• What Pen Works Media looks for in a submission

    How Pen Works Media reviews new book submissions

    August 16, 2017 Blog

    As a publisher, the question I probably get asked most is “what type of submissions are you looking for?” and really, it’s a difficult thing to answer. Firstly, let’s clarify a bit of a myth.

    A mistake writers often make is thinking they’re more likely to get published by a small publishing company. I do get the logic in believing the submissions process will be less competitive than at a major publisher, but in actual fact, …

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  • Stone and Gosling dance the night away

    La La Land

    January 13, 2017 Blog

    Note: This is an analytical review which, by its very nature, includes spoilers.

    It’s been an age since I was excited by the prospect of seeing a musical on the screen, but any film written and directed by Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle and starring Hollywood sweethearts Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone deserves buzz, so as my girlfriends’s birthday drew near, it seemed like the perfect excuse to follow the hype and book that ticket.

    Between now and when …

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  • The challenges of creating a first novel

    August 5, 2016 Blog

    We met Michelle properly on July 15th 2015, when she attended the book launch of our first paperback, The Moors. That this is where we met is a testament to Michelle’s tenacity as she is forever attending events about publishing to learn more about the industry. Also, she’s so personable when dealing with fellow authors that it’s no surprise her guest blogs are growing in both quality and quantity, and we’re delighted to have Michelle …

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  • How to structure your story

    May 12, 2016 Blog

    Whilst making my annual jaunt to the London Book Fair this year, I met a writer who told me that once he has started a project, new ideas become completely unwelcome to him. In fact, to try and stop new thoughts interrupting his flow, he would completely shut himself away, creating a tunnel vision effect that allowed him to reach the finish line without distraction.

    Although I get the sentiment, this is in many ways the …

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  • The real value of crowdfunding

    May 6, 2016 Blog

    Last week, over a particularly splendid cup of latte (big shout out to Beam in Crouch End), I had a conversation with an aspiring writer about crowdfunding. I’m nearing the end of my third crowdfunding campaign now, whereas this young author is yet to dabble at all.

    ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that,’ he dismissed. ‘I hate promoting myself, and I feel like I’d annoy people.’

    Firstly, if you’re a writer – or any other kind of artist …

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  • Pseudonym author

    What use is a pseudonym name to a writer?

    February 14, 2016 Blog

    If you know me, or read my blog, you’ll be fully aware of how passionately I believe in character development and story structure. I feel they are both integral to the creation of a great story, and it can take a lot of time and effort to write a book or a screenplay in what I consider to be the right way.

    If you agree with me and you’ve spent months or years of your life …

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  • How House of Cards can improve your writing in 2016!

    February 13, 2016 Blog

    Now that we’re in 2016, there will be an awful lot of writers walking around with a spring in their step, believing this will finally be their year. While I applaud the enthusiasm, I am also fully aware of how many writers I’ll meet over the next year that will feel the industry hasn’t given them a fair shot.

    Nobody is more sympathetic to this view than me. I have honestly felt ready to “make it” …

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  • Al Pacino in Danny Collins, directed by Dan Fogelman

    Danny Collins

    February 7, 2016 Blog

    Note: This is an analytical review which, by its very nature, includes spoilers.

    I watched Danny Collins with quiet optimism because rarely do I regret watching an Al Pacino film, and Annette Benning is an actress I’ve always keenly admired. I was also a big fan of Crazy, Stupid Love, so with Dan Fogelman at the helm as writer / director, my interest was definitely spiked. At the back of my mind, though, I knew this …

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  • 5 ways to create a memorable book cover

    September 9, 2015 Blog

    You need to forgive me for pointing out the obvious in this post, but you’ll be amazed how many times I cover the following points with new writers who insist they want to create their own book covers, yet when I receive their design, the fundamentals have been overlooked.

    The book cover is, in many ways, the most important part of your book as it’s what will drive its sales. There’s just no getting around it. If people …

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