Huge congratulations are due to my friend H, who has had her first novel, Inspired by Night, published by Xcite. It's just come out for Kindle and in paperback and I make no apologies for giving it a plug here. I'm not altogether sure if she realises quite how hard it is to do what she's done, and how proud of herself she should be for her achievement.
The title of this entry, of course, refers to Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel which simultaneously seemed to make written porn and piss-poor spelling, grammar and punctuation acceptable in polite society. Don't get me wrong - it's the spelling and whatnot with which I have a problem, not the sexy stuff. It was, though, a major bugbear of mine that, with so many talented writers out there struggling to get their work even looked at, let alone published, all it took for FSoG to get accepted was a constant stream of bonking. Out of nowhere it was as ubiquitous as Captain Corelli's Mandolin had become a few years ago - on your morning commute you could pretty much guarantee that one of the women aboard your bus or train carriage was going to be reading it. This despite the fact that it didn't seem to have undergone the scrutiny of a proofreader's eyes at any stage before being shoved out on an undeserving public. Never mind the English, feel the shagging.
One major positive of FSoG, though, is that it's helped democratise publishing, alongside, of course, increased access to online self-publishing mechanisms. Anybody can now get a book out, giving some of that talent an outlet, finally, and just maybe it's made some publishers a bit more willing to have a look at the work of unknowns. I really don't know, I just hope that's the case.
It's still quite something, though, to get a book accepted by a publisher and published under their name. My friend has achieved that, and written about her experiences (and other stuff) in her blog Tales from the Sofa, to which a link can be found on the right of this page.