Friday, 2 September 2016

Busy writers

Several years ago, as a member of the Society of Women Writers, I met a mother and daughter writing duo - Blaise and Lin.

Nice ladies, and talented too, I had in my ignorance, not heard of Lin Van Hek but soon discovered that Lin is an incredibly accomplished woman.

Lin's daughter, Blaise Van Hecke (I know the spelling's different but that's how the ladies like it) has embarked on her own exciting career. Not only is Blaise now the current president of the Society of Women Writers, but the small publishing house she started up a few years ago, is now a serious enterprise.

Cue: Busybird Publishing. I remember when Blaise first set up her business - a small start-up with big plans that through enterprise and good management is growing in an environment where many are closing their doors.

So why have I decided to tell you about this today? Well the answer is simple - even if there are several of them.

Firstly, I love it when someone I know is successful and I know that Blaise is a caring and deserving woman.

Secondly, she's successful for the right reasons. Okay, let me elaborate.

In this era of vanity publishing and shameless self-promotion - you know the scenario I'm always banging on about? Let me remind you about my biggest lamentation: the fact that any bozo can  throw together a hundred thousand misspelled words, with barely any grammatical syntax, a cliche plot, shaped into something vaguely resembling a manuscript, whack it up on the internet and call themselves a published author. You remember that old complaint of mine?

Well, in this era, Blaise is running a professional outfit, complete with editorial services and manuscript assessors - remember I talked about manuscript assessors a couple of weeks ago? They're invaluable and if you're serious about getting a quality work out there, a good assessor should be number one on your hit list.

Number two on your hit list should be a professional editor. And no, I'm not talking about your friend who you reckon is really good at English because she scored 17/20 in an English exam in year 11. No, I'm talking about the real pro - the one who tells you which darlings to kill, when you should have used whom, instead of who - and who explains, patiently, that no one, ever, EVER, runs the gauntlet!!

Alright, I know there are plenty of little publishing shops out there that offer just the same thing. But what, to my mind sets Busybird apart, is the fact that they don't stop there. Unlike your usual mob, Blaise and the team are serious about educating budding writers and supporting novices.

Busybird offers writing workshops, retreats and open mike nights to help you along the way.

I love their diversification and genuine love of the written word. There should be more set-ups like this, but then if there were, Busybird wouldn't be so unique!

So the moral of today's story is: if you're writing a manuscript that you truly believe in - do your research. I've talked about Busybird today, but get on line and check out your options. Regardless of where you live in the world, there are companies dedicated to honest support of writers.

See you in 14!

Here's the gang at Busybird. Blaise is 2nd from the left

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