Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Have your Camera to hand at All Times!

Of course, one of the first rules of photojournalism is always having a camera to hand. I did have an excuse on Sunday as I was trying to do my first 10 mile bike ride for many weeks and was flying along the cycle path. I had my cycling camel bak rucksack with a three litre reservoir of water and drinking tube. Inside were a spare inner tube, pump, tyre levers, multi-tool and a few other things. What I didn't have was a camera and, yes, you have guessed it a great photo opportunity arose. Some distance ahead, I saw a mother and daughter with two dogs on leashes. They were misbehaving - the dogs, not the mother and daughter! As I got closer, I realised they were walking two billie goats. No camera, no shot and I was so disappointed. I am sure it would have used by a magazine. Next time, I will have my camera with me.

This episode reminds me of my worst journalistic experience some thirty years ago. I was in a phone box on the harbourside at Brixham in Devon. I was reading my story over to the copy taker at the local paper. When I finished, I turned round and stepped outside. The place was crowded. Someone said to me, "Did you get the photo?" "What of?", I asked. Evidently, an armed stowaway had been disarmed on a tanker moored in Torbay. He had been brought ashore by Pilot Boat surrounded by armed policemen - right next to the phone box. Now, that was a picture that would have sold . . . The moral of the story was: "If you are phoning in copy from a phone box, look over your shoulder occasionally. Oh, and the important story I was phoning over? It was a report on a jumble sale that had raised almost £3. Groan!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Books on Writer's Markets

I've been thinking about the books detailing markets for writers in the UK. Thirty years ago, there was the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. It had been around for decades and still is. Its distinctive red cover contains a wealth of information. Then along came a competitor - The Writer's Handbook - equally detailed.

I used both and changed them regularly. They more than made up for their cost as they provided many leads to possible markets for writers. But, a couple of years ago, a new kid arrived on the block - David & Charles published Writer's Market UK. It was an instant hit. Massive, both in size and content, and with a dedicated website, Writer's Market UK became an essential item for the writer's bookshelves. I like it very much and use it a lot. It points me to a lot of markets I never knew about. I am a big fan of this book.

As the publisher's blurb says: "Writer's Market UK is the single most comprehensive resource for all writers - whether you write novels, short stories, poetry, plays, scripts, screenplays, articles or blogs. Following are the features: easy-to-use format and tabbed pages so you can quickly locate the exact information you need; fresh and up-to-date information; feature articles written by some of the industry's most experienced writers and insiders, covering everything from finding an agent and submitting your manuscript, to handling royalties and writing for the web; handy tips on how to approach publishers; and, unlimited access to a dedicated website for writers and publishers."

Now a new updated 2010 edition is set to hit the bookshops later this month and its market coverage is expanded. It includes Irish markets, hence the name change: Writer's Market UK & Ireland. Click on the book cover above to find out more and pre-order if you so desire at a saving of 34 per cent on the cover price.