Hookline Books

Showing Tag: "ma" (Show all posts)

Tell us where you would go on a solo adventure

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, April 11, 2017,
Travelling solo isn't easy, but it beats waiting for friends or family to decide they will sacrifice time and money to make that dream trip with you.
The Solo Travel Guide by Dee Maldon has been published by our sister imprint, Bookline & Thinker, and we're helping to promote the title by giving away five books.
All we ask is that you tell us where you would go on your dream solo trip.
Five answers will be chosen next week and the books will be shipped out fast so you can make plans before the s...
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MA writers, we're waiting

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, January 6, 2017,
So we're at it again!
A new year means new submissions. It's an exciting time for us, and I have to confess I love to see the manuscripts arrive in our email box. Why? Because the novels are all so different - the creativity among new writers makes my heart race with excitement. I'm not sure if other publishers feel this excitement - I hope they do.
So bring it on - all writers who are engaged in or have graduated from an MA writing programme, send us your early chapters. We'll ensure the work ...
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New writers can learn from The Martian

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 7, 2016,
Let me begin by saying I don't enjoy science fiction. I have never yearned to read more sci-fi than I have ever tasted.
I read The Martian because I had to - it was a reluctant purchase for book group and I feared never getting beyond 20 pages. I hadn't seen the film and didn't care to, no matter that it was tagged as 'comedy'.
However, I have to say The Martian is brilliantly constructed and many new writers could take lessons from its author Andy Weir.
Throughout the read, I desperately needed...
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Art in books

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, January 8, 2016,
Novels set in the art world tend to be popular with readers:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tart
The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Moon and Sixpence by Somerset Maugham
All these works allow us to look at the artist or the obsessions they elicit.
At Hookline, we have our own art in a novel. The China Bird by Bryony Doran concerns an art student and her quest to draw a stranger who suffers from scoliosis. While others shy away from this lonely, and physically twisted character, the art...
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How can a novel change your life?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 29, 2015,
President Barack Obama says novels taught him many things about the world - including empathy and how to be a citizen. There is no question that novels can take us out of our world and plunge us into others, giving us access to experiences we might never acquire.
Growing up, my grandmother bought me the classics and I loved Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn - I was a little Scottish girl with no connection to the American South, but I learned a lot about racism in those books. Growing older, it...
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Mothers, Lovers and second novels

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 7, 2015,
We've written before about the pressure writers feel about that second novel. 
Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames was one of Hookline's most successful novels - frequently in the top 100 Kindle sales, runner up in the People's Book Prize. Ruby's second novel is more humorous, less intense, but retains that personal touch. For this week only it is selling at 99p on Amazon.
Want to know more?

Ever wonder what it's like to date an actor who hits the big time? Intrigue, jealousy, resentment – a...

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It's not you, it's me

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, August 14, 2015,
Ok, after the last post, I've been asked about the books I gave up on.
I don't want to make this personal, but it is - purely my opinion on why I didn't continue to the last page, so here goes: 

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
I've loved his previous novels, couldn't put them down, but this novel left me cold. Maybe it was the adolescent narrative in the beginning (runaway refuses to go home no matter the dangers). I gave up during the first entry to the dark side and only resumed reading beca...
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Third Time Lucky - Helen MacKinven, guest blog

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, July 8, 2015,

In October, my debut novel will be published. Some folk have assumed it’s the first book I’ve written when in fact it’s my third.

My first novel, Sunbirds, was inspired by a Caribbean cruise I went on with friends from work in 2004. I’m sure I’d cringe reading it now as it was a ‘practice’ novel.  I knew I needed professional guidance so in 2009 I went on an Arvon residential course called ‘Starting to Write a Novel’.

The experience kick-started my second novel, Buy, Buy Baby...

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Who are the most important people in publishing?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, July 6, 2015,
Most students of publishing would answer say, 'the publisher.'
Ask an author, especially one desperately seeking publication, and they would say, 'the editor.'
Ask the editor, enlightened ones would suggest, 'the author,'; others might point to the sales team and cite 'the marketing director' who pushes sales so that books make a profit.
Everyone of these roles is important - a good author creates a successful story; a good editor is needed to represent the reader and catch sticky plot details, ...
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What I learned from my MA in creative writing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, June 15, 2015,
From Victoria Owens, author of Drawn to Perfection
Like any other art, writing requires regular practise. The course framework, with its submission deadlines and workshop expectations, ensured that I wrote whether or not I was ‘in the mood.’ Over the MA year, I got used to putting words on the page when I was sick, miserable, hung-over or guilty about neglecting my family. Much of what I produced under these conditions was rubbish, but at least it was something to work on, and t...
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What did an MA in writing do for you? Part 2

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, June 12, 2015,
There have been a few comments on my previous blog 'What did an MA in writing do for you?' And I hope to post some of the responses next week.
In the meantime, I've had a few more thoughts. Mainly, they concern dismal plot devices that I might have forgiven before I earned my MA, now they can prompt me to toss the book aside.
1. Dreams - a boring way to provide a character's fears or hopes. I did this in my dissertation MA and shouldn't be surprised that it didn't make publication.
2. Telling us...
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What did your MA in writing do for you?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, June 9, 2015,
Once upon a time, I was a journalist. My prose consisted of static attribution - he said, she said. I studied for an MA in writing to loosen my style - and, for the most part, it worked. Now I try to come at each sentence from a differing angle, varying sentence length and structure - no more 'just the attribution of facts.'
My MA dissertation had to be a complete novel 'worthy of publication.' Until this point my maximum written piece had been around 5,000 words (an advance obit on Mother The...
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The joy of a first line

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, June 4, 2015,
There is nothing like a first line to draw you into a book.

My favourite:
"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." Haven't we all had that feeling? And don't we want to know more? This is from Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups.

I also love Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

The joy of a good first line is that it pulls you into story - a bad first line, however, makes you ...
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To MA or Not To MA?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, April 7, 2015,

Guest blog by Vicky Delderfield. Her novel Effects and Belongings will be out later this year.

I remember the precise moment, driving out to lunch with my in-laws, when I first floated the idea of doing an MA in Creative Writing. Yes, I told them, it would involve quitting my job as a Marketing Manager, relying on Mark’s, my husband’s income, and making sacrifices as we saved up the hefty tuition fees. Er, no, I admitted, the MA was no guarantee of publication. But it was a sign of my seri...

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Hookline's times - they are a'changing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 9, 2014,

Publishing is evolving. When Hookline began, we were on the front line of changes. Lately we have felt as though we are standing still. We love the Hookline process of letting readers find manuscripts worthy of publication. However, it is time to speed up the process – over the years, we have lost out as good writers were snapped up by other publishing houses during our lengthy ten-month, two-stage selection process.

The first thing is to assure you all that book groups will remain an inte...

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Booksellers - we want to work with you

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 24, 2013,
I often receive calls from customers saying their local bookseller can't or won't order our books. I am always happy to supply direct however I dislike having to explain to a potential customer why they should experience any difficulty with a bookseller. Our books are printed by one of the largest printers in the country. We pay a huge percentage to a distributor to carry our books from printer to book shop. Why should a customer encounter any difficulty?
It all gets down to accounting.
There a...
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Hookline - bringing together new writers and good readers

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 29, 2013,
Many years ago, a new writer sent their manuscript to a publisher, and they would hear a 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe'.
Today, new writers send their manuscripts to publishers, and they are likely receive a postcard telling them to get an agent. Many agents now act like editors, helping their writers through rewrites. In turn, publishers turn to agents they trust - and agents stick to writers who have earned their royalties, or are writing in a fashion that is likely to earn good royalties (hence the...
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Print on demand ideal for many African countries

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, November 28, 2012,
Ebooks for Africa! Tablets for Africa!
We hear a lot about digital technology being transported to Africa, and it's a wonderful ideal. The problem is that much of the telephone fibre in Africa is just that - made for telephone usage and unable to support the passage of bulky data (think of the old days of internet dial up).
So while ebook technology may not yet be appropriate, there is another digital mechanism that is ideal - the Espresso Book Machine! This physical printer operates like a ven...
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Underground by Gayle O'Brien - a great journey for only 99p

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, July 30, 2012,
This is our first 99p title and it sounds dreadfully cheap. 
After all, what can you buy for 99p these days? A chocolate bar, a small piece of fruit - but certainly not a cup of tea, a coffee or even a bus ticket!
Yet, 99p for Underground will take you places you have never been - the soft green landscape of the antebellum south where Samantha prepares for her debutante ball, not knowing she'll soon be heading north with two escaped slaves. In a parallel story, we have Annie in the mountains of...
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The return story of print-on-demand

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, July 2, 2012,
Print-on-demand publishing is a growing segment of today's book market.
For the uninitiated, print-on-demand means that books are printed as they are ordered rather than having a fixed print run of ten, twenty or thirty thousand books. For publishers, not having to commit money and warehousing space to thousands of books means we can take chances on new authors.  
In the early days, print-on-demand technology wasn't great - the text wasn't even and the bindings often fell apart. This is no long...
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Hookline Novel Competition short list 2012

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, June 7, 2012,
Our reading groups have voted and we have our short list of authors for this year:

Ainscow and the Children of Fire by Paul Beatty of Manchester Metropolitan University

The Net by Andrea Case-Rogers of Manchester Metropolitan University

Charlotte by Andrew Chesney of Anglia Ruskin University

The Ivy Stone by AJ Morgan of University of Wales

Caelica’s Bridge by Victoria Owens of Bath Spa University  

An interesting point to note is that three of the five are men - so far Hookline has publi...
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Why does this make me angry?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 19, 2012,
Who can write a novel? 
Any celebrity apparently - it seems to go with the gene that blesses them when they talk on television and appear at award shows.
The latest celebrity to sign a book deal for fiction is Richard Madeley - of Richard & Judy fame. Previous celebrities to be blessed with the fiction writing gene are Anne Widdecombe, politician and dancer; Michael Howard's wife, the former model Sandra Howard; Katie Price, model and feminist icon. We can also add to the list Naomi Campbell, S...
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Book groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, February 23, 2012,
Our 2012 manuscripts are going out to reading groups - always exciting as we pack, but daunting as we arrive at the Post Office and have to unload 30 boxes and queue for service. Those behind us fire daggers at the packages, but what can we do?
Reading groups - I hope you enjoy your work, and we look forward to hearing your results.
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The best first lines are the simple ones

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, February 15, 2012,
For the next few days I will be airing my favourite first lines - and looking at why I think they work.
Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan sets the topic of the novel with his introductory sentence: They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.
This novel is immersed in sex and intimacy, and this first sentence immediately introduces the reader to the characters and their challenge...
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About Me

Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.