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[Note: This book comes with a CD-ROM containing additional material, but is reviewed here in isolation.]
According to the whimsical potted biographies which accompany the smiley photos in the frontispiece,
Trevor Lockwood has "a past littered with mistakes", whilst Bernie Ross is "always ready for a new challenge". The introductions
are reassuring to the would-be writer who approaches this volume with little or no knowledge of the writing and publishing
industries. The book's stated purpose is to "offer comfort and support", which I suppose is a less extravagant claim than
those made by some comparable publications. But if this is all it offers, why bother?
"Pathways to Publication" is, in fact, a mine of information, most of it potentially useful to its
intended audience. If it has a fault, it is probably that it tries to do too much. One of the authors seems to be trying to
turn it into a do-it-yourself creative writing course; the other concentrates on the nuts and bolts of self-publishing - not
exactly incompatible aims, admittedly.
To understand why the book has turned out like this, you need to go to Trevor Lockwood's web site,
www.author.co.uk, since the book is more or less a condensed version of the knowledge the authors have built up through and on the site, for
the benefit of those with an interest in self-publishing. This is something that isn't fully explained in the introduction.
The cover isn't much help, either. It's colourful and attractive, but (apart from the title) gives no clue to the contents.
When I first picked it up, I mistook it for the latest issue of one of the more prestigious poetry or review magazines.
When I dug deep, however, I found some quite unexpected little gems. Advice on how to deal with writer's
block, for example ("wear a blindfold", "go on a bus ride"). And, to be fair, it obviously isn't the authors' intention that
the book should be read through from cover to cover as I did. On the other hand, there's no index and the chapter headings
are not always informative, eg. "Find your rostrum", "The wider world". One could, however, dip into this book - much as one
does with the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - and pick out some unanticipated titbit of advice that could have lasting value,
even for a seasoned writer. Serendipity at its most effective.
ISBN 1 89030 17 0 Published by Author Publishing Ltd, 2001
276pp, paperback Retail price £11.95
Review by Deborah Fisher
Link to web site for this book