Getting into writing – an interview with P.J. Blakey-Novis

Indie Writers Review[563] logo

My name is P.J. Blakey-Novis, and I am a British writer living on the south coast of England. I am a co-founder of Red Cape Publishing, which incorporates a number of projects including a monthly, digital magazine entitled Indie Writers Review, featuring short stories, poetry, flash fiction, author interviews, and book reviews. Details, and back-issues, can be found at www.redcapepublishing.com/indie-writers-review

Why did you start your publication?

The magazine launched in December 2017, as a way of being able to promote a range of independently published writers, and offering readers an easy way to learn about lesser-known books and writers.

What is the most gratifying element of publishing the written word?

The pleasure we have had from putting the magazine together largely comes from helping other writers. We know how difficult it is to market your own work, without the might of a large publishing house behind you. Although the magazine is still fairly new, we have had fantastic feedback about the content and hopefully it has benefitted the authors involved.

What are your happiest memories in your writing/publishing career?

From my own writing, I would say when the first reviews came in for my first book. I was unsure how it would be received, as it has a lot of, shall we say, adult content. It isn’t erotica, but a femme fatale thriller which needed a healthy dose of sex in it and I didn’t shy away from the details. I was surprised when after only a couple of days of being released there were a string of 5 star reviews, describing it as ‘unputdownable’.

How do you handle success and failure?

The magazine is the main focus of our time at the moment, but it is a long process. The reviews have all been great, but as it isn’t an actual book, it has been hard to gain as much interest as we’d like. That said, the readership is growing month by month, and we are a persistent bunch! We view the magazine as successful from the perspective that it is being read, and is of help to a number of writers each month. If the readership grows sufficiently, we would like to be able to pay people for submissions in the future.

What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

With the magazine, it’s a case of having to have it ready for the release date (the 1st of each month). The only writing that is involved from myself is a little welcome note, and writing the book reviews. The hardest thing when exhausted is continuing to read, as we need to get through a minimum of four books each month.

issue7 June 2018 cover

What is your advice to young and new writers?

Get your work out there, find other writers (ideally in your genre) whose work you can read, take on board any constructive criticism, and learn to ignore any negativity if you receive any. Just make sure the work is as good as it can possibly be before publishing; if you can’t afford an editor to begin with (I couldn’t for my first book) then at least use some editing software and have it read by beta readers.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

I’m actually quite new to ebooks, and definitely prefer a paperback, but due to the number of books we are sent for review, as well as being more cost effective, I would say 90% of what I read is on my Kindle now.

Do you blog?

We put out a monthly blog from the website, usually around the first of the month, which gives some insight into what we’ve been up to, any special offers, new book recommendations etc.

Do you self-publish?

The magazine is self-published, in so far as it is put out by our small publishing company. My own books are also self-published, but I have had a number of short stories accepted for publication through the more traditional route.

If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.

Everything we have to offer is listed on our website at www.redcapepublishing.com and includes the magazine, my own books, Boxes of Blood (which is a horror paperback subscription service), as well as a range of author promo services.

Include back links to your site/blog/or publishing venues.

We are also on social media at www.facebook.com/indiewritersreview and Twitter at www.twitter.com/indie_writers. We have a lot of information on Pinterest too, at www.pinterest.co.uk/redcapepublishing

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