When is a publisher not a publisher?


I’m reblogging this today because, seven months later, other authors are still being subjected to the same unscrupulous and unprofessional attitude that I highlighted in September.
As well as comments received on this blog, I’ve recently corresponded with three other authors who are too afraid to go public.
Please share and pass this on: hopefully those authors who are affected will be encouraged to make a stand for fair treatment.

P.S. Unsurprisingly, the ‘That Right’ website seems to have disappeared, just like several of its predecessors!

P.P.S. Searching for something else today, I came across this article which I urge everyone to read.

Originally posted on Johanna Nield:

“Education is when you read the fine print.
Experience is what you get if you don’t.”

Pete Seeger, folk musician.

I’ve learned from my mistakes.

  • I’ve learned that, if something looks a little bit too good to be true, then it most likely is too good to be true.
  • I’ve learned that contracts should always, always, always be checked out by a solicitor.
  • I’ve learned that contracts, no matter how clearly they’re written, can be interpreted differently by the parties involved.
  • I’ve learned that contracts can be completely ignored by some people, rendering them worthless.
  • I’ve learned that letting someone else publish your book via an internationally accessible self-publishing outlet, rather than doing it yourself, is not only stupid, but also a waste of time and money.

I’ve learned a lot in the last two years, and I’m very grateful to Night Publishing and their subsequent reincarnations for giving me…

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Too British for my own good?

I’ve reached a rather devastating conclusion this evening: I’m far too British for my own good.

I’m modest. I can’t confidently identify any brass instrument, so how can I possibly blow my own trumpet?

www.pearsonelt.com.arFollowers will know that my Twitter and Facebook updates are quiet and unassuming, especially compared to those of other writers. I’d like to be more in-your-face, but quite honestly that’s not me.

I squirm with uncomfortable admiration when reading some authors’ self-publicity on the social networks: I’d rather sit in a bath full of slugs than launch a daily (let alone hourly) self-promotion campaign.  I did it once, for five days, and although the event was successful in attracting new readers, I found the experience very stressful. Pushy sales tactics have me looking for the door, and being pushy is something that feels very unnatural to me. I’m aware that the authors who engage in regular self-publicity are the ones who are getting noticed, gaining followers and selling books, but that does not make the slug-bath any less attractive.

I can’t cope with more than an occasional plugging of my books / website (there’s even a new one!) (see what I did there?); the idea of doing that on more than a weekly basis fills me with discomfort. I’m still a little shy about telling people about my books, and even the relative anonymity of the internet doesn’t really help with that.

What, then, am I to do about this?

Answer: nothing.

I’m British, and I’m proud of that. I’m also the product of my upbringing, my experiences, my culture, my values … everything that’s shaped the person that I call ‘me’. If that makes me modest and reticent and rather afraid of the limelight, then so be it.  I’ll always be proud of my books and thankful for my readers, and I’ll never stop writing or hoping that others enjoy my work.

Too British for my own good? Maybe: the path I’ve chosen will never lead to the best-seller list.

On the other hand, all that limelight would wreck my very pale, very British complexion ;)

psych-your-mind.blogspot.comDisclaimer: even in my skinnier, younger days, I never looked that glamourous!



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Questions: Authors on Twitter

Authors on Twitter aims to bring you today’s most interesting articles and comments about writing, books, and all things literary.

The Authors on Twitter e-newspaper is published daily with articles that are selected randomly from my Twitter feed. Links are published daily on my Twitter and Facebook profiles.

Other publishing options are twice-daily or weekly.

These questions are for anyone who follows or is followed by my Twitter account, and for anyone who may wish to follow in the future:

  • Do you follow the link to the Authors on Twitter page?
  • What do you think of the content?
  • Would you prefer daily, twice-daily, or weekly publication of Authors on Twitter?

Please answer either here on my blog, via my Twitter account, or on my Facebook page.

Thank you!



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New Beginnings: the movie

When writing “New Beginnings” and the two subsequent titles in the series, I soon found that the characters I’d invented were being played, in my mind’s eye, by actors whose work I admire.

If my novels ever reach the silver screen, then I’d really love to see these actors playing the roles that I envisage them portraying.

Tasha: Felicity Jones
Jamie: David Tennant
Hayley: Sheridan Smith
Ben: Aml Ameen
amlameenI’ve created a board on Pinterest, which includes these and other characters from my novels.

Do you agree? Or do you imagine someone else in these roles?


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Never judge a book by its cover

It’s said that one should never judge a book by its cover, but would you agree that there are times when that’s not such a bad thing?

judge-a-bookHere’s a proposal for my artistic and creative friends (yes, that’s you!):

  • I give you a digital copy of all three books in the ‘New Beginnings’ series.
  • When you’ve read them*, you design up to three covers (i.e. for one, two or three of the ‘New Beginnings’ titles) by the end of July 2014.
  • Your design can be in any medium e.g. photograph, water colour, pencil, oil, digital art – whatever floats your boat – as long as it’s compatible with publication parameters.
  • All designs – including the current covers – will be posted on my website, blog and Facebook page in August 2014, and readers will be invited to vote on a winner for each book title.
  • The cover of each book will be changed to the winning design.
  • If your design is chosen, your name will appear on the cover(s) and in all advertising of the appropriate book(s), and you will receive 20% of the net sale income for each copy sold.

Any takers?

Please share, especially if you have artistic friends who may be interested.

P.S. Here’s my own view on the ‘never judge a book …’ thing -

Photos courtesy of dabrofistarmy (wordpress) and morselsofbread.net


*A star rating or review would be nice, but isn’t but isn’t compulsory.

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Free e-book!

Free Book Promotion!
‘New Beginnings’ (ebook) is free to download until 18 February.

If you read it, please remember to leave feedback (star or review) on Amazon or Goodreads … or here!

Thank you

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Happy New Year!


image source
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Season’s greetings!


Take-Some-Peace-On-This-Day-Dear Reader

However you celebrate the end-of-year festivals, I hope you have happiness, health, and love in your life.

Thank you for your support so far; I hope you will stay with me on my journey.

Best wishes for 2014 and beyond,
Johanna Nield

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Creative Writing tutorial – feedback

I hope the title of this post isn’t misleading: I’m not presenting a tutorial, nor giving feedback on one. Instead, I’m sharing something which has delighted me, following a Creative Writing tutorial last Saturday.

I received some wonderful feedback from my Open University tutor, who is also an author, playwright, and poet.

This will be monumentally unexciting to most people, I know, but I’m sharing it anyway; only you can decide whether or not to continue reading.

During the tutorial, our tutor asked us to choose from a selection of images and then she directed us to write down our answers to eight questions. We were then invited to write something based on the photo and our answers.

I’d selected a black and white photo of a small child, and this is what I submitted:

Notes (my answers to the eight questions):
Curly hair, small hands, glass bottle, bowed head.
Daytime (noon? Sunlight directly overhead)
Black & white = past times.
Birdsong, child softly crying and/or sucking on the bottle, dog barking, adults’ voices.
Child is drinking but doesn’t want to be seen – not her drink? Forbidden?
Dirty fingernails
Siblings fighting over an apple or piece of bread
Mother takes child onto her lap

Edith smoothed down her apron as she emerged from the kitchen, feeling the residue of butter and crumbs move from skin to cotton. She tucked a strand of hair behind one ear, then shaded her eyes to watch Bert slowly mount his tractor at the far end of the field beyond the garden. Her concern for him was interrupted by a shrill shriek to her left, and she quickly turned to investigate then sighed when she saw that Tom and Bobby were fighting again. Tom held an apple aloft, grinning triumphantly, while Bobby stretched to reach it with one hand and thumped her brother’s chest with the other.

“Share, Tom,” Edith said firmly.

Tom rolled his eyes, took a large bite from the apple, and handed it to his pouting sister. The two children muttered to each other while passing the apple back and forth between bites. Satisfied, Edith’s attention turned to her youngest child.

Just beyond the still squabbling siblings, crouched over the tarpaulin-laden bench that had earlier served as their father’s lunch table, Lily was unusually still. Her mop of curly hair hid her face, but Edith could see that the child had her bottle, held hesitantly in grubby hands. A quiet sob alerted Edith, who hurried to sit at the bench and lifted the toddler onto her knee.

“What’s the matter, pet?”

Lily’s tear-stained face held no answer.

“She poo’d her pants!” Bobby giggled behind them.

Knowing instinctively that this was not so, Edith bent her head to hold Lily’s attention.

“Why’s Lily sad?” she asked quietly.

With a sniff, Lily pointed towards the field, where a crowd of crows circled her father’s rumbling tractor.

“Dada gone,” the child said, just as another tear slid down her cheek. “Dada gone.”

Suddenly cold in the mid-summer heat, Edith looked again at Bert’s tractor. She could hear the engine running, but the machine hadn’t moved.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My tutor’s feedback, received today, has quite overwhelmed me:

I was very moved by this, it’s beautiful and unexpected.  What you capture well are the small moments – the way Edith ignores everything else and takes the child on her knee, and the way her intuition is reflected in the images around her, the circling crows, the precise detail of Lily and her bottle and the way there seems to be silence and stillness in spite of the noise of the rumbling tractor and the children fighting over the apple.  Edith and Lily are very still at the centre of it.  The only thing I can suggest by way of ‘editing’ is to concentrate on obvious images which are weakened in their effect by being too obvious eg. the tear sliding down the child’s cheek.  Because your images are so strong, this kind of thing stands out.  And if you are already conveying what you mean in the image then don’t feel the need to explain it eg. Knowing instinctively that this was not so, Edith bent her head to hold Lily’s attention, I would lose the red bit here and just have the image which suggests that Edith knows this is so without you actually having to say it.  The way she inclines her head towards the child, gentle, focusing only on her, this suggests the intuition…there are a couple of other places like this but..it’s lovely. I’d work on this, see what you come up with.

I’m so thrilled, I just had to share!


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Another books give-away!*

I’m afraid you’ll have to work really hard for this one!workhardHere’s what you need to do:

1. Go to my Facebook page. It’s here.

2. Click on the ‘Like’ button.FBlike3. Wait to learn if you’ve won a free book.



Okay, I lied about the “working really hard” part.


Here’s how it works ….

The 100th person to “Like” my page will receive a free copy of one of my books (any one – you choose!).

The 125th person to “Like” my page will also receive a free copy of their choice, as will the 150th person.

Each winner can choose one of the three titles in the New Beginnings saga, and each book can be personalised for yourself or to give as a gift.


Please share, retweet, etc!



*Apologies to my Twitter and Facebook followers, who may already have seen this. Thank you for your patience and support :)

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