Friday, 19 May 2017

Song Books - a recommendation

I have nothing new to post about my own writing, but I am very happy to recommend having a listen to this: my good friend and supremely talented writer, Deborah Arnander, talking about short stories on the radio. With bonus Velvet Underground and Nico content! Here you go:

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A definite trend is emerging...

...and it's downwards.

I know I gave myself until September to find an agent and/or publisher, but self-publishing Drawn To The Deep End is starting to look inevitable.

And in other news, my submission to the Escalator programme was also knocked back.

Onwards though, right?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Blogger's Lament (or, proof that it's a good job I don't often write poems)

I don't know why I write this blog,
I'm really at a loss.
The hit count's low, the comments few;
The Web don't give a toss.

A guest post here, a retweet there,
But not much to delight in.
Maybe I should bin the lot
And do some proper writing.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Another update

Because I don't want to type the words "sit-rep" again, here's a graph, as of last night:

To console myself on the emerging trend, I did at least manage to apply to the Norwich Writers' Centre Escalator programme, so there's something else I can update you on, in the fullness of time. In their words, Escalator is an annual talent development programme in which ten successful applicants get a period of mentoring, a series of development opportunities, talks and workshops as part of a residential retreat, and to take part in a final showcase, in which they read and pitch their work to agents and publishers. It's quite competitive, but you've got to be in it to win it, I suppose. Fingers crossed anyway.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Sorry, I know sit-rep makes me sound like Jeremy Clarkson but this is a situation report, so what can I do?

In my last post, I said that I was starting to submit my novel-length manuscript. Between then and mid-February, I submitted to 28 agents and 7 publishers that accept unagented work. That's the situation. Now here's the report.

  • Of the 28 agents:
    • 13 (46.4%) have sent me rejections
    • 4 (14.3%) have passed their own deadline for response without responding, i.e. elapsed
    • 11 (39.3%) have sent no response but have no deadline for doing so, i.e. are still "live"
  • Of the 7 publishers:
    • 2 (28.6%) have sent me rejections
    • 1 (14.3%) has passed their own deadline for response without responding, i.e. elapsed
    • 4 (57.1%) have sent no response but have no deadline for doing so, i.e. are still "live"

Bottom line: 20 of the 35 submissions have been unsuccessful thus far. Most of the rejections had kind things, positives, in their emails, and I tell myself they're not just boilerplate messages, even though they probably are. And there are still 15 irons in the fire. Besides, if you're a writer who's not ready for some rejection, well, you're probably not really ready to start submitting either...

Monday, 19 December 2016

Just to mark the date...

...I am submitting Drawn To The Deep End to publishers of interest. Or, if this was Twitter, #AmSubmitting.

I'm trying to do things properly, by which I mean traditionally. I'm also being realistic in acknowledging how hard it is to find not only a publisher but, more importantly, the right publisher. At the same time, I want to see Peter Potter's Deep End world make it into print, so I'm giving myself a deadline of nine months to find that publisher. If nothing promising is happening within that time, I'll bite the bullet and self-publish DTTDE (subtext for any publishers reading this - why not get in first?)

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Does an author have a social responsibility?

Long term readers of this blog may know that I have a novel-length manuscript permanently "on the go". It's provisionally entitled Drawn To The Deep End, and tells the tale of a 30-something wage slave who cannot forgive himself for the part he played in his fiancée's suicide three years earlier. His life spirals downwards under a succession of blows, until he ultimately attempts (but is unable) to take his own life.

Now I've workshopped a lot of this story to death, if you'll pardon the pun, and many of my critique group have had an issue with the ending. I've always defended the story by saying that the protagonist has come to view death as redemption, and that was usually that. I put it down to my group-mates not wanting my (anti-) hero to die.

But this week, after an especially full-on but focused session (just three of us - thanks you, KC and DA) another issue was raised. Did I need to think about the message I was putting out there, into the wider world? Okay, it's unlikely that the book, whenever the manuscript becomes a book, will ever be read by that many people. But even if it's only read by one person, was I comfortable with putting out the message that death, and especially suicide, can be redemption? What if one person who's feeling suicidal reads my book, takes that message away, and acts on it? How would I feel?

So, the bigger question: do authors have a social, ethical responsibility for the message, as well as the content, of what they release to the reading world? I'm starting to think they do. And if they do, when does that outrank the story? Could I, with a clear conscience, release my story with it's current ending if I took the Eastenders approach, and put something at the end of the book along the lines of "if you've been affected by the issues in Peter's story, please call this number of visit that website." Is that enough? Or is that a cop-out?

What do you think?

By the way, if you are feeling affected by Peter's story, why not give the Samaritans a call on 116 123 (UK & ROI) or visit them at Thanks.