5. Create a submission strategy

It is not a wise idea to submit your work to every agent that fills your criteria – it is certainly not a good idea to submit to two different agents within the same agency. If one agent thinks another in the same office will appreciate your work, they will hand it on themselves – you don’t need to do it for them. Although agents are realists and understand that you don’t want to put all your eggs in the same basket, they don’t want to feel like they are one of hundreds that you’ve submitted to at any given time so definitely don’t send out any mass emails to more than one agency.

You need to prioritise – work out which agents you’d like to submit to first and then work your way slowly through the list. And for that, you need a submission strategy.

Different writers do this in different ways – ultimately it’s down to you. I like to take all the information I gathered from step four and put it all into a worksheet – that way I colour code it based on what information is important to me and can very quickly see who I’ve submitted to and who I haven’t. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you have a way of quickly seeing what your next step is.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 09.32.10Most writing sites recommend submitting to no more than three agencies at a time and I have to say I agree. That way, if you are faced with the terrifying prospect of a rejection from an agent, you still have two more in play, which will help keep your morale up. Rank the agencies you like most and start at the top, work your way down and submit to a new agent every time you receive a rejection.

Unless an agency offers to read the rest of your manuscript, stick to this plan. If you receive ten or twelve rejections, there may be something wrong with your manuscript, covering letter or synopsis. True, there may be something wrong with your story altogether, but the best way to find out is to go back, tweak those submission materials and start submitting again.

No matter how downhearted and demoralised you might get, stick to the plan.

Which leads me nicely on to…

6. Accept Rejection

Before you ever send your submission material off, accept one thing. There will be people out there who won’t like your work – and that includes agents.

It doesn’t matter if your work is the most brilliant masterpiece, if the agent doesn’t feel it they won’t want to read the rest. Look at it this way, I didn’t particularly enjoy The War of the Worlds and that is considered a classic piece of science-fiction.

The long and the short of it is that you could have handpicked a particular agent for your work and still misunderstood what they were after. Whether we like it or not, there are any number of things that could be wrong with your submission: the agent might not like your personality in the covering letter, they aren’t a fan or your writing style, they can’t think of a publisher who would want your story, they have someone on their books who is very similar to you already, they were having a bad day when they read it, they might disagree with your thematic approach, the main character may remind them of someone they really don’t like…

The list is endless. But it’s not all about the agent: You may have a typo in your first sentence, you might have accidentally left in a sentence that doesn’t make sense, a character might randomly change name in the middle of your opening chapter, you might have compared your story to a book that isn’t particularly good…

All these things are potential problems that can lead to rejection. The important thing is to not be phased by it. You will not – and I cannot highlight this enough – will not be picked up by the first agent you submit to, particularly if you start by targeting the best. You might be lucky, but it’s highly unlikely: think of J K Rowling – no one wanted Harry Potter to start with and now you can’t find a person in the UK who doesn’t know about her books. Think about her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith – when she started writing crime novels, no one wanted to touch her – to them she was just another new author.

If you put yourself out there, someone will reject you. If you can’t handle that then submitting to an agent may not be for you. The important thing is to keep ploughing on. If too many agents reject you, start to consider changing your submission materials or going down the self-publish route but don’t – and I mean this sincerely – don’t just give up because the first agent you approach doesn’t want to take you on.

It doesn’t mean your story is rubbish. It just means that agent isn’t the right person for it.

So there are my top tips for submitting to agents. If you are trying to find an agent I wish you the very best of luck. If you’re thinking about it then bear in mind these tips – it is hard work, but if it wasn’t then these wouldn’t be worth the time it took me to type them. Remember, organisation is the key. Make a plan. Stick to the plan.

And knock ’em dead.

Now,

I want to hear from you.

Are you submitting to an agent? Have you submitted before and been rejected? What technique did you use for keeping up your submission momentum? Were you rejected by agents and found your success in the world of self-publishing?

As always, if you have read this far I’m guessing you like what you read. If so then hit that like button or (if you’re not a blogger) share it about on Face-Twit-Pin-Book. If you didn’t like it or disagree, tell me your thoughts in the comments down below. Anyone can comment and I’d love to hear what you have to say.

All the best.

Literary Agents: Top Tips – Part 1

Have a plan.

Regardless of whether you are approaching an agent for the first time (or trying to pitch your manuscript to a publisher for that matter) you have to have one.

Let’s be absolutely clear from the outset, finding an agent isn’t like any other part of your writing experience. When you’re writing a book or a story, you don’t need to start out with a plan. Sure, you might have a vague idea of how you want it to start and finish, but you don’t necessarily have an in-depth idea of every moment that is going to happen before you start putting pen to paper. And yes, you might be one of those writers who schedules the writing of each chapter to a particular day so that you can get it all done to a deadline (something I really should start doing).

But – for the most part – any plan you may have in the beginning will be vague and lacking in detail. Some writers don’t even plan at all…

But approaching an agent is different. Of all the writery (yes I am claiming that word) things you will be doing in your day-to-day life, writing to an agent will be the least so. And it requires a different tactic.

It requires organisation.

It requires a plan. 

So here is part one of my top tips for sifting through the agent pile and making sure they get hold of the best possible form of your manuscript.

1. Prepare your materials early

Most agencies are pretty standard in terms of their requirements from you as a writer. Yes, some of the details differ here and there and some agents have very specific requirements about what they want from unknown writers, but generally speaking they are all after the same thing: the first few sample chapters of your manuscript, a synopsis or outline of some kind and a covering letter.

Prepare these early – they take far longer than you might expect and, as a writer, you should be treating your covering letter and synopsis with the same care and attention that you would give your manuscript. When I recently started submitting The Bluebell Informant to agents, I spent over a year honing my covering letter and synopsis – and I am so glad I did. My first attempts were truly awful to what I have now.

So get started today – right now. There really is no better time.

2. Recognise the role and value of the covering letter

This is where many writers fall down. They devote all their attention to honing their manuscript until it is practically perfect and then do a haphazard job of the other parts.

Out of the synopsis and your covering letter, the latter is arguably the most important – it is the only time when the agent gets to see what kind of person you are and learn a bit about you. Occasionally an agent might request a biography, but most don’t want to have to wade through your life story. Bottom line – they want to know why you wrote the story, what you think it is about (or why it is worth the agent’s time to read it) and if you’re intending to be a career writer or a one-timer.

Don’t be cocky – you’re not the greatest writer to ever walk the world and your story isn’t the best thing since sliced bread – so don’t say it. And crucially, remember that your covering letter is there to get the agent reading the first page of your manuscript – so make it personal and make it brief.

This is your first impression so make it count.

3. Recognise the role and value of the synopsis

Ironically enough, most writers are more perturbed by the synopsis. Writers tear their hair out over it – they don’t know how to make it sound awesome and, as a result, they give up fairly quickly (I know, I’ve been there too).

But the truth of it is that the synopsis exists to let the agent know what they can expect from the rest of the manuscript. It doesn’t need to be flash or like the jacket blurb of a book – it certainly doesn’t need to leave the agent on tenterhooks to want to find out what happens at the end. It is basically just a description of the rest of the plot of the story – no flashy language, just pure fact.

If you are worried that it doesn’t sound interesting enough – and you really shouldn’t – maybe consider writing an elevator pitch at the start – a simple one line sentence that shows the agent your hook. For example for The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth, it might be:

A dark, mystery thriller centred around a murder in Hell

Short, to the point. Perfect.

Bottom line…

Agents know the synopsis will be boring, so don’t bother trying to make it exciting – you won’t do yourself any favours. Just make it succinct, well written and factual – if you do that, you can’t really go wrong.

 

That was just the ground work. In my next post, I will go on to talk about Part 2 – the research and organisation bit. This is where most writers either rise or fall so remember to have a look when it comes out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I want to hear from you. Have you ever submitted to an agent? How much time did you take to prepare yourself? Did you find the process easy or difficult? And if you could give one piece of advice to other writers about submitting to agents, what would it be?

As always, if you have read this far I’m guessing you like what you read. If so then hit that like button or (if you’re not a blogger) share it about on Face-Twit-Pin-Book. If you didn’t like it or disagree, tell me your thoughts in the comments down below. Anyone can comment and I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Until tomorrow…

 

Building My Writing Space

I had been going through a quiet patch. Not writer’s block – for I knew exactly what I needed to write – but definitely a unwillingness to sit down and actually do it.

True, I was working diligently on Murder Under My Nose, which – for a time at least – I was having to keep very much under wraps until I’d finished it, but I wasn’t really working on anything that was entirely my own. Not the Giles novels, not any of my short stories – nothing.

And that was, in a large part, down to my expectations of the impending mayhem and confusion that would be my moving home. Although I have only moved a short distance away from where I was living before, the idea of such an undertaking was so potentially stressful that I felt like I owed it to myself not to attempt to write anything in the run up to the actual move.

That and I really couldn’t summon the energy to do it…

And – do you know what?

I’m glad I didn’t write anything.

And it’s got nothing to do with my levels of concentration and tiredness – although admittedly lugging boxes of stuff up and down a road and up and down an apartment building was surely going to impact on me in that way.

It was because I was able to set myself up in entirely new surroundings. Create a work space that I felt comfortable in but – most importantly – reflected me in some way. I have spoken before about how a writer’s environment can help to influence them and aid their writing – the writer’s work space is perhaps the most crucial of these environments and here I was with an opportunity to mould it exactly the way I wanted it.

IMG_0620

The study that I would be spending my future days forming and writing my stories in was to be a little smaller than the study I was used to – long and thin with a window that overlooks the church and graveyard. Already this was a perfect start and formed the basis of my ideas for the room.

It was already a given that I would need a desk space and that I would be joined in my study area by the turtle and the terrapin – both of whom had shared my work space since I first go them so it would be odd to not have them there looking over my shoulder anymore.

So that was my starting point.

IMG_0621I found a nice corner desk, one that I felt was not only convenient for my storage needs but also had an air of gothic darkness about it, and set that up near to the window. I then set up the turtles so that they would be behind me but still close enough to provide me with any inspiration that I may need.

Next came one of my bookcases – a tall, dark one on which I not only placed a selection of my books but also a selection of wooden boxes that I have collected over the years… (Yes, I collect wooden boxes, deal with it).IMG_0622

And that was pretty much that.

In a short period of time, I turned this light little study into the perfect workspace for me. I can now sit at my corner desk and work away for hours on end. Should I ever feel the need for inspiration, I can lean back a little and gaze up at the church tower or down at the graveyard, or I can spin around and converse with my turtle as she clambers over the skull in her tank.

IMG_0627IMG_0630It is a perfect reflection of the work that I write – dark, brooding and neat. In fact, it is so much so that my sister-in-law’s first words when she entered the room was to comment on how gothic the whole set up was. Not even the small sketch from a Winnie-the-Pooh story – that I have on the shelf next to my computer – was able to detract from the wonderfully dark environment I had created for myself. And it’s not even a case of me trying to imitate my surroundings to fit my writing – although admittedly that may have been how it started…
I have found my mind teeming with ideas and inspiration ever since I finally got round to setting up this computer on the desk. As I sit here with the window open, listening to the faint tinging of wind chimes and the heavy tolls of the church bells on the hour whilst glancing up at the collection of wooden boxes and dark wooden panels around me, I can feel the inspiration flowing over me in a way I have never experienced before.

And it is reflecting in my work.

I have finally finished The Butcher of Barclay’s Hollow in little under three days. You remember it? No, probably not – I struggled to get past the first two chapters in my old place so I didn’t really speak of it that often. Yet here, under the ancient gaze of the church tower, I have not only finished it but I have transformed it from an ill-conceived short story into a full-blown, carefully-constructed novella.

It just goes to show…

Space is important.

 

*Oh and for those of you who are wondering – yes, there is a hint about the plot of The Butcher of Barclay’s Hollow hidden in this post. Happy hunting.

Five Tips for Writing A Serialised Novel

In 1836-7, Charles Dickens’ novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published in 19 issues over the course of 20 months. It was his first novel, but the success of it enabled him to continue his work as an author and create dozens of classic stories that are still enjoyed to this day.

And now, nearly two hundred years later, the idea of the serialised novel is beginning to come back into fashion.

In a big way.

It is becoming a real publishing trend now with many authors choosing to write their stories to suit publication in small, bite-sized chunks.

And I am one of them.

Unlike my DS Giles series, my latest project, Murder Under My Nose, has been commissioned by an online publishing company that deals exclusively with serialised stories, Senserial Publishing. As a result, I have had to completely rework how I approach my story writing and, as the ink begins to dry on the last few chapters of the series, I think I’m finally in a position to pass on a few hints and tips for any author thinking of exploring this new trend.

So, here is my advice for writing a serialised novel.

1. Plan ahead

It seems like a stupid thing to say, I know, but there are some authors out there who just plan out the beginning and the end and then muddle through the middle as they go along. There is nothing wrong with that – in fact I’ve done it several times myself – but it does present a small problem if you are trying to write a serialised story.

From the outset you will probably be faced with two options: writing each chapter (or episode if you will) and then publishing as you go, or writing the whole story and then setting a publishing date for each chapter afterwards.

Personally, I go for the latter. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of a story and realising that you haven’t put in a key bit of information at the beginning, particularly when its already published.

But, if you are one of those people who like the challenge of writing each episode to a publishing deadline, then make sure everything is planned out ahead of time. You don’t want any nasty surprises when you find out you’ve left a massive plot hole by the time you get to your last chapter.

Which leads me smoothly to my next hint…

2. Stick to your deadlines

If you are writing each chapter and publishing as you go, make sure you are publishing regularly and to strict deadlines. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do to miss a deadline – hey, even Dickens did it with The Pickwick Papers (but then again that was due to the death of his sister-in-law so we can let him off on that one) – but you don’t want your audience to lose faith in you.

If they detect for a moment that you might not be able to deliver the whole story, they may well drop you in an instant so, basically, don’t give them the excuse…

3. Think of your novel like a television series

By this I mean that, even though you are writing an entire novel, you must make sure the bitesized episodes are still engaging in their own right. There is no point releasing a few chapters packed full of useful stuff that is integral to the plot, but where absolutely nothing happens.

I guarantee your reader will switch off and won’t stick around for the next instalment.

Every episode has to have it’s own story arc – it’s reason for existing or theme, if you will. With Murder Under My Nose, each episode reveals a little bit more about MJ’s attempt to track down her sister’s killer whilst also treating the reader to a little bit about her past at the same time. That way, I’m keeping the tension building throughout the story, but I’m also allowing keeping the background information flowing smoothly as well – allowing my readers to discover who this woman really is and where her priorities lie…

4. Keep the reader wanting more

And by this I mean cliffhangers.

Make sure there is something at the end of each instalment that makes the reader excited for the next chapter. Maybe someone has an accident or is found dead, or maybe someone discovers their spouse is cheating on them, or maybe a character meets up with a shadowy figure at the dead of night…

It doesn’t really matter what it is, just as long as it is a) relevant to the story and b) will get the reader intrigued for the next chapter.

And then, most important of all, make sure there is a pay-off in the next instalment.

Don’t be that writer who leaves an episode on a cliffhanger and then turns around in the next part and says ‘Oh, yeh, and then the wizard saved them’ or ‘and the wild wolves decided not to eat the main character and just went off for a sleep’ before moving on with the story.

Nothing will annoy a reader more…

 

5. Check out some serialised novels

There are plenty out there.

If you want something classical in nature, most of Dicken’s novels were published over periods of weeks or months, as were the Sherlock Holmes stories and Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White.

If you want to check out some more modern novelists playing with the form, you have the likes of Stephen King (The Green Mile was serialised), Harriet Evans or Ray Connolly.

You can even check out specific publishing sites that specialise in serialised fiction, such as Senserial, and see what other authors are doing – small hint: Senserial even lets you read some of the first episodes of the stories they publish for free so you can get an idea of it.

It doesn’t matter where you read them, just read some to get an idea of what others are doing. It doesn’t matter if you then go another way with it – writing is an art as much as a craft, so don’t feel you need to play by others’ rules – but it may help you to see the potential in the serialised form.

Check out this new trend now – you never know, it might be something that interests you.

Murder Under My Nose is due for release later this year.

The Return of the Serialised Novel: Why This is Good For Authors

‘Serialisation is a thing of the past!’

Alright, I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard someone say it so explicitly, but I have been involved in a couple of conversations where this has been the general gist.

For some reason, a lot of authors seem to think that serialised novels can never be a thing.

‘Oh sure,’ they say, ‘it works well enough for TV like Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead, but it will never work with novels…’

Now, this annoys me for two fundamental reasons.

  1. It can work.

It has worked in the past. In the days where a large amount of the population couldn’t read or write, people would gather in rooms with the neighbours to hear the latest instalment of whatever novel was being printed in the newspapers at the time, much like we do with television nowadays. In fact, some of our greatest stories from that era were serialised: the Sherlock Holmes stories, The Woman in WhitePickwick PapersPride and Prejudice – I could go on…

What ever can be applied to television popularity, can also be applied to the written word.

       2. It does work

Serialised stories are all around us. And, more to the point, I can guarantee that most of you reading this post have read a serialised story at some point.

Who wasn’t anxiously awaiting the next instalment of Harry Potter for years on end? Who wasn’t eagerly awaiting the next Hunger Games or (and this pains me even to bring it up) Twilight story?

A Song of Ice and FireRebus. Divergent. Jack Reacher.

The list goes on.

And on.

All of these are examples of serialised stories – novels that have millions of people excitedly waiting for the next instalment.

It is impossible to deny the existence of serialised stories.

Today I read an article from The Washington Post, written a few years ago. In that article, the writer suggested that publishers could release novels in a bit-by-bit fashion online or through regular periodicals instead of just going with the standard all-or-nothing, do-or-die advertising push that has marred the publishing world somewhat in recent years.

Word-of-mouth would spread, people will talk about the latest editions of novels as much as they would the most recent instalment of television programmes, and more stories will get the recognition they deserve without publishers having to throw money at them.

It’s brilliant, right?

‘But why aren’t there publishers out there doing this if it’s such a good idea, Nick?’ you may ask.

Well, funnily enough, one or two are.

I spoke recently about my most recent project, Murder Under My Nose and about how this was a completely different way of writing for me.

One of the main reasons that this story was different was because I was writing it in serialised form.

And the reason I was doing that was for one such company that is taking serialised novels by the scruff of the neck and doing something amazing with them.

Senserial is a publishing company with a difference. Not only are they specialising in novel-length stories that are published in instalments (usually twelve) over a period of time, but they are also giving writers a unique experience to collaborate in a way not really seen on the publishing stage.

With Senserial, unknown writers can sign up and create their own channels where they can release their own work. But they can also collaborate with editors (to get their work polished and ready for release) musicians (to create accompanying music that can be used for book trailers) and even, if they want, producers (to co-ordinate the release strategy).

It’s like the novel version of YouTube, only with the added ability of being able to connect with the people who can help your story truly take off.

Now, before I go any further, I should point out I have a vested interest in this company as I was recently hired to run their blog and video blog campaign – but my point very much still stands.

Serialised stories are making a comeback in a big way and publishers like Senserial are paving the way for unknown authors to be recognised in a big way. It’s early days yet, but I think we are witnessing the start of a new era in publishing.

And, as with a lot of things in life, the way back appears to be the way forward.

And I, for one, am very excited…