Guest post: The Electronic Bridge – UK & US Publishing by David Coles

I’m delighted to welcome back thriller, historical, fantasy and SF author David Coles who brings you tonight’s guest blog post…

The Electronic Bridge – UK & US Publishing

The ‘classical’ publisher and agent: time was when either of these was your friend. My first story sold to John Carnell, an agent who put together 21 issues of the ‘New Writings in SF’ anthology. I was very much a newbie, he sent me postcards when number 19 was assembled, when it went to the publishers, when it reached the shops – John was a gentleman and I thought this was how it was. Sadly, not for long.

The older publishers began to buy each other out, shrinking in number and pursuing celebrities whose ghost-written biographies overflowed the book stores and relying on all those well-known authors. The drawbridges were pulled up and the slush piles moved to the literary agents’ offices. Lesser known authors were quickly shown the doors as the established agency too joined the snob publishing movement. Goodness knows what they will do when the stalwarts are all dead.

Welcome to the Indie. Again, this was a movement common to both publishing and literary agents. And the indie – those who knew what they were doing – brought a new breath of life to the literary world, helped on by the advent of digital books, a breath of fresh air could be felt.

There are drawbacks of course – a proliferation of vanity publishers, and publishers happy to put anything out there.

These changes happened on both sides of the Atlantic but, and this is a personal view, the concentration on the corporate bottom line started here in the UK and spread to the US later – unlike the recent problems with the *******, sorry, I meant bankers, which travelled in the opposite direction. In the UK, the photocopied return note: ‘we no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts’ started early in the last decade and agencies preferred not to move with the times in accepting email submissions so they can concentrate on representing ‘celebrities’ with enhanced breasts and experienced ghost writers. Goodness! Am I being cynical? Surely not. However, the trend has crossed that electronic bridge to the US and the phenomenon of not investing time and effort in the new writer is rife.

So Indies are the saving grace of a moribund literary society. And here we come to perhaps the biggest difference between the UK and the US: costs.

In the US, it is possible to go through the preparation to print a book for around $50 / £30 at the Amazon-owned Createspace and £130 / $80 at the UK company, Lightning Source. The cost of printing the book is about 1 penny or 2 cents per page. That’s not the whole story of course, especially in the UK, costs vary on the units sold and higher sales do not always mean lower print costs as you might expect. It’s true to say that trying to make a profit on UK print on demand sales while keeping the retail price at a reasonable level is difficult. Profit on similar sales in the US is far higher.

Finally, of course, there’s the digital Book phenomenon. eBook readers have gradually fallen in price since Amazon produced the first Kindle reader and certainly no UK book seller has approached the sales of digital books achieved by Amazon. You – any of you – can get your own book published as an eBook for free. It’s easiest with the Amazon Kindle system or with the Smashwords eBook system and again – that’s US, not UK.

As at the time of writing – go west young man or woman. It’s cheaper in print, it’s easier in digital. Here or there, though, it’s only an email away.

Thanks for letting me ramble on, Morgen. I do like it here.

You’re so welcome, David, thank you and it’s great to have you back. I’ve gone the eBook route so I’m tad biased but I do see how things are opening up for us authors, and not before time. 🙂

David and his co-author Jack both live in Yorkshire but 25+ miles apart, and have been writing together for too many years to remember but still meet weekly. David lives on the outskirts of a big city whereas Jack’s home is more rural. They still enjoy each other’s presence though – if the truth be known – they probably laugh more at the antics of their grandchildren. Their tastes in music differ, David prefers more instrumental works especially acoustic guitars whereas Jack likes good balladeers. David likes walking and exploring foreign climes. Jack also enjoys travelling but on four wheels in preference to Shanks’ pony. They both enjoy a good meal and glass of wine and still like to curl up with a real book despite having eBook readers. David’s websites are and You can also go to and find…“Everett Coles”. All their current books can be found by clicking the following links… and They run the gamut of thriller through historical to fantasy and SF.


If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with author and coach Rochelle Melander – the two hundred and twenty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.

BWT podcast short stories no.003

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 003 was released today.

This is a new series tucked in between the now-monthly hints & tips and red pen critique sessions and for the first weeks will include the flash fiction that appeared on this blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’.

Because they’re short and, at the moment, I have plenty of them, I read out three per fortnight and today’s were on a slightly different format where I read the first two stories: ‘On the Bridge. At eight p.m.’ (542 words) by Mia Johansson, and  ‘Curbside’ (249 words) by Kenneth Weene but then Ken read another of his stories ‘In the Army’ (513 words).


I do no critiquing, just simply reading the stories and I hope you enjoy this new format.

You can read the full transcription of these stories as well as the author biographies on the Flash Fiction Fridays page but that may spoil your enjoyment of the audio. 🙂

Thank you again for subscribing, downloading and listening to this episode. Next Monday’s episode will be red pen session no.9 – my critique of a novel extract provided by London-based Daniel Kemp.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

Author interview no.221 with writer Jaidis Shaw

Welcome to the two hundred and twenty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with author and blog tour co-ordinator Jaidis Shaw. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.

Morgen: Hello, Jaidis. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

Jaidis: My name is Jaidis Shaw and I am based in South Carolina. Growing up I loved reading and wanted to create stories of my own. I finally got serious about my writing and began work on my first book when I was eighteen. Everything was going well until I was diagnosed with Epilepsy a year later. While taking my Biology exam during college, I began having a Grand Mal seizure every few minutes for the next six hours. As you can imagine I was changed after that and was forced to put my writing on hold while I learned to re-form sentences and the like. Now that I’m 25 years old, I have resumed my writing and hope to share my stories with those willing to read them.

Morgen: I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will be. I read and write primarily short stories and although I have written some novels, shorts will always be my first love. 🙂 What genre do you generally write?

Jaidis: I haven’t settled on a single genre as I enjoy challenging myself by writing in genres I’m not familiar with. Each story that I have had accepted for publication has been in a different genre so far.

Morgen: Same as me really. I write pretty much anything other than science-fiction although the only piece of sci-fi in my short story anthology eBook was a reviewer’s favourite so maybe I should try more. 🙂 Maybe you’ll settle on a genre you like but variety can keep writing fresh. What have you had published to-date? Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?

Jaidis: I’m new to the published world but we all have to start somewhere I suppose. My first short story that is published appears in the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II anthology. I also have a Suspense story that is being published in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology. Both anthologies are from Wicked East Press.

Out of my stories that have been accepted, I enjoyed writing about Molly Kenway. You will be able to meet her when the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology comes out. Although I do have a character in the book that I am working on that is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine.

Morgen: I love the creation process and it’s like making new friends every time. 🙂 What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?

Jaidis: Being accepted is still a thrill since I’m so new to being published. My first short story, The Tower, was accepted in May 2011 into the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II Anthology and I am still thrilled about it.

Morgen: 🙂 Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?

Jaidis: I’ve only submitted two short stories so far so I haven’t had any rejections yet but I know there will be many in my future.

Morgen: I found the second one worse than the first, especially as there wasn’t an acceptance in between. At least if you’re prepared for them that’s half the battle. It’s just finding the right thing for the right person and it sounds like you’re doing everything right so far. 🙂 How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

Jaidis: I try and do as much marketing as I can, such as taking part in interviews like this. I think it is really important for authors today to connect with their readers in several ways to help get the word out. I try and utilize social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to reach potential readers and friends. My goal is to market myself as a ‘brand’ so that when I have my first book published, I have a following to go on.

Morgen: I was doing it that way round too, and my eBooks are still young (about 6 weeks) with many more to come so I know how you feel… I’m certainly excited. 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?

Jaidis: I am currently working on a Western themed short story with minor Steampunk elements at the request of a good author friend of mine.

Morgen: The western genre seems to be coming back into the spotlight (although I know western novelist and interviewee Jack Martin would say that it’s never been away) and steampunk seems really popular. Do you manage to write every day?

Jaidis: I do not get time to write daily, although I would love to. I just have to fit my writing in whenever possible.

Morgen: I’m sure almost everyone reading this will relate to that. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?

Jaidis: My stories usually start with a random idea and then I take time to outline everything. Once I have all the details worked out, I turn to the computer to piece it together.

Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?

Jaidis: Editing is extremely important in writing today and so I do edit my work several times before submitting. I also have a few beta readers that I use to spot anything I may have missed because nobody likes reading a poorly written story. Even as my writing forms, I’ll still be editing like mad.

Morgen: 🙂 It’s very good to be thorough. The down side of eBooks is the amount of poorly-written work out there but I maintain that the good writing will be reflected in the reviews, an author can only have so many friends. 🙂 Do you have to do much research?

Jaidis: I have had to do some research for one of the stories that I had accepted. The main character is a criminal profiler and so I had to do some research to make it believable since I don’t know anything personally about that topic.

Morgen: I usually feel that research is a necessary evil (although the internet makes life easier) but that sounds like the kind of research that would be less painful. 🙂 Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?

Jaidis: When I first started writing I had to have quiet to be able to think. That quickly changed with my four-year-old daughter playing in the background. Now I try to have a little music on to help balance all the noise out to a tolerable work environment.

Morgen: Oh dear. I just have a dog which is obviously much quieter (other than the occasional squeaky toy) but can be still as distracting. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?

Jaidis: I prefer to write first person as it is so much easier for me. I have branched out and started using third person as well because there are some stories that just can’t effectively convey what I want using first person. The last time I tried second person point of view was in college so it has been awhile.

Morgen: Again, a good variety. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?

Jaidis: My favourite aspect of my writing would be to take a character from my mind and make them come to life on paper. It’s great to have a creative outlet to share my stories with others.

Morgen: Me too, I can’t think of anything better.

Jaidis: My least favourite is that I wish that I could have more time to myself to write. Being a stay-at-home mom and working from home as well seriously affects the amount of time I have to dedicate to my writing. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to write more full-time.

Morgen: I’m going freelance at Christmas and am part-excited, part-nervous but am nearly 20 years older than you (although only writing for the last six years on and off) so you have plenty of time. 🙂 What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Jaidis: I wish I had some insightful wisdom that I can pass on but I’m all so new to being a published author myself. I would have to say just to keep at it and if becoming a published author is what you want then make it happen. Only you can stand in your own way.

Morgen: Absolutely. It just takes passion. Well, and hard work but the former will inspire the latter. What do you like to read?

Jaidis: I love reading almost any book. Sometimes I want a sappy romance, other times I love the thrill and suspense of a mystery or horror story. It really just depends on my mood.

Morgen: Ah ha, that’s why you write allsorts. I say I write everything but sci-fi but I read crime and humour / chick-lit and that’s what I tend to write. I’m sure reading inspires writing. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?

Jaidis: I am the Book Tour Coordinator for Nurture Your Books™ so I spend my days helping other authors promote their work. I love helping out fellow authors when I can and so I also feature authors on my own blog, Juniper Grove.

Morgen: You do, and you’ve sent Wayne Zurl my way (thank you for that!). What do you do when you’re not writing?

Jaidis: All writing, reading and promoting set aside, I love working on craft projects. It is nice to do things that allow creativity that doesn’t involve outlining and character sketches. Plus my daughter loves crafting as well so it gives us something to do together.

Morgen: Maybe she’ll follow you in your writing too. Ooh, and you could write children’s books. 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your work?

Jaidis: My Blog: Juniper Grove

My Facebook Fan Page:


Nurture Your Books™ NING:

Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II on

Morgen: Thank you so much Jaidis, and I look forward to your other authors coming my way. 🙂

Update August 2012: Since this interview, Jaidis Shaw has released her debut YA paranormal novel Destiny Awaits and had a short story, Blind Justice, appear in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales from Wicked East Press. Updates (and one of my book giveaways :)) can be found on the Juniper Grove blog at


If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.

If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.

Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!


or for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome critique for the four new writing groups listed below and / or flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. For other opportunities see (see Opportunities on this blog).

The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:

We look forward to reading your comments.