Wilkie Martin - Surviving Publication

Author of the unhuman series of addictive comedy cozy mysteries set in the Cotswolds. This documents my encounters with publishing and includes things I hope will be useful later. It also covers some local writing competitions and reviews some writing events.

Friday, 29 January 2010

All in the Same Boat - why I wrote a fairy tale

Authonomy.com announced a competition, run by Harper-Collins and Act on CO2, to write a short story or fairytale to help educate people about climate change and encouraging them to take responsibility and to make changes in their lives that reduce their carbon footprint. It felt right that I should attempt a fairy tale, especially as as friend of mine has been writing one (on a different subject) and as I received a copy of Grimm's fairy tales for Christmas. The language, imagery, blood-thirstiness and general insanity of the stories appealed. So I set out with a tale of Rat, Mouse and Gerbil adrift in a lifeboat. Rat's greed, arrogance, violence and thoughtlessness causes disaster. It was great fun to write an allegory and I hope the tale will appeal to adults and children and, most especially, the judges. I read it out at Writers in the Brewery and the response was promising.


  1. Authonomy.com is a website run by Harper-Collins for writers to load their books (partial or complete) and comment on the work of others, with a chance of the book being reviewed by Harper-Collins editors.
  2. The chapters (or entries) for Act on CO2 can be seen by looking at that book on their website (you do not have to be a member on authonomy.com to look).
  3. Writers in the Brewery is a monthly meeting at the Brewery Arts Centre in Cirencester where, in addition to there being a guest speaker, local writers have the chance to read their work.

My related postings

Sue Chad at Writers in the Brewery 28 Jan 2010
Writers in the Brewery Nov and Dec 2009 review
Writers in the Brewery

Sue Chad at Writers in the Brewery 28 Jan 2010

It was a cold, dark, January evening and a relatively sparse attendance at the Brewery Arts. Still it was good to see a few new faces among the audience. Sue Chad kicked off with a selection of her poems, written over a number of years. Some were amusing, some emotional and a few rhymed. I enjoyed them all and it seemed they were well appreciated by the audience. I still find it amazing how a few words, well chosen, can have such an impact. I bought a copy of Sue's collection Vanishing Point (at the bargain price of £1) and am browsing it at my leisure. So far it's been excellent. (Vanishing Point is listed on Amazon.)

After a bar break we restarted with various attendees reading their own work. A good mixture of poetry, a short story and a rant, not to mention my fairy tale, All in the Same Boat, which received a gratifying response.

My related postings

Writers in the Brewery Nov and Dec 2009 review
Writers in the Brewery

Monday, 25 January 2010

Starting to use social bookmarking and the favourite sites/blogs manager deli.cio.us

Continuing the process of building my blog and the interfaces to it, we have registered it with the social bookmarking site deli.cio.us. Like other social bookmarking sites this lets you save bbookmarks in one place, so if you have a Blackberry, a desktop, a laptop, and a netbook etc - you only need to save you favorite sites once and can then get to them from all the different devices. It also lets you see what things others are bookmarking and to share yours.

We also did this in the hope it would allow us to see the new iphone compatable icon that we created for the website (see Adding a website icon for iphone and stopping page not found for mobiles) as the icon given next to the bookmark. We read somewhere that it would show it here but it dosen't.

This blog and some pages on my website are now bookmarked on delicious. We've added buttons to the bottom of the blog to make adding a bookmark to this as easy as possible and I hope you'll want to bookmark this or some of my other posts.

This is how we joined delicious:

  • go to http://delicious.com/

  • select ' Join Now'

  • this takes you to a yahoo logon screen

  • sign up for yahoo if not already a member

  • fill in the details and associate the logon to delicious

  • select bookmarks and url and enter the url for your website/blog etc

  • enter some tags for the sites (a space marks a new tag) and save the details, experiment with tags that bring up your entry

  • check the recent additions of bookmarks to look for yours. By default this will show those saved by at least 2 people unless you select the drop down and select to see those saved by 1 person

Other social bookmarkers

We might look at these later when we've got the hang of delicious.com

Digg www.digg.com
StumbleUpon www.stumbleupon.com
Diigo www.diigo.com
Blinklist www.blinklist.com
Simpy www.simpy.com/
Reddit www.reddit.com/

My Related Postings

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Adding a website icon for iphone and stopping page not found for mobiles

Looking through the website logs we have seen a number of 404 errors returned (for page not found) when attempts are made to access the file /apple-touch-icon.png, which is the icon used when the website is accessed from an iphone, and some errors when the iphone browser tries to access these /iphone/ and /mobile/ directories.

To prevent these errors we have created a new file called apple-touch-icon.png file, which holds an icon to be used for iphones. We put the file into the root directory of our website to see what effect this has on these 404 errors. It was built using a free 21-day licence for Microangelo Toolset from http://www.downloads.com/ by importing a picture file and saving the file as a .png file for a custom size of 57x57 pixels in 256 truecolor. Although there are some iphone emulators on the web so far we haven't found one that will test the .png icon.

Creating this file allows a common icon for the whole site. However various items on the web suggest that it is possible to add a different icon per page (using the command below embedded in the html for the page between the <head> and </head> statements and allowing a different icon for each.)

<link rel="apple-touch-icon.png" href="/pageicon.png"/>

To prevent the other page not found (404) errors on the directories we've put a block on these into our robots.txt file (see Starting an Author's platform where other settings in this file are given) by adding the following lines to the file:

User-agent: taptubot
Disallow: /iphone/
Disallow: /mobile/
Disallow: /m/
Disallow: /mobi/

Any comments on this or tips on different setups for mobile phones are welcome.

Or is there anyone with an iphone who'd like to access http://www.wilkiemartin.com/ and let us know what the icon looks like?

My Related Postings

Adding a guestbook
Add blog to website
Starting an author's platform

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Writers in the Brewery Nov and Dec 2009 review

I'm looking forward to the next open evening at the Writers in the Brewery in Cirencester and which reminds me that I'd been intending to write reviews of the last two evening with Phill Kirby and Keith Thompson. So this is what I've done.

Phil Kirby - 26th November 2009

Phil launched his new book of poetry Watermarks on the evening, which made this the first book launch I've been to! Phil was a very articulate reader and read a variety of his poems, many of them from Watermarks. I though that possibly he could have left more of a break between poems as I found it difficult to absorb what had gone before. This may have been a cunning plan to make people buy the book - it worked on me.
I've been able to read them in a leisurely way and I've found them both moving and enjoyable. Well done, Phil.

Watermarks (ISBN 978-1-904852-24-7) is available direct from the publisher ArrowHead Press and from Amazon.

Keith Thompson - 10th December 2009

This was an extended Christmas party with mulled wine and mince pies (thanks, Rona). Keith, a fine guitarist and singer, played a number of excellent acoustic blues-based songs and managed to set feet a tapping. He also provided accompaniment to Nick John's mix of music and prose in wonderful story of love in a Scarborough chip shop. It was a most enjoyable evening, despite my suffering from an irritating cough.

Keith Thompson's 2009 albums Strange Brew and Out of the Smoke are available from Amazon and via his DensityMusic site where they can be ordered from CD Baby.
The excellent album I purchased on the evening Steel Strings brused reed is available from his DensityMusic site also through CD Baby.


Were you at these events too? What did you think of the evening?

Related Posting

Writers in the Brewery

Adding free blog subscription options

To increase blog readership we've added some options on the left hand panel to allow readers the option of free automatic updates when the blog is changed and to make getting blog updates as easy as possible. We also added these options onto my website.

The following is how we set this up.

Subscriptions by Blog Readers and RSS/Atom

  • Go to http://www.feedburner.com/ and login.

  • Select Publicize ->Chicklet chooser

  • Select the icon wanted

  • Copy the html that is given
    (NB. we also included this process in a comment on my blog entry 'Create a blog', which also has details of other settings we've used for this blog)

  • Go to http://www.blogger.com/ and login.

  • Select layout

  • Select to add a new gadget and select the one for html

  • Enter the code saved from the 'chicklet chooser' above

  • Amend the text that appears. We changed 'Subscribe' to 'Free link to my blog in your blog reader'.

Subscriptions by Email

First create an email account that will be used as the address te email comes from when the email is sent.

  • Go to http://www.feedburner.com/ and login

  • Select Publicize->email subscriptions

  • Select activate

  • And save

  • For 'communication management' , create the email line

  • Copy the code that is given for the email link (or email form)

  • Save

  • For 'communication preferences', change the settings

  • Amend the text of the message that is sent to subscribers when they click on the link and amend email address.

  • And Save

  • For 'email branding', change the settings

  • Amend the title etc, and fonts

  • And Save

  • For 'Delivery options ', change the settings

  • Set the timezone and time for updates to be sent

  • And Save

  • Go to http://www.blogger.com/ and login

  • Select 'layout'

  • Select to add a new gadget and select the one for html (or open the gadget created for the subscription above and amend that)

  • Enter the code from 'Communication management' above

  • Amend the text that appears. We changed 'Subscribe' to 'Receive my blog by email for free using my email forwarder from feedburner'.

Specify the format for the blog feed

  • Go to http://www.feedburner.com/ and login

  • Select 'Optimize'

  • For 'Browser friendly', set the options

  • Set Theme - clearfeed english

  • Untick 'landing page renders as a web page in all browsers'

  • Tick all subscription options

  • 'Feed Content' - list feed item titles and content

  • 'Personal message' - enabled, and enter a thank you message

  • then Activate.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Starting on facebook

I have decided to try Facebook in an attempt to increase my author's platform. As a facebook novice, so far all I've done is to create the account with some basic information and added one contact so I can see how it all works. I have added my website and this blog as links on my wall, and added a new gadget to the bottom of this blog that links back to my facebook. But over the next few weeks I'll have to play around to see what is possible and what it should have on it .

All my blog headings